Versatile studios and new equipment
On an international scale, the school's studios - workshops - and equipment are versatile and even unique. Many of the workshops have equipment and capabilities that are essential to working in the industry. At the workshops the students can experiment with different materials, methods and processes.
‘Many schools in the world do not have this kind of combination of teaching and equipment. We can be proud of our great machines, such as our industrial jacquard weaving machine’, Maarit Salolainen said. ‘In textile design, technical expertise and the understanding of machines seamlessly link to artistic design expertise. The equipment and techniques are our artist's palette.’ Fabrics woven with Aalto’s brand-new jacquard weaving machine were seen for the first time at the annual fashion show, which was held at the end of May.
Use of the diverse studios enables the design of multidimensional and high-quality artistic textiles. Students are also encouraged to take advantage of textile workshops and techniques in parallel, for example, to further work on woven or knitted fabrics in a print studio.
Well-equipped studios allow for in-depth learning of textile techniques. Students can manufacture their own fabrics using processes similar to those used in the industry, thus learning the possibilities and limitations of techniques in practice.
Both industrial machines and hand-tools that are suitable for different stages of learning are available. For example, when knitting by hand you will learn to understand how woven fabric is constructed and how different yarn materials affect the structure. Modifying your design for an industrial machine then teaches you to understand the requirements of industrial weaving. This also enables weaving of larger quantities, for example, for clothing collections or upholstered furniture.
‘Our studios are not just a collection of equipment, but importantly they enable the teaching of artistic design expertise. Us teachers work closely with workshop masters, and in addition to a range of equipment we strive to offer an array of interesting new yarns and printing bases and methods‘, said textile design lecturer Anna-Mari Leppisaari.
Students are also taught how to use programs for textile design, such as the M1plus pattern program and the Weavepoint woven fabric program. The programs make it possible for the students to design and develop models independently and experiment freely. In addition, Maija Fagerlund has developed Photoshop methods for designing woven fabrics, which enables students to design jacquard fabrics with an easy-to-access program that is available for them even after they move on to working life.
‘Companies where our students have internships often comment that our students have a very good combination of both artistic and technical skills. Although the main focus in our teaching is on artistic design expertise, students interested in textile product development can deepen their design skills through learning to master these special programs’, Leppisaari said.
In October this year, a book called 'Interwoven - Exploring Materials and Structures' written by Salolainen will be published. Fagerlund and Leppisaari have also written sections to the book. The book presents the pedagogical platforms and design process concepts behind the textile and especially woven fabric design at Aalto. In this way, collected learnings and best practices from Aalto are shared with the world.
Casual knits with a twinkle in the eye