The People’s Print

{ Floral Collage Print for The Great British Floral group}

Melanie Bowles, author of the excellent Digital Textile Design (which is getting a new edition this fall!) has launched an exciting new project with Dr. Emma Neuberg, founder of the Slow Textile Group and lecturer at the University of the Arts, London. It’s called The People’s Print, an experiment in collaborative design and ownership. The project encourages “participatory design using old and new, traditional and handmade methods of design combined with digital technology to create new processes and concepts of textile design.” It offers “a new methodology for digital textile print identity development, community generation, cultural and social identity and a springboard for entrepreneurship.” The prints have individual designer credits, but each member of the group owns the rights to the digital files to print on demand for whatever purposes they wish.

They just began a new workshop today at the Victoria and Albert Museum, with the theme of The Great British Floral, and I’m sure that there will be more workshops to come in the near future.

{ Preparing motifs for The Great British Floral group}

More on how it all works, from the People’s Print Blog:

In the public sector, participants enter a project agreeing to group ownership of the co-created product at the outset. This means the incentive is there to create something that works for the group and represents it in a cohesive fashion. This is a powerful tool pioneered and honed by The People’s Print to offer significant social and cultural benefits to those who engage in the process. This is making for social good but in a cool, fun, real life kind of way! The group gains exclusive rights to the co-created designs and can forever develop their community’s design identity autonomously.

In the private sector, The People’s Print toolbox offers new methods for envisioning future products and co-design identities. In a world where participatory design is becoming increasingly important to consumers, addressing methods of co-design as an integral part of product development is key to brand survival. It’s also central to a brand’s sustainable development strategy. The People’s Print give brands an edge on the competition with their expertise in co-design processes and thereby enable customer bases to expand exponentially.

{ Born to Be Wild group swatch book }

The People’s Print’s first workshop at the Victoria & Albert Museum was inspired by the theme of Postmodernism. Called “Born to Be Wild,” they developed the swatch book you see in the photo above. A close up of just two of the dozens of gorgeous prints:

{ Silk print designed by Melanie Bowles, Born To Be Wild group }

{ Silk print designed by Katie Faddy, Born To Be Wild group }

See a video version of a draft of the Born to Be Wild swatch book here.

This is so different from the current assumptions about autonomous creativity and ownership, it’s hard to wrap my head around it, and I have lots of questions. But I’m completely intrigued, would love to participate in a group like this, and am so inspired by the work that’s come out of it so far.

One Comment

  1. At last – the Mash-Up comes to textiles!! – fascinating post – thank you!