Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 152

Hu m our

&
the S word

Rebecca Haughton 2016


University of Brighton: MDES Textiles with Business studies
All words & images by Rebecca Haughton unless stated otherwise.
References to all quotes and images can be found in accompanying
contextual research folder.

humour
Hu
m our
&
the S word
by Rebecca Haughton
A research project exploring the use
of humour in design and its effect on
the consumption of ethical products.

Humour and the S word

Contents
5
9

Statement of intent
The S word

Project summary
What is S to me?

13
21

How we interact with S


Overwhelmed/disillusioned

How is S typically perceived?


Climate change anxiety

27
41
49

Humour theory
Incongruity theory
Incongruity in design

Why use humour in design?


What is incongruity?
Generating surprise in design

65
75

Practice based research


Interacting with knit

Why use knitted textiles?


Sensory stimuli & repetition

91
111
119
133

Initial knit experiments


Focus group response I
Sample development
Focus group response II

Designs based on research


Public response to initial ideas
Reacting to focus group response
Response to developed designs

145

Going forward

Future project development

Statement of intent

Statement of intent

Jokes join up the invisible


dots between two subjects
Mel Calman

Humour theory in knitted textiles as a tool to encourage earth-positive textile


consumption. A project using practice based research to assess the value of
incongruity in knit design to alleviate the pressures and challenge preconceptions surrounding the S word.
The S word refers to sustainability, communicating dismay at the way the word
is being used in design currently. It is a term coined for the middle classes,
communicating our flaws and used to sell goods and aid in casual denial the
process by which people negate their impact on ethical issues (Weintrobe, 2012)
Incongruity theory is one of three associated with humour and refers to the
replacement of the normal with the abnormal. Processing incongruities in
humour involves a part of the brain that regulates attention. One pauses to
appreciate what is being observed, forgetting other thoughts momentarily to
resolve the incongruity. This work will explore incongruity theory in knitwear
design to elicit interest and interaction.
Humour and laughter are recognised as traits central to human survival, their
positive influence was found in some of the worlds earliest printed texts
(Wilkins, 2009). Humour encourages positive reactions and is often used to make
a subject easier to digest. When a product is humorous, it intrigues therefore
encouraging word-of-mouth transmission which is vital form of marketing and
advertising in design.

Project summary

Ethical concerns are not high on most peoples fashion agendas and consumption
habits are hard to change (Mercer, 2014). This project will utilise ethical materials, but not as the unique selling point. Research suggests sustainability, in itself,
is not a benefit so it needs to be communicated in addition to the traditional
marketing cues that mainstream buyers respond to. (Bennie, 2014) Examining
knitted fabrics structural, textural and auditory capabilities, tests their sensory
effect. Exploring a fabrics production enables creation of a structure that is easily dismantled for reuse. These two considerations create humour driven knitwear
that is ethically produced.
Research into materials has shown how hard it is to get hold of small scale
amounts of recycled products. This will mean that the material used whilst sampling will sometimes have to be un-recycled to illustrate a point. It has become
apparent that in order to move forward ethically we need to leave behind the
stifling beige and work out innovative new ways of pushing the S word. This
means forgetting the normal constraints when producing ethically sound textiles,
coming up with a solution first then working out how one can make it ethical for
the mass market.
Exploration of the unconscious interpretation of knitted textiles can allow one to
challenge the preconceptions associated with knit. The initial visual assumption
that one makes (i.e. knit is soft, warm and wooly) is the element that can mislead,
creating a visual-tactual incongruity once someone has touched the knit and
realises everything is not as it seems. This surprise factor will aid in encouraging
consumers to question the textiles origin, opening up the discussion of sustainability in a more natural way.
Users experience will be investigated through focus groups, recording their physical and verbal reactions (these can be subtle upon interaction or more obvious
through verbal communication). This project will establishes which fabrics elicit
what reactions and how these can be harnessed. A surprise reaction whether
negative or positive is said to increase brand awareness (Strick et al. 2013). The
results from further focus groups can then be used to produce the perfect incongruous designs. Made from natural and recycled materials to begin a larger shift
in earth-positive textile consumption.

The S word

11

The S word

What is 'S' to me?


Sustainability is a word that is often used but rarely
challenged. It is a term that has been commandeered
by the middle classes to describe how people should
be consuming in order to impact our surroundings less
and create a better future for our children.
Consuming is the word that doesnt sit right for me. As
long as one is consuming more textiles than necessary,
it is not sustainable.

12

What is S to me?

Sustainable can mean many things:


Plastic is non-biodegradable, it lasts forever, it can be
used over and over again. This means that people only
have to buy a plastic product once. This is a sustainable way of living. Though only on the premise that
people buy these things once and use them forever.
Natural materials are renewable and biodegradable
which is a sustainable means of production because
it is circular. The amount of water and often chemicals
used in these processes and the after care impact of
textiles have a huge negative impact on our planet.
This is not sustainable.
Something needs to change and I think mindset is
at the core. We need to make the topic of sustainability
accessible to everyone and this means challenging
preconceptions.

13

How we interact with S

15

How we interact with S

Screen shots from popular news sources discussing climate change.


The Guardian has a dedicated section for the Environment whereas
the Dailymails falls under Science. This simple difference shows
how views can vary massively depending on what information we
expose ourselves to.
The Guardian & The Daily Mail (2016)
(Section 4 of contextual research file)

16

How is S typically percieved?

How is 'S' typically percieved?


The way that climate change is discussed
amongst different news sources creates
entirely different perceptions of what
climate change is and the extent of the
problem. This project will not prove
or disprove either viewpoint. But it is
important to note how consumers views
can vary hugely across demographics.
One needs to design with this in mind.

17

How we interact with S

H&M Conscious collection - Using lyocell (recycled wood pulp) to and


PET bottles to produced recycled high street garments that are on
trend. These products are dispersed in amongst their stores with an
unimposing green tag to indicate its green credentials for customers
that are interested in looking.
H&Ms conscious collection (2016) Lyocell Joggers 34.99
(Section 3 contextual research file)

18

How is S typically percieved?

Patagonia - Controversial Black Friday sales campaign encouraging consumers not to buy this recycled polyester jacket if they didnt
need it. This campaign saw annual sales increase by almost 40% in
two years.
Patagonia Black Friday sales campaign (2011) 'Dont buy this Jacket'
(Section 3 contextual research file)

19

How we interact with S

More and more firms are engaging


in greenwashing, misleading consumers about their environmental
performance or the environmental
benefits of a product or service. The
skyrocketing incidence of greenwashing can have profound negative
effects on consumer and investor
confidence in green products.

Delmas & Burbano, 2011

Delmas & Burbano, (2011) 'The Drivers of Greenwashing'


(Section 4 Contextual research file)

20

How is S typically percieved?

Companies are aware that there is a burgeoning


market for the conscious consumer, as well as
new legislations controlling the way they do business. This can lead to green washing, convincing
consumers they are practicing in a green manner,
when perhaps they are not.
Greenwashing has negative effects in terms of
consumer trust. It can be confusing along side
the mixed messages one receives from the media
and can become quite stressful for consumers
when they are trying to make the right choices.
It seems sustainability is successful when its
not pushed as the main focus (as seen in the
examples on previous pages).

21

Overwhelmed/disillusioned

23

Overwhelmed/disillusioned

88

Durability
Quality of product
(eg. stitching of seams)

87
79

Returns policy

78

Low price

66

In-store customer service


In-store environment
(eg. layout, fitting rooms)

56

Ethical treatment of workers who


make/manufacture clothing

44
35

Latest Fashion

Clothes made in Britain

33

Frequently updated collections


(ie. at least every 6 weeks)

33

Environmentally friendly retailer


(eg. recycling, green energy)

30
12

Free in-store Wi-Fi

20

40

60

Mintel report Mercer (2014) Do British shoppers care about ethical


sourcing of clothing? Graph showing what UK consumers value when
shopping for clothing.
(Section 5 of contextual research file)

24

80

100

Climate change anxiety

What do consumers value when buying textiles?


This graphs shows me that consumers generally
care much less about a garments environmental
impact than the myriad of other factors involved
in buying clothing.
And who can blame them, the cost of living is
high and ethically sourced clothing is not the
cheapest option available. However, this graph
shows that durability is sought after, ethical clothing is no less durable than 'unethical'
clothing. Perhaps disillusionment resulting from
mixed messages in media and broken promises
in the market has resulted in a reluctance to
engage in ethical clothing.

25

Overwhelmed/disillusioned

The biggest conflict we face in life is the


conflict between the concerned part of us
that loves reality and the more narcissistic vain part of us that hates reality when
it thwarts our wishes or deflates our view
of ourselves.

Weintrobe, 2012

Weintrobe (2012) 'The difficult problem of anxiety in thinking about


climate change'
(Section 7 of contextual research file)

26

Climate change anxiety

Climate change anxiety


Sally Weintrobe discusses climate change and
how it is important not to make people feel anxious when telling them about climate-change.
This book introduced climate change in a new
way, it made me realise that I was a prime example of someone that took part in casual denial,
engaging in minor behavioural changes such as
buying eco washing up liquid and changing to
energy saving light bulbs.
One cant expect to change the world by themselves and certainly shouldnt be made to feel
guilty about it. There is a risk of getting bogged
down by all the negative statistics, confusing
messages, unfulfilled promises and overwhelming information surrounding the green or ethical
sourcing movement.
Shall we lighten the mood?

27

Humour theory

29

Humour theory

Jokes join up the invisible


dots between two subjects
Mel Calman

Fletcher, A. (2001) The art of looking sideways. New York: Phaidon Press.
(Section 9 of contextual research file)

30

Why use humour in design?

laughter and humorstimulates both sides of


the brain to enhance learning, by activating the
limbic system in the brain and connecting the
right and left sides. Also, humor releases tension,
which can lead to perceptual flexibility
Ma, 2014

Ma, M. (2014) The power of humor in Ideation and creativity.


www.psychologytoday.com
(Section 10 of contextual research file)

31

Humour theory

Illustration using a sarcastic form of humour, acting as a critique


of capitalism. Reformulating 'I think therefore I am' the image was
printed ironically on shopping bags t-shirts and other products.
Barbara Kruger (1987)
(Section 8 of contextual research file)

32

Why use humour in design?

Wit exposes a likeness in things that are


different and a difference in things that
are alike. Wit makes sense out of nonsense
Fletcher, 2001

Fletcher, A. (2001) The art of looking sideways. New York: Phaidon Press.
(Section 9 of contextual research file)

33

Humour theory

Laughter served many functions essential to human


survival - a bonding function, a peacemaking function
and a health-boosting function.
Wilkins, 2014

Wilkins (2009) 'Humour Theories and the Physiological


Benefits of Laughter'
(Section 12 of contextual research file)

34

Why use humour in design?

there was a direct correlation between the use of


humour and the size of their compensation. the funnier
they were, the more money they made.
Ma, 2014

Ma, M. (2014) The power of humor in Ideation and creativity.


www.psychologytoday.com
(Section 10 of contextual research file)

35

Humour theory

Shopping bag design that aims to get the consumer to question their
buying habits. The design frames your purchases in a transparent
stomach, presenting your shopping as physical consumption, as
opposed to material consumption.
Help cure hunger in New York (2013)
(Section 8 of contextual research file)

36

Why use humour in design?

Craftivism, slow-paced crafts movement, used to approach political


problems in a non-aggressive, often humourous. Technique was used
to communicate with the artists local MP after weeks of no response.
An embroidered message was sent, receiving an immediate reply.
Sarah Corbett (2012)
(Section 13 of contextual research file)

37

Humour theory

Humour and laughter eased the atmosphere,


alleviated tensions and fears and helped to
create a closer sense of rapport
Astedt-Kurki et al. 2001

Astedt-Kurki, P., Isola, A., Tammentie, T. and Kervinen, U. (2001)


Importance of humour to client-nurse relationships and clients wellbeing, International Journal of Nursing Practice
(Section 19 of contextual research file)

38

Why use humour in design?

Use of Incongruous humour in knitwear design: Good illustration of


Alan Fletcher's statement that Wit exposes a likeness in things that
are different, and a difference in things that are alike.
Unknown - Pinterest
(Section 15 of contextual research file)

39

Humour theory

3 common theories in humour study:


Comic relief theory
Occurs when tension or suspense is broken
with the use of humour.
Superiority theory
Deals with jokes that focus on someone elses
mistakes, stupidity or misfortune. This could
also include self-deprecation.
Incongruity theory
Suggests that humour arises when logic and
familiarity are replaced by things that dont
normally go together.

Ma, M. (2014) The power of humor in Ideation and creativity.


www.psychologytoday.com
(Section 10 of contextual research file)

40

Why use humour in design?

So why use humour in design?


Because consuming ethically can be such a
stressful or disheartening pursuit, it would
be fair to question why the green/fair trade
movements do not make more use of humour
to affect consumers experience.
It would be interesting to see whether the
things that make humour affect us can be
used to make design affect us.
By using our whole brain to register humour
we momentarily dismiss all our other
thoughts, our minds then focus on the subject
of humour. This effect of humour can lead to
perceptual flexibility, which can be harnessed
to communicate clearly and deeply.

41

Incongruity theory

43

Incongruity theory

What is incongruity?
I.

The incongruity theory suggests that humour


arises when logic and familiarity are replaced
by things that don't normally go together.

II. Replacing the normal with the abnormal.


III. Not harmonious in character; inconsistent;
lacking harmony of parts.

Various sources: Definitions of incongruity


(Section 14 of contextual research file)

44

What is incongruity?

There are many incongruities that may produce


anything but a laugh.. all incongruous, but they
cause feelings of pain, anger, sadness, loathing,
rather than mirth
Clark, 1970

Clark (1970) Humour and Incongruity


(Section 14 of contextual research file)

45

Incongruity theory

One possibility is that incongruous stimuli elicit


extra [mental] processing because they are
more difficult to make sense of in the context of
expected properties and semantic norms.
Michelon et al, 2003

Michelon et al. (2003) Neural correlates of incongruous visual information and event related fMRI study
(Section 14 of contextual research file)

46

What is incongruity?

In terms of generating surprise, both the results


from our questionnaire and the discussions with
participants suggest that manipulations involving visual-tactual incongruities are the most
successful types
Ludden et al. 2012

Ludden et al. (2012) Surprise and humor in product design, Designing


sensory metaphors in multiple modalities
(Section 16 of contextual research file)

47

Incongruity theory

Humor based on incongruities, or things


that appear inappropriate for their context,
is particularly well suited to reappraising
negative situations from different, less
threatening perspectives.
Wilkins, 2009

Wilkins (2009) 'Humour Theories and the Physiological


Benefits of Laughter'
(Section 12 of contextual research file)

48

What is incongruity?

How can Incongruity change preconceptions?


Incongruities require more mental processing.
The brain has to understand the difference
between what it expected and what it experienced. Because of the extra mental processing
Incongruities often illicit surprise and can lead
to 'reappraising negative situations' and 'perceptual flexibility'. These effects can be used
to encourage people to think differently about
something they experience, and can challenge
preconceptions about products.

49

Incongruity in design

51

Incongruity in design

Surprise has often been used in design as an


element for eliciting experience amazement, to
create a sense of novelty and to elicit curiosity
and further exploration of the object.
Ramirez et al. 2013

Ramirez et al. 2013. 'Industrial design strategies for eliciting surprise'


(Section 16 of contextual research file)

52

Generating surprise in design

Shelving made using waste from the packaging industry. The shelving
appears rigid when empty then upon interaction loses form and rigidity, creating an incongruity between expection and experience.
Studio Dewi Van der Klomp Soft Cabinet Green
(Section 8 of contextual research file)

53

Incongruity in design

Foam mimicking hard metal studs in a soft material. Demonstrating an


Incongruity between the expectation and experience of tactility.
Mary Katranzou A/W ready to wear (2015)
(Section 18 of contextual research file)

54

Generating surprise in design

the frequency and amount of word of


mouth [transmissions] are larger for surprising consumption experiences than for
non surprising experiences
the intensity of surprise is significantly
correlated with positive and negative
word of mouth
Derbaix & Vanhamme, 2008

Derbaix, C. and Vanhamme, J. (2008)


Inducing word-of-mouth by eliciting surprise a pilot investigation
(Section 14 of contextual research file)

55

Incongruity in design

Research highlighted the value of surprise as


an element that can help increase interest at
the point of sale of a product.
Ramirez et al. 2013

Ramirez et al. 2013. 'Industrial design strategies for eliciting surprise'


(Section 16 of contextual research file)

56

Generating surprise in design

An innovative fabric that initially looks like a 2D print. Its structural properties allow it to sit in a stiff origami like manner when
interacted with, though retaining the soft feel of a cushion.
Mika Barr - Geo pillows (2011)
(Section 18 of contextual research file)

57

Incongruity in design

'Redefine conventional ideas about textiles, Tandler was inspired


by blacksmith techniques to surprisingly transform alloys such as
copper and tinned copper into a malleable draping cloth suitable for
upholstery and even fashion.
Lynn Tandler - Tinned copper fabric structures (2010)
(Section 18 of contextual research file)

58

Generating surprise in design

Ratings on surprise were highest for


products that were manipulated on touch
and in the discussions many participants
mentioned that they liked and would like
to encounter tactual surprises
Ludden et al. 2012

Ludden et al. (2012) Surprise and humor in product design, Designing


sensory metaphors in multiple modalities
(Section 16 of contextual research file)

59

Incongruity in design

When people encounter products with visualtactual incongruities, they are likely to be
surprised because the product feels different
than expected.
Ludden et al, 2012

Ludden et al, (2012) Beyond Surprise: A Longitudinal Study on the


Experience of Visual-Tactual Incongruities in Products
(Section 16 of contextual research file)

60

Generating surprise in design

A table that appears rigid, but is made from foam that is soft and
malleable when touched. The properties of the table allow for creating other functions, for example the flexibility of the table can be
used to make a fruit bowl.
Emma Fox-Derwin - Foam table
(Section 16 of contextual research file)

61

Incongruity in design

Designing sensory experiences can be aimed


at communicating a consistent message to
all sensory channels, making this message a
stronger one
Ludden et al, 2004

Ludden et al, (2004) Surprises elicited by products incorporating


visual - tactual incongruities.
(Section 16 of contextual research file)

62

Generating surprise in design

A sensory incongruity involves the comparison of information from two or more


sensory modalities
this process usually involves making
cognitive associations
Ludden et al. 2012

Ludden et al. (2012) Surprise and humor in product design, Designing


sensory metaphors in multiple modalities
(Section 16 of contextual research file)

63

Incongruity in design

64

Generating surprise in design

So why use incongruity in design?


Incongruities are very good at eliciting surprise.
This helps generate and maintain interest in products, which benefits sales and brand recognition
Visual/tactual (sensory) incongruities in products
are particularly good at generating surprises. This
communication with multiple senses can create a
strong message.
Incongruities disturb typical thought processes,
and make one more open to 'perceptual flexibility',
which could imply open-mindedness.
All this means that sensory incongruities might be
the strongest way to get people to reappraise their
preconceptions and think of ethically sourced products in a different context to normal.

65

Practice based research

67

Practice based research

Repetitive cube structured knit. Exploring how one can create innovative & repetitive structures in knit.
Akris Fall/winter collection (2012)
(Section 15 of contextual research file)

68

Why use knitted textiles?

Is knit an appropriate production technique


to attempt to challenge preconceptions
about ethical products?
Knit uses a continuous line of uncut yarn
and can be a waste free production process,
requiring little to no water.
When knit is fully fashioned, it can be
unravelled, meaning some structures can
be easily dismantled for reuse.
It has the potential to be incredibly flexible
in its form and function. This adaptability
means knit can be used to explore incongruities in design.
These considerations can be utilised to create knitwear that challenges perceptions
and is ethically produced.

69

Practice based research

What sustainable materials are available?


There is plenty of new technology available
that offers recycled yarns, opportunities to
recycle garments into raw materials and eco
alternatives that use less water etc.

70

Why use knitted textiles?

Raw pineapple fibre ready for spinning and dyeing. Offered as a


woven leather-like fabric. The raw spun fibre is only offered at
wholesale and even then is hard to come by.
PINATEX http://www.ananas-anam.com/pinatex/
(Section 1 of contextual research file)

71

Practice based research

Yarn used

Tactile quality &


technical info

Ethical alternative

Research into the details of commonly used yarns and their ethical
alternatives for consideration during practice based research.
(Section 1 of contextual research file)

72

Ethical impact

Why use knitted textiles?

Yarn used

Tactile quality &


technical info

Ethical alternative

73

Ethical impact

Practice based research

Swicofil offers NEWLIFE recycled polyester filament yarns in


flat, textured and POY. But the materials are not available to private persons or one person companies.
www.swicofil.com (2016)
(Section 1 of contextual research file)

74

Why use knitted textiles?

But where can they be sourced?


These eco friendly alternatives are inaccessible to individual consumers and even small
scale producers as there is no value in it for
the companies producing the material. For
this research project it became apparent that
yarns such as polyester, nylon and silk, needed
to be used in place of recycled, bi-products or
more eco alternatives until these alternatives
become available.
(See section 1 of contextual research file and materials
research file for more information on whats out there
and where it can be sourced)

75

Practice based research

"Traditional knitwear is more soft and shapeless I wanted to find out


a new way to present knitwear and was influenced by Modern architecture and 60s Balenciaga."
Xiao Li - RCA fashion collection (2013)
(Section 18 of contextual research file)

76

Why use knitted textiles?

Why are knitted textiles a good medium for


exploring incongruities in design?
Knitted textiles are a medium well suited to
designing for visual/tactual incongruities,
best described as; A conflict between touch
and vision (Ludden et al. 2012)
Traditional knitwear is often associated with
specific visual and tactile properties: soft,
cosy, warm and wooly.
These preconceptions provide a chance to
create innovative textiles and observe peoples reactions to visual-tactual play.

77

Interacting with knit

79

Sensory stimuli & repetition

Research suggests that sensory incongruities


are the most powerful in terms of eliciting
a cognitive response. So which sensory experiences are most appropriate for affecting or
influencing our mentality when we interact
with design?

81

Interacting with knit

The Willbarger Protocol describes three


kinds of touch practiced as part of integration therapy: brushing, joint compression
and weight.. these kinds of touch therapy
can help treat disorders such as dementia,
depressive and anxiety disorders
Vaucelle et al. 2009

Vaucelle et al. (2009) Design for haptic interfaces for therapy


(Section 17 of contextual research file)

82

Sensory stimuli & repetition

Sensory Pods are designed to satisfy non-visual sensory needs for


the enjoyment of visually impaired infants and toddlers.
Sandy Hsiu-Chi Wang, Sensory pods (2009)
(Section 18 of contextual research file)

83

Interacting with knit

Anguilo researches the potential of materials to encourage a state


of mind wandering through tactile play.
Caroline Anguilo Mind Wandering Bloom (2016)
(Section 18 of contextual research file)

84

Sensory stimuli & repetition

The weighted blanket appears to facilitate the ability to feel safe, comforted,
and grounded in the world.
Mullet et al. 2008

Mullet et al. (2012) Exploring the safety and therapeutic effects of


deep pressure stimulation using a weighted blanket
(Section 17 of contextual research file)

85

Interacting with knit

One of the qualities offered by the weighted


blanket is deep pressure stimulation, which is
generally referred to as a form of touch pressure
applied to the body to provide the feeling of a
firm hug, holding, swaddling or massage
Mullet et al. 2008

Mullet et al. (2012) Exploring the safety and therapeutic effects of


deep pressure stimulation using a weighted blanket
(Section 17 of contextual research file)

86

Sensory stimuli & repetition

Knit fabric containing heavy marbles for sensory experience. Part of


a range of sensory props, designed for people with ASD to stimulate
and encourage communication, social interaction and fun.
Katie Gaudion Textile Props for Multi-sensory Environments (2010)
(Section 20 of contextual research file)

87

Interacting with knit

Repetition brings both familiarity and


jumping-on points for people
Themikedubose, 2013

Themikedubose (2013) Writing humour: on repetition


(Section 20 of contextual research file)

88

Sensory stimuli & repetition

Once a stimulus has been processed, it will


retain information only as long as attention is
drawn to it by reciting or repetition
Memory response follows a similar pattern
to that of verbal memory, becoming more stable with reinforcement of the same activity.
Lederman, 2014

Ledarman (2005) The Science and practice of manual therapy


(Section 20 of contextual research file)

89

Interacting with knit

Based on the images, one would expect the inserts to be soft and
bouncy, although to hold such clear form with lycra being pressed
against it, it is likely they are hard.
Rowan Mersh Future Landscapes (2007)
(Section 18 of contextual research file)

90

Sensory stimuli & repetition

Repetition can trigger a relaxation response


that contributes to a decrease in heart rate,
blood pressure and muscle tension
Hamburgh, 2014

Rin Hamburgh, (2014) Knitting therapy


http://welldoing.org/article/knitting-therapy
(Section 20 of contextual research file)

91

Interacting with knit

"OSTRICH offers a micro environment in which to take a warm and


comfortable power nap. Its soothing cave-like interior shelters and
isolates our head and hands (mind, senses and body)"
Kawamura Ganjavian - OSTRICH Pillow (2012)
(Section 18 of contextual research file)

92

Sensory stimuli & repetition

Different types of sensory stimulation, such as


weight texture and repetition can be integrated into
knitted textiles. Their therapeutic qualities add an
extra element to incongruous design play which is a
welcome positive.
Knitted textiles lends itself to repetition. Research
shows repetition triggers relaxation and a decrease in
blood pressure and tension. Ones memory becomes
more stable with the reinforcement of the same
information, meaning the stimulus is easily recalled.
Play with texture, weight and repetition all seem to
be used to stimulate the mind in various ways, providing comfort, relaxation and a brain work out. These
ideas can be utilised whilst designing products with
visual-tactual incongruities. Hopefully using these
effective forms of sensory experience can strengthen
the intensity the incongruities effect.

93

Initial knit experiments

95

Designs based on research

Initial design target, taking the full extent of my


research into account:
Replace the normal with the abnormal:
Create a set of knitted samples eliciting surprise
and intrigue by using visual/tactual incongruities.

97

Initial knit experiments

98

Designs based on research

Inserts were the obvious way of applying weight to samples.


Knit structure means that you can create pockets that can contain
whatever will fit through the machine gap.
I was able to use lots of waste materials such as old bits of wood and
memory foam cut offs. There is also an abundance of waste silicone
to be had from 3D polymers departments.

99

Initial knit experiments

100

Designs based on research

Repetitive tactile pile knit to encourage interaction. Looks soft and


squidgy, which it is, however once you touch it wooden inserts create
a tactile incongruity between expectation and reality.
Sample #29: White wool/angora mix with cashmere/wool blend.
5gge towelling in pattern.
Sewn finishing to contain waste foam/wood inserts.

101

The sample above and to the right were testing ways in which one
could produce a knit that has synthetic on one side and natural on
the other. This was done using multiple feeders, changing the selection every row. This technique makes the sample easy to dismantle
if one wants to recycled the synthetic fibre and re-use or biodegrade
the natural. The rubber inserts could also be re-used.
Sample #17: Polypropleyne, Cashmere/wool blend & lycra.
10gge selective circular with alternating feeders Dubied.
With rubber inserts put in during knitting.

102

Designs based on research

Sample #18: Polypropleyne, Cashmere/wool blend & lycra.


10gge selective circular with alternating feeders Dubied.
With rubber inserts put in during knitting.

103

Initial knit experiments

Copper wire in samples allow the fabrics to hold form. They may
appear fluid and stretchy as one would expect with a knitted fabric,
but are rigid due to the alloys.
Sample #31 & #24: Silk & wool mix with 0.2 copper wire
5gge Domestic Single bed

104

Section title

105

Initial knit experiments

Knitting using the holding technique allows yarns to be manipulated


into 3D forms. These 3D cube forms make it look like there is something inside. One might expect it to be heavy or have something inside
when in fact its light and hollow.
Sample #2: Lambswool 2ply
5gge single bed, holding technique
Felted at 40

106

Designs based on research

Sample #30: Cashmere wool blend


5gge Domestic, holding technique
Felted at 40

107

Visual-tactual and visual-auditory play. Goggly eye inserts create


interesting visuals, manipulating the fabric into zigzags due to tight
tension . The eyes also add an element of sound, shaking like an
instrument when moved. The rubber inserts are inspired by Rowan
Mershs repetitive 3D lycra work and resulted in a heavily weighted,
tight tensioned sample.
Sample #15: Silk/wool mix with lycra
10gge Dubied selective circular
rubber and goggly eye inserts.

108

109

110

Designs based on research

Playing with silicone allowed me to create fabrics that still looked


like knit. Though once you touch them you are met with a plastic-like
tactility rather than soft and wooly as would be expected.
Sample #28: Scrap woad dyed lambswool felt coated with silicone,
5gge domestic
Felted at 40.

111

Focus group response I

113

Focus group response I

1:24 Participant A Referring to #15:


[Throws up and down in her hands] I like this one, cool structure,
heavy, doesnt look like itd be heavy but it is

114

Public response to initial ideas

In order to assess the samples qualities I needed


to record participants reactions. This would help
me see which features of the samples people
interacted with most, and which samples were
generating the most response.
This was done through filmed focus groups, after
which I transcribed verbal and physical reactions
from participants.
The results helped me refine techniques and
ideas for further sampling.

115

Focus group response I

1:42-2:00 Participant A Interacting with #18:


[Plays with sample, stretching it and testing the weight in her hands]

116

Public response to initial ideas

1:00 Participant B Referring to #17:


Umm that it kind of looks like its not going to be, very like, heavy,
and its like more tactile than I thought

117

Focus group response I

4:02 Participant A Referring to #29:


Yeah, that one you cant tell is hard, it looks like its going to be soft

118

Public response to initial ideas

Key points taken from focus groups:


There was a lot of reaction to colour which
wasnt meant to be a focus. Use a neutral colour for all samples going forward.
People tended to be drawn to the larger samples. Make them all the same size and format.
Participants vocalised a dislike of the silicone coated samples but tended to interact
with them longer.
Fabrics with inserts were popular.
Loose fabrics with inserts prove therapeutic.

119

Sample development

121

Reacting to focus group response

My next design target, taking the information


from the focus groups into account:
Explore in depth the effects of visual-tactual
incongruities by producing pairs of knitted
samples that look the same but have differing
tactile qualities.

123

Sample Development

Waste silicone from the polymers department. Heavy in weight with


holes that adds another element of tactility. These features could
encourage further exploration of the sample.

124

Reacting to focus group response

125

Reacting to focus group response

Heavy
Sample #37: Merino & Brushed Mohair,
2gge Dubied Selective circular
With waste silicone inserts.

126

Sample Development

Light
Sample #37: Merino & Brushed Mohair,
2gge Dubied Selective circular
With waste memory foam inserts.

127

Reacting to focus group response

Heavy
Sample #42: 100% silk
12gge Dubied selective circular.
With circular silicone inserts.

128

Sample Development

Light
Sample #45: 100% silk
12gge Dubied selective circular.
With circular waste foam inserts

129

Reacting to focus group response

Sticky

Smooth

Sample #38: 100% Silk


Fine gauge domestic single bed
With lycra grid striping detail

Sample #47: 100% Silk


Fine gauge domestic single bed

130

Reacting to focus group response

131

Sticky

Smooth

Sample #53: 100% Wild Silk


Fine gauge domestic single bed
Silicone coated

Sample #54: 100% Wild Silk


Fine gauge domestic single bed

132

Reacting to focus group response

133

Sample Development

Tacky
Sample #34: Mohair/Merino Brushed.
2gge Dubied double bed plaiting feeder used to place mohair on the
outside and merino on the inside, plain knit.
Silicone coated back.

134

Reacting to focus group response

Fluffy
Sample #44: Mohair/Merino Brushed.
2gge Dubied double bed plaiting feeder used to place mohair on the
outside and merino on the inside, plain knit.

135

Focus group response II

137

Focus group response II

Reaction to visual-tactual stimuli:


Focus group #9
0:33 Participant B Referring to #39:
Oh I really like this one [presses to her face] so snuggly!
0:38 Participant A Interacting with #37:
[Seeks out #37 visually from the pile and picks it up really gently
presses the inserts between her thumbs and fingers then strokes
with thumbs slowly, lays flat and uses her fingers to run across
each insert]

0:53 Participant A Referring to #37


How are this one and that one different? [having been playing with
#37 she asks about #39 and B passes it to her]
1:00 Participant A Refering to #39:
Oh, yeah
1:36 Participant A Referring to #37:
No, I was like woah thats cool , but that one [pressing foam inserts
on #39] looks like theres something in it but theres not.

138

Response to developed designs

Focus group #9
2:55 Participant B Interacting with #47 & #53
[Looks over confused, thinking its the same sample, checks her own]
2:57 Participant B Interacting with #47 & #53
[Picks up #53 frowns and looks shocked] Has this one got plastic on
it? [continues to look distressed and feels #47 too to check]

139

Focus group response II

140

Response to developed designs

Focus Group #8
3:36 Participant A Interacting with #53:
[Picks up #53 feels weight]
3:36 Participant A Referring to #53 & #54:
Whats the difference between these two? [Reaches to feel #54]
1:10 Participant B Interacting with #45:
[Picks up and looks at the inserts, then begins to squeeze them]
1:19 Participant B Interacting with #45 & #42:
[Sees the similarity between samples so reaches to test what that
one feels like, she then picks it up and stretches it, putting it down
within 5 seconds]

141

Focus group response II

Focus group #4
3:00 Participant D Interacting with #39 & 37:
[Picks up #39 squeezes it and presses it against her chest with the
palms of her hands, Then reaches over and touches #37 to see how
that feels, realises its different and continues to play with #39]

Focus group #5
2:08 Participant C Referring to #47:
This did not feel how I thought it was going to feel
2:12 Participant A - Referring to #34
No, I wasnt expecting that look [strokes soft side then silicone
side on Participant Ds hand] feel that!

Focus group #5
3:22 Participant D Referring to #45:
So whats in the middle of these?
3:25 RH Referring to #45
Thats memory foam, waste foam, theres loads of ends lying about
at the croft so I thought id use that up

142

Response to developed designs

Focus group #7
1:12 Participant A Interacting with #40
[Picks up, looks at one side then flips over to check the other]
This one feels like its guna be nice but when you feel the back its a
bit gross!

143

Response to developed designs

The verbal and physical reactions demonstrated


in these focus groups show different results.
People tend to show verbal dislike for the samples that arent what they seem. But they always
interact with them for far longer. Verbally people
enjoy the soft, fluffier samples that fulfil their
preconceptions, though they dont hold and play
with them for as long as theyre incongruous
counterparts.
Visual-tactual incongruities elicited surprise
reactions and often participants wanted to know
what materials each of the samples were constructed with.

145

Going forward

147

Future project intentions

Reactions to my samples support my hypothesis


that visual/tactual incongruities elicit surprise
reactions, intriguing the user and encouraging
conversation about the origin of the textiles.
With this knowledge I plan to refine my use of
humour theory in knitted textiles to create fabric
samples that encourage discussion and result in
more considered consumption of textiles.
Further focus groups will aid in my research;
recording what people are most likely to buy, how
I can produce textiles as ethically as possible and
hopefully add a bit of humour into a subject area
that is often dark.

149