Dyeing to meet you
If you meet Katherine May at a party she’ll introduce herself as a textile designer: she knows it will lead to the assumption that she designs fabrics, possibly for a high street brand. That’s not what Katherine does. Continue the conversation and she will gently correct that conclusion. She’ll explain that her work involves interactive installations – events designed to evoke questions about the role of textiles in our lives and their impact on the environment. Her website explains that she “runs a textile studio, designing, executing and navigating textile objects, spaces and research.” In action that means projects such as Water –Colour, part of the 2013 London Design Festival, in which a “sensory environment” was designed around the dye process, aiming to reconnect us physically to water through a direct experience of handling water in a dye vat. For the installation, in the atrium of Hackney’s Arthaus Building, a former laundry, 100 metres of cloth were dyed in situ and suspended on washing lines hung throughout the five storey building. Once the dye vats were exhausted, the final stage of the installation saw the dye station replaced by a sewing workspace and the making of the dyed cloth into quilts. [embed]https://vimeo.com/71245110[/embed] Join Polly Leonard, Founder of Selvedge, in conversation with indigo designer and artist Katherine May, woodworker Max Bainbridge and quilt maker Abigail Booth of Forest + Found, as well as hand weaver Amy Revier. Polly will discuss how their work relates to the urban environment and why they find it important to work within the context of the city. Country in the City at the Victoria & Albert Museum. Book now. 20 September, 11am-12pm, Makers Day www.londondesignfestival.com www.katherinemay.com This is an extract from Beth Smith's article in the Pattern issue of Selvedge.