Loughborough University
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Capturing change between hand and digital textile printing processes, for the individual maker

posted on 2021-11-30, 16:23 authored by Emma Osbourn

This qualitative, practice-based study is situated in the field of textiles and investigates the question: For the maker, where do the differences lie between hand and digital textile printing processes? The study compares the impacts on the maker during the process of hand block printing and the process of digital textile printing. It is comprised of four iterations of textile printing, two by hand and two digitally, which are documented and then analysed. The subject of the study is the author who is fulfilling the role of researcher-practitioner.

The study is contextualised in both historical and contemporary contexts within the fields of modern craft (Adamson, 2007, 2013) and digital and hand textile print practices. The chosen overall methodology is bricolage (Kincheloe, 2001; Denzin and Lincoln, 2008; Hammersley, 2008; Yee and Bremner, 2011). As creative practice is central to the research it is a principle component of the methodology and has been investigated using theoretical models associated with Reflective Practice (Schön, 1991; Sellars, 2013) and ‘disciplined noticing’ (Mason 2002, p.87-88). In the analysis and conclusions, the research and results of the research are aligned with the following theories: The Workmanships of Risk and Certainty (Pye, 1978), Flow (Csikszentmihalyi, 2001) and theories of Embodied Cognition (Wilson, 2002; Johnson 2007).

There is a markedly different level of engagement for the practitioner as the sense of Flow altered between both modes. The analysis shows a different perception of time during the two processes, namely during the digital process the levels of engagement were experienced in a different way, with more lapses of concentration being recorded that did not contribute towards the creative process. The study also confirmed the value of materiality; it is found that tangible tools and materials associated with the hand process have more absorbing effect on the creative process. This leads to drawing a clear link between touch and tactility and whole-body creativity. It is finally concluded that increased levels of engagement are connected to the use of the body and somatic motions used during the hand process. This would concur with developing theories in cognitive science (Stanciu, 2014; Groth, 2016; Andolfi, Di Nuzzo and Antonietti, 2017), which suggest that creative cognitive processes take place in the body as well as the brain.


Loughborough University



  • Design and Creative Arts


  • Creative Arts


Loughborough University

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© Emma Osbourn

Publication date



A dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the degree of Master of Philosophy of Loughborough University.


  • en


Christin Bolewski ; Hilary Robinson

Qualification name

  • MPhil

Qualification level

  • Masters

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