Pattern and Touch



Pattern and Touch is a series of hand-rendered, pliable latex forms which encourage playful interactions and contribute towards the exploration of themes, included within an accompanying written document (below). The written reflection is a method of untangling the concepts and ideas that surround both the physical forms which have been produced and the themes which drive and inspire Zoe as a practitioner.

“The forms, known as material sculptures, are interactive in nature. In terms of developing processes and working methods, I endeavoured to establish a new method of applying pattern and texture to surface materials whilst considering how the material itself could become a tactile form. I must stress my belief in the importance of touch as a way to fully experience the quality of materials and surface design. Textiles are, almost always, intended to be interacted with; whether they are worn on the body or used in the home, or as functional materials within a variety of product contexts.

It could be suggested that visual interaction has become a primary consideration amongst some practitioners when developing material surfaces and it is for this reason that I have developed a way to showcase surface design that also appeals to the sense of touch; offering new ways to consider pattern.

There is potential for the research to be of use to other makers by way of presenting an alternative method of production and display of surface patterns. In particular, the research is a method of disseminating my ideas based around multi-sensory design. Touch, smell, sound and even taste are all areas that have further potential to be explored alongside the original concept. I do not suggest that this project should remain accessible only to fellow makers or academics. The deliberately bright, tactile and playful elements featured within the design of the sculptures works as an invitation to the general public to engage with.

The material sculptures have the potential to serve a number of purposes. They are components in a textile research project and they are pliable, tactile sculptures in their own right. It is entirely possible that they can be removed from their setting as part of an interactive research installation and serve a function as decorative objects.
In developing the sculptures, I focused on hand-rendered forms, utilising technology only minimally. This is not so much a comment on working methods - as I believe there is a space for both handcrafts and technology - 
but simply my chosen way of working at this time. Upon inviting interaction and participation, I considered it to be important to experience the materials and processes in the same way during the production of the tactile surfaces. Touch, therefore, is equally as important in informing my production methods as sight.

The interactive element will cause the sculptures to eventually break down over time. Latex in particular is biodegradable. As I have been producing my material sculptures, I have allowed them to be accessible to anybody who wishes to interact with them. All the while I have been questioning; how long should an art object survive? Does it need to exist for centuries? How useful is the work is if it is not used in the way it was intended to be? I believe there is a space for work which 
has an intentionally short shelf life and which focuses more heavily on tactile experience”.

See more of Zoe’s work by visiting her website, or follow her @zoe_mara_may.