Skin stories : charting and mapping the skin : research using analogies of human skin tissue in relation to my textile practice
The practice based research "Skin stories: charting and mapping the skin" deals with issues across the fields of art, design, technology, biology and material science. In an attempt to bridge the gap between aesthetics and technology by investigating the potential of new and industrial materials, the epidermis is used as a metaphor for creating innovative textile surfaces which behave, look or feel like skin. As a result of theoretical enquiry and practical experiments, interactive design solutions have been developed to a prototype stage for possible application in domestic environments and public spaces as well as for integration into body related design concepts. The development of such functional and interactive textile membranes will hopefully enable individuals to experience a polysensual and responsive environment and it is this aspect which is considered to be an original contribution to knowledge in the textiles field. The aim of this written thesis is not only to illustrate the journeys and investigations made along the way and to demonstrate the outcome of the research, but also to situate the practical work in its cultural, critical and technological context. This thesis is accompanied by an interactive CD-ROM which is a visual representation of my 'research map' and holds a record of the practical work carried out during the research project. The ideas of the project "Skin stories: charting and mapping the skin" have been developed and tested during a 3-year research programme towards a Ph. D. at The London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London.