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«1.1 Background to the Study The relationship between design and production is the planning and execution of a conceived idea or plan. The plan should ...»

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1.1 Background to the Study

The relationship between design and production is the planning and execution

of a conceived idea or plan. The plan should anticipate and compensate for potential

problems in the execution process. Design involves problem-solving and creativity. In

contrast, production involves a routine or pre-planned process.

A design may also be a mere plan that does not include a production or engineering process, although a working knowledge of such processes is usually expected of designers (Ward, 2010).

According to Seymour (2002), a design does not have to be new, different or impressive to be successful in the market place, but it must fulfil a need. He however, explained that, the processes of designing do lead to innovative products and services.

Textiles span many categories of human want and need. Modern manufacturers distinguish apparel textiles for the body from the coverings of walls and furniture. Hand-made cloth supplies equally varied domains. Within each domain, some fabrics meet practical demands while others communicate meanings or express artistic taste (Schneider, 1987).

Textile design associates itself to the making of creative, stylish and contemporary designs. It requires special skills to create innovative designs. The core areas of textile designing involves the following: designing fabric by using different techniques comprising printing, weaving, ornamenting fabric, print technique, tracing embroidery and colour detailing, providing support to the clients to visualize the 1 design and helping the clients correct samples while executing prototypes (Textile Design, 2010).

“Upholstery” according to the Columbia Encyclopaedia (2010) is a general term used to describe household fittings, hangings, curtains, cushions and covers. It also refers to stuffed, padded and spring-cushioned furniture, such as chairs and sofas, or to the usually decorative materials and fabrics that cover them.

Maxin (2010) explains that, in textile upholstery, fabrics, plastics, leather and synthetic leather serve as furniture coverings. The appearance of upholstery fabrics is the most visible indication of fashion and quality, and nothing has a great effect on the look of upholstered furniture than the fabric designs. Moreover, upholstery fabrics need to be attractive and also make the furniture comfortable and durable.

A pre-study conducted by the researcher proves that, plastic, synthetic leather, leather and machine-woven fabric designs have flooded furniture upholstery in Ghanaian homes and offices. These woven fabrics are produced with designs under foreign influence which lack the creativity and meaning of Ghanaian identity. Some of these fabric designs from the researcher’s point of view can be created with handwoven skills locally to serve the same purpose of furniture decoration.

Albers (1974) adds that, with only a few exceptions all fabric constructions are elaborations or combinations of the basic weaves. With reference to Albers’ statement, the researcher is of the view that, some upholstery fabric designs can be hand-woven locally with the broadloom to suit furniture decoration. In spite of the fact that the broadloom has a limitation of four shafts, there are possibilities of exploring different weave structures within the construction of a particular fabric design. Again, there are certain unique weave and colour effects that can be achieved

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In view of this, the project seeks to design and produce weave structures using the broadloom with the aim of discovering innovative upholstery fabric designs and to encourage the use of locally made upholstery fabrics.

1.2 Statement of the Problem A survey on upholstery market by the researcher reveals that, hand-woven fabrics have not been exploited in furniture upholstery. Although hand-woven fabrics have been used for table covers, rugs and other textile purposes, their applications in upholstery furniture coverings are limited because of developments and complexities in modern woven upholstery fabric designs.

Woven upholstery fabrics structures whether simple or complicated, are produced with dobby or jacquard looms which are usually controlled by CAM systems. The majority of commercial fabrics are woven on computer controlled Jacquard looms. Wiley (2008) confirms that, in the past, simpler fabrics were woven on dobby looms and the Jacquard looms were reserved for more complex patterns, but as computer controlled Jacquard looms have become more popular it is more economical for mills to weave all fabrics on Jacquard looms so that one setup may be used for all designs.

The utilisation of computer controlled looms for single setup woven designs relatively produces similar fabric designs with insignificant differences with regards to design individuality and novelty. Moreover, Atwater (1924) attests that, handwoven fabrics on the other hand have design individuality and charm – they wear

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woven materials.

Although machine-woven upholstery fabric designs for furniture coverings are justified, preliminary studies and observations indicate that, innovative and customised upholstery fabric designs can be woven with the broadloom to give symbolic meanings and identity to furniture. Again, it is believed that, as the knowledge of hand-weaving is extended, there will be an increasing demand for handwoven textiles. This set the platform for the study to produce innovative woven upholstery fabric designs on the broadloom mainly for local consumption.

1.3 Objectives of the study

1. To identify yarns and weave structures that are suitable for hand-woven upholstery fabrics.

2. To produce woven samples with identified yarns and structures for upholstery fabric designs using the broadloom.

3. To assess the suitability of the woven samples for local upholstery designs.

1.4 Research Questions

1. Which type of yarns and weave structures can be exploited for upholstery fabric production?

2. What are the possibilities of employing the Broadloom in weaving innovative upholstery fabric designs?

3. What intrinsic/extrinsic qualities or properties justify the woven samples for upholstery application?

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In woven upholstery, some fabrics are woven manually or mechanically. The project concentrates only on hand-woven upholstery fabric designs. Even though there eight-shaft broadlooms, the study utilises a four-shaft broadloom because of availability and accessibility. Again, it is limited to weaves possibly constructed with a four-shaft loom.

Although the research intends to produce hand-woven upholstery fabric designs, the objective is not for mass production but for individuals who have understanding, preference and taste for hand-woven fabrics.

1.6 Limitations A major constraint of the study was the acquisition of suitable yarns for the upholstery fabrics. A preliminary study conducted on the textile market confirms that, the imported yarns are purposely for sewing / tailoring or embroidery and not for weaving. As a result, the researcher had difficulties in selecting suitable upholstery yarns from the available yarns on the textile market. However, the suitable yarns used for the study were given by technician. These yarns were acquired from the textile section’s store room for the study.

Again, there were challenges on primary sources of data as most resource persons interviewed by the researcher were not willing to give detailed information and did not have in-depth knowledge on the subject. This, the researcher believes, was due to lack of education on the part of the upholstery merchandisers and furniture producers. This posed a great challenge during the analyses and interpretation of the data.

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• Innovation: It is the introduction of something new or a new idea, method or device. However, an innovation can be big or small. Brand-new or just a little different, it doesn’t matter. An innovation can be clearly complex or seemingly simple. Innovations are often thought of in terms of technical achievement, but can also be a design (Webster, 2006).

• Woven fabric: It is composed of two basic series of yarn: warp and filling.

Weaving is the interlacing of these two yarns to form a fabric; the specific manner in which the two sets of yarns interlaced determines the weave (Tortora and Merkel, 2005).

• Plain Check: It is a weave and colour effect fabric characterised by patterns woven with squares or rectangles in one up, one down order of interlacing (Tortora and Merkel, 2005).

• Upholstery fabrics: They are defined as any fabric used as upholstery, e.g., to cover furniture. It is made in a great variety of fibres including cotton, linen, silk, wool, manufactured fibres and blends (Tortora and Merkel, 2005).

• Hand-weaving: It is defined as the art or technique of weaving on a handloom. It is also referred to the fabric produced by hand-weaving (dictionary.infoplease.com).

• Design Weave: It is an arrangement of form, colours or both in patterns as ornamentation produced by interlacing yarns in weaving (Tortora and Merkel, 2005).

1.8 Abbreviations Used

• CAM: Computer-aided Manufacturing

• A.D: Archaeology Dictionary

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The production of upholstery fabric designs with broadloom unearths the artistic and creative knowledge of hand-weaving. Again, it gives symbolic meaning and identity to locally made furniture in the Ghanaian market. Additionally there is an introduction of innovative design structures for industrial upholstery fabric manufacturing which will assist hand-weavers and the nation as a whole.

Spirkin (2011) explains that, the main responsibility of art to society is the formation of a view of the world, a true and large-scale assessment of events, a rational, reasoning orientation of man in the world around him, a true assessment of his own self. But why does art have this function; because in its great production it is not only consummately artistic but also profoundly philosophical.

The philosophical importance of the study is therefore to change the perceptions of hand-woven fabrics, the limitations of the handloom and to encourage the attitude of explorations into the various traditional art practices.

1.10 Arrangement of the Rest of Text Chapter two is the review of related literature which looks at the theoretical and conceptual framework of the study by authorities and researchers in the field of practice.

Chapter three defines the research methodology which discusses the research design and explains the data acquisition methods employed by the researcher to access information for the final project.

Chapter four concentrates on the tools, the materials, the equipment used in the study. It further outlines and explains the various preparation processes and the description of producing the innovative upholstery fabric design samples.

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design samples as well as the findings collected from the field research during the study. It further explains the artist statement about the researcher’s art of weaving.

Chapter six takes a final look at the project on summary, conclusion and recommendations. The researcher shares experiences and understanding derived from the project and how it will benefit the field of study and the general public at large.

The project is completed with the list of references and appendices.

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2.0 Overview This chapter reviews the theoretical and conceptual framework of the study by authorities and researchers in the field of practice. Again, it gives an account of what has been published on the topic by accredited scholars and researchers.

2.1 Design The word “Design” is employed in almost all disciplines of art. Its use can have a perspective meaning depending on the conceptual application of the word. A design can be defined as a “plan within a work of art” but this definition is seemingly basic to the art world including textiles. However, the term is reviewed from other authors to understand its conceptual applications.

According to Seymour (2002) design could be viewed as an activity that translates an idea into blue print for something useful, whether it is graphical, textiles, ceramics, service or process. The most important part of designing is translation of idea. A design doesn’t have to be new, different or impressive to be successful in the market field, as long as it is fulfilling a need, but design methods do lead to innovative products and services.

Broadly stated, design is the art of creation. More technically speaking, design is the conscious, deliberate process by which elements, components, potentials, and tendencies just to mention a few are intentionally arranged in the space-time continuum in order to achieve a desired result. In its fullest, most potent expression, design is the imagining and bringing forth of new worlds or ideas (Mare, 2009).

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thought that leads to a deeper sense of knowing, often in the apparent absence of rational confirmation. Intuition is akin to an elongated insight that tells us we are on to something. It is the hunch that often underlies our efforts to perform rational analysis.

It also involves reason, that fully conscious form of thought that assesses the problem and analyzes the possibilities for solution. It is the analytical process that relies on method and mathematics to assess, refine, and verify its various hypotheses.

Design, on the other hand, can be a conscious effort to create something that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. For example, a graphic artist may design an advertisement poster. This person's job is to communicate the advertisement message (functional aspect) and to make it look good (aesthetically pleasing). It further explains that, design is often viewed as a more rigorous form of art, or art with a clearly defined purpose (Design and Art, 2009).

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