News

Drawing wool into the world of art

6 February 2013

The Woolmark Company Hong Kong office has joined forces with Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) in a bid to get artists working with wool, drawing the fibre into the world of art, via Haptic InterFace.

Wearables Lab founder Dr Patricia Flanagan; winner of the Best Use of Australian Merino in Creativity award Anne Graham; and The Woolmark Company’s country manager for Hong Kong Alex Lai
Wearables Lab founder Dr Patricia Flanagan; winner of the Best Use of Australian Merino in Creativity award Anne Graham; and The Woolmark Company’s country manager for Hong Kong Alex Lai.

Haptic InterFace 2012 launched a new challenge for designers, artists, scientists, developers and creative thinkers who want to come face-to-face with the unexpected and new. Haptic InterFace consists of a 10-day workshop and an exhibition which ran parallel to this event.

Highlighting the sense of touch, The Woolmark Company was pushing Merino wool into the world of art, drawing upon the beauty of the natural fibre and inspiring artists to use it in their work.

Fashion communications manager for The Woolmark Company Hong Kong, Vincy Cheng, said The Woolmark Company was involved with Haptic InterFace in three ways and that the initiative offered a fresh approach to working with wool.

“Firstly, we conducted a wool seminar to allow participants a greater understanding of Australian wool and the Woolmark, as well as a presentation on wool appreciation,” Ms Cheng said. “Secondly, we were involved in the sponsorship of materials, donating wool top for the 10 days of the workshop.

“Finally, we sponsored the Best Use of Australian Merino in Creativity award, with the prize being wool training in Australia and a farm visit experience. This award aims to raise awareness of the natural beauty of Australian Merino wool among the next generation of designers and creative talent and was awarded to Australian artist Anne Graham.

“This unique award allows us to look at other ways creative talents can work with wool – moving away from the traditional runway and exhibiting wool as a work of art, either hung on a wall or as a stand-alone sculpture.”

Ms Graham made two outfits, one of which was made from 100 per cent Merino wool top which represented the original garment shapes.

“She was chosen as the winner as she could beautifully incorporate wool into art and illustrate the concept and co-relation of the exhibition’s theme: Wearable Art,” Ms Cheng said.
Explaining her piece, titled Conor, Ms Graham said it represented the transience of life and the long-lasting nature of wool.

“I wanted to use wool because felted wool was the earliest fabric known to man,” Ms Graham said. “I made a simple coat out of soft, raw wool. It was a plain shape, probably a similar pattern to ancient garments.

“Wool is a beautiful and extremely flexible material. I have worked with it before when I made a piece for the Biennale of Sydney and I am still working with Australian Merino wool, felting wool and dog hair together to make outfits for the owners of dogs.”

An exhibition of the entrants’ work was held in Hong Kong in November and December showcasing body-related works along with concepts and prototypes developed in the Wearables Lab.

For further information about Haptic Interface visit http://hapticinterface.hkbu.edu.hk/