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Texture and #tactility with Philippa Brock

September 2016  |  General

Philippa Brock is a long-standing client of Gainsborough and if there is anyone who knows about texture & 3D in weaving, the capabilities of (and pushing the boundaries of) our Dataweave Jacquard loom, to produce incredible textiles and forms, it is Philippa.


Her innovative 3D woven design practice relies on her fabrics ‘self-forming’ once off the loom, or with minimal steam/humidity finishing post weaving.  By utilising specialist & unusual yarns in combination with carefully constructed weave structures and design layouts, Philippa’s work appears flat on the loom and gradually ‘moves and moulds’ as soon as the tension, that keeps the fabric flat and even, is released.


After previously working on an e-textiles commission, she also developed a range of 3D self-forming, inherently smart fabrics (phosphorescent and fluorescent) which work in different light situations including UV.

These self-forming fabrics are fascinating and Philippa’s work has been showcased in numerous solo and group exhibitions including but not limited to: The Montreal Centre for Contemporary Textiles, The Silk Museum, Hangzhou, China, Textile Month New York and The Fashion Gallery Hong Kong; her work is also in the Crafts Council permanent collection. Furthermore, Philippa participated in the Nobel Textile project working with Sir Aaron Klug and the MRC, communications dept – interpreting his Nobel prize concepts into woven textiles.


Her latest work, which she weaves herself at Gainsborough, explores vertical, multilayered 3D and hirsuteness(!) approaches, all of which explore the parameters of multilayer 3D weaving on this loom. The initial prototypes were shown at Real Dirty Blue exhibition in 2016 in London and the new developments are also being laser cut and set. Watch this space.


Philippa is well respected within the weaving industry, also working as Pathway Leader for Woven Textiles, part time on the BA (Hons) Textile Design course at Central Saint Martins, UAL.  She is also Lead Researcher in the Textile Futures Research Centre, Editor and founder of The Weave Shed, a resource site and blog for professional weavers, joint Director of Studio Houndstooth and recently became a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Weavers.

She is currently curating, with Samuel Plant Dempsey, ‘Weaving Futures’,  a three month season at London Transport Museum (Nov 20th 2016 – Feb 2017), as part of the year-long Designology exhibition. ‘Weaving Futures’  will have a studio TC2 Digital Norway jacquard loom being operated live in the museum by a weaver, who will be responding to individual studio residents’ concepts and designs. There are studio residencies in the museum of between 3-7 days by eminent weavers, companies and non-weavers running throughout the season.  Gainsborough Silk Weaving will of course be participating!

Philippa also works as a consultant and free-lance designer on various industry-based projects.  Needless to say – we are honoured to have Philippa as a client and look forward to her next wonderful, imaginative, risk-taking and experimental collection.


Lab Craft: Digital adventures in contemporary craft

Textile Futures Research Centre

The Houndstooth Project

The Weave Shed

All imagery courtesy of Philippa Brock 2016.