• Textile Praxis: The Case for Malaysian Hand-Woven Songket

Stankard, Suzanne, 2010, Thesis, Textile Praxis: The Case for Malaysian Hand-Woven Songket PhD thesis, Royal College of Art.

Abstract or Description:

This research was prompted by a concern for the vulnerability of traditional pre-industrial handicrafts, namely the songket textiles of Malaysia. The songket textile has been woven for over two centuries in Southeast Asia, and its materiality represents cultural heritage, tradition, and national identity in Malaysia. Market competition from imported, less expensive and mass-produced songket textile replicas has forced local makers to instigate creative change, as a means of longevity and secure a place in the market.
Within this research theories of development and social science are used to direct the creative practice of the researcher, forming a textile praxis. The practice of the researcher, as a textile designer and weaver, will introduce alternative technology, namely yarns and weaving techniques, to the production of the textile in order to instigate change. This practice is conducted within the field in Malaysia and in the London studios of the Royal College of Art. The implementation of the practice reflects the local material, technological, and economic environments, hence, providing alternative yarns and weaving techniques which are ‘appropriate’ (Schumacher 1993) to the local hand-woven production infrastructure. It is the socio-cultural context of the textiles materiality which most challenges the researcher in her practice; the duality (Gell 1998) of the object, subject, and social relationship. Manifesting itself as objectivity, dualism presents an agency upon creative practice. The autonomous practice of the researcher is challenged by the autonomy of material representation.
The textiles which were produced by the researcher’s practice consist of radical changes in materiality. Through acquiring local knowledge, they represent creativity, where social objectivity has been considered and also abstracted by the researcher. The textiles exist, not as a new genre of materiality, but as exposure and influence to local makers, demonstrating creativity which can be achieved by expanding upon existing technological frameworks. By experiencing the use of alternative yarns during the researcher’s field practice, local makers have chosen to adopt and appropriate the use of the yarns within their practice and subsequent textile market, a use which they have sustained.
The use of exposure to influence the local makers practice has already caused changes in the textiles materiality. The future materiality of the textile depends upon the time and space in which its creative practice and society resides.

Qualification Name: PhD
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W230 Clothing/Fashion Design > W231 Textile Design
Copyright Holders: Suzanne Stankard
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2012 13:21
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2018 15:43
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/435
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