Digital Textile Printing

a 3D3 research project



Exhibition – Weaving Magic – Chris Ofili, 26th April to 28th August 2017, National Gallery, London

Chris Ofili‘s work has evolved from the colourful , dazzling collages perched on elephant dung which I first saw at the infamous Sensation show at the Royal Academy of Art way back in 1997, and more recently at MUMOK, Vienna. The works at MUMOK looked lonely, and lost but the a lot of the work at MUMOK looked like that. My experience there was rather unwelcoming, so much so I didn’t even write about visiting there in my Vienna Posts (here, here and here).

His work is still colourful and cultural but is far more pictorial and crossed mediums into weaving. ‘Weaving Magic‘ is a collaborative piece really, the piece took Dovecot Tapestry Studio three years to make, the labour undertaken by five weavers. Surrounding the weaving are dancers, drawn onto the wall from the cornice to the skirting by members of the Royal Opera House scenography department. The drawings look like they’ve been done in graphite or a soft HB pencil and are actually panel installations, created just like the ROH’s backdrops.

What is really magical is how the translation of Ofili’s original watercolours into thread. The tonal gradations really look like they’ve been painted on in a wash of water and paint. It reminds me of the Shadow Tissue technique, where thread was printed before being woven to create blurred images. I can only guess how the weaver’s achieved this affect. The work was funded by The Clothworkers Company who will now host the work in the Clothworker’s Hall.


Practitioner – Margo Selby


Margo Selby is a weaver who designs colourful, geometric cloths. She has branched out into bedlinen, flooring and towels. Her designs often feature coloured circles on a contrasting background so she must be very conscious of the affect these colours will have on one another when she is putting together her colour schemes. Her woven fabrics incorporate hand and industrial techniques to create a 3D affect where the circles are built up in the fabric.

Her colour palette involves a lot of hues on the lighter and darker values rather than vivid and bright hues.


Practitioner – Ptolemy Mann

Ptolemy Mann is a weaver and colour consultant. She was taught about colour and its use in textiles by Garth Lewis, who as colour specialist at Central St Martins has gone on to create his own software that assists designers with mixing colour in a digital design. She writes about colour on her blog, significant colour, and offers colour consultancy to architectural projects.


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