Manchester Metropolitan University's Research Repository

    Coded cloth: how a generative digital design process for jacquard weave can reanimate historical pattern archives

    Stephens, Michelle (2018) Coded cloth: how a generative digital design process for jacquard weave can reanimate historical pattern archives. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.


    Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

    Download (236MB) | Preview


    ‘Coded Cloth’ is a research project with external partners: The Silk Museum and Paradise Mill, Macclesfield. It utilises archival pattern books from the MSMS Collection P52-P56 c.1933-1937 to creatively explore and interpret, pattern designs for digital-led jacquard weaving through generative design and programming methods. The generative programming is used to ‘reanimate’ the historical archives through ‘data bending’ archival images and placing selected areas into ‘repeat/nonrepeats’. Incorporating intentionally uncontrollable or stochastic behaviour. This investigation is concerned with unpredictability based on tacit knowledge to formulate new digital designs balanced between order and chaos, with quality gauged by ‘Parameters of Success’. The practice-based enquiry contributes to the development of programming functions as a method of design and its specific application to weave design. Development of this integrated design process has contributed to the establishment of the two code blocks, with resulting digital and physical practice-based elements. Practice demonstrates how technology can create novel works that were previously impossible to make. This in turn has led to the formation of the toolkit, a design system. The reanimation of archival material provides a method of interpretation of the traditional patterns into contemporary relevance. Museums tend to just digitise their archives and leave it at that. Instead, ‘reanimation’ offers something more in-depth, indicating to users how you can interact with collections; creating future sustainability by attracting new audiences. There is a continual need to attract new audiences and maintain current visitors in the Museum environment; this research offers a design system that can facilitate the attraction of new audiences through its execution. This model is transferrable as it can be used with any source material across fields. This study explores several facets of research through design in order to contribute to discussions about how the approach provides legitimate ways of knowledge production; including the creation of a transferrable model for use by stakeholders in the Museum, design and digital sectors.

    Impact and Reach


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics for this dataset are available via IRStats2.

    Repository staff only

    Edit record Edit record