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Human designed, physical textile patterns such as lace are familiar in our everyday lives and the historical, geographic and cultural significance of these patterns, and their aesthetic and/or mathematical characteristics, have been extensively investigated and documented. However, their evolutionary potential remains under-theorized. While the digital environment is increasingly used as a design aid in the production of textiles, its potential for exploring the evolutionary possibilities for lace has not been fully investigated. This paper discusses an experimental research art project that explored the evolutionary potential for lace patterns within the digital environment.
Human designed, hand-made domestically produced physical textile patterns such as lace are familiar in our everyday lives. Their historical, geographic and cultural significance, and aesthetic and/or mathematical characteristics, have been extensively investigated and documented. However, their evolutionary potential remains under-theorised and, while the digital environment is increasingly used as a design aid for patterns, the developmental potential of lace in a digital environment has not been fully explored.
Crochet lace patterns are one example of human-designed physical patterns, which have remained largely stable and consistent throughout various societal, economic and geographical transformations (such as the industrial revolution and globalisation). As part of a research project, these patterns were translated into the digital environment where, as data, the patterns became available for manipulation. Digital manipulation of crochet lace patterns offers an opportunity to explore patterns arising from a hybrid aesthetic (that is an amalgam of human design and digital aesthetics) and therefore the potential to examine patterns that might be regarded as expressions of digital culture.
Both Crochet lace patterns and software programming scripts use a form of code (crochet lace pattern instructions and computer programming languages respectively) and a systematic method of construction (that is, the application of a set of rules). Because of these similarities, the digital environment and more particularly computer software programming, is able to contribute to the development of the pattern form. Thus, the research project demonstrates the potential for conventional physical patterns to evolve and produce new pattern forms that both exist in, and are constructed of, the digital environment.