‘Reimagining Xiabu’ was an exciting project as result of collaboration between China Design Centre and Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London. The project is also supported by ADC and Jin Shan Yi Ku Creative Industry Park from Chongqing.
‘Reimagining Xiabu’ Private View at China Design Centre, London, on 17/03/2017
Zheng Qu, Executive Director of China Design Centre, selected the winners at Chelsea College of Arts in November 2016. Two graduate winners (Mary Ashcroft and Fiona Faumuina) and one student winner (Ying Yu Tan) were chosen to travel to China to meet the Xiabu weavers and attend the opening of the Reimagining Xiabu exhibition at the ADC, Chongqing, in December 2016.
Research and design process, students from Chelsea College of Arts
The collaboration offered a unique opportunity to marry an alternative UK design perspective with Chinese artisanal tradition in order to create fresh and surprising ideas and begin a dialogue between the participants. Student winner Ying Yu Tan said that the project emphasised “the important of tradition in the future of design” and created an opportunity “to connect different generations of craft workers and designers”.
The award certificates are given by David Crow, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Head of Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon colleges; Jamy Yang, founder of YANG DESIGN; and Qing Yang, founder of CHINE.
David Crow speaking at Chongqing Liangjiang Creative Events
Exhibition in Chongqing, China
From left: Student Winner, Ying Yu Tan; Graduate Winner, Mary Ashcroft; Graduate Winner, Fiona Faumuina.
Mary Ashcroft was inspired by the way in which xiabu fibre is farmed. Using a contemporary colour palette and simple printing methods (such as masking tape, pens, paint rollers/brushes, screen-printing), she reimagines agricultural workwear and imperfect lines and stripes as modern patterns for urban living.
Xiabu means "summer cloth" and Fiona Faumuina wanted her exploration and reinvention of xiabu to reflect its rich cultural history and relationship with nature. She chose to direct her research toward the I Ching or Yi Jing Book of Changes, an ancient divination text, saying that it seemed “appropriate to reference something that is a part of Chinese history, but alludes to change”. Each of Faumuina’s woven samples is based on a hexagram from the I Ching and all of the colours used refer to the elements used in the I Ching – wind, fire, earth, lake, heaven, water, mountain and thunder.
Ying Yu Tan
Ying Yu Tan focussed on “Qi” as a fundamental of good health, rapid urbanisation and declining air quality. Her hand-woven, rust-dyed dust mask is affordable and effective and combines Chongqing’s trademark xiabu with China’s domestic silk to create “an environmentally-friendly product that gives people a fuss-free way to protect their bodies and reimagines xiabu as a textile for daily wear”.
Xiabu team - BA Textile Design, Chelsea College of Arts
Senior Lecturer – Weave
Senior Lecturer – Print
Senior Lecturer – Digital Textile Design
Senior Lecturer – Knit
Ying Yu Tan
Michaela Carpenter Olson
Emilie Lynch Williams
Connah Riess Lamb