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Into the fold

Folding structures, diagrammatic design and ancient pleating techniques are processes I have been exploring for some time.

The textiles developed for Souvenirs Entomologiques, and in particular the rusted tubular pleat, opened up to me the sculptural qualities of cloth and materials. And I haven’t stopped folding ever since.

The intricate and rich textural qualities of folds and pleats change material qualities and add a layer of three dimensionality and complexity. They add emotion, surprise and humour, all sensations beyond the expected and predictable.

I have researched and rescued over time ancient patterns and diagrams to make moulds and shape almost any material that falls into my hands. These moulds are entirely made by hand in a variety of materials depending on what substrates they are going to be used for. To this day the moulds still need to be hand made with some existing hidden artisans who keep the craft alive, meticulously pleating the fabrics for the fashion industry.

The largest moulds my studio has produced so far were commissioned by Foglizzo Leather for a collection named Foglizzo Folds. For them I have pleated beautiful nappa in extraordinary colours with the assistance of a small team that helped me to fold 2m long moulds to shape the skins.

As with cooking, heat has a major role in the making and shaping of textiles: once the materials are in the moulds, temperature helps to fix and shape. I have learnt through the various projects that, again like the process of cooking, different materials will require different temperatures, timings and kinds of heat.

Folding is a repetitive, meticulous task and a process that satisfies obsessive natures. The resulting pieces constantly unfold into new and interesting challenges.

Arantza Vilas