The new book “Interwoven – Exploring Materials and Structures” by Aalto University’s Professor makes gigantic effort in the manifold history of textiles


The new book “Interwoven – Exploring Materials and Structures” by Adjunct Professor Maarit Salolainen is a thorough overview on the pedagogy in fashion, clothing and textiles teaching at Aalto University. It takes the reader through the historical development of textiles industry to the future of textiles.

“Interwoven – Exploring Materials and Structures” by Maarit Salolainen (Aalto ARTS Books, 2022) makes a gigantic effort in outlining how the manifold history of textiles has been intertwined with human innovation from prehistoric twining to the invention of the binary code, through to today’s new material discoveries and urgent quest for sustainability. The book also covers articles by textile design teachers Maija Fagerlund and Anna-Mari Leppisaari.

‘I wanted to make a book on fibers, yarns, structures of the textiles and the pedagogy of Aalto in teaching textile design. There had been no such book done, and now I know why – it was a challenge!’, laughs Maarit Salolainen, Adjunct Professor of textile design and director of the Fashion, Clothing and Textiles (FaCT) Master’s programme at Aalto University.

Salolainen says her core message throughout the book is that one has to know how to use techniques and be creative with them – and to see into the future.

The majestic book guides the reader into textile materials and structures, and further to woven fabrics, advancing to jacquards, textile finishes and applications. It introduces the process of design and visual research, as well as principals of collection design.

“Interwoven” discusses the ways in which textile making, throughout history, has catalysed and changed human thinking. It tells the history of textile industry from its beginning to modern times and beyond, envisioning the future potential.

Salolainen believes the book will be of interest to designers and design collaborators alike. It also aims to add to the international debate of design pedagogy on designing as learning.

Introducing the ‘textile thinking’ method

The new pedagogical method introduced in “Interwoven”, is a tool for woven design teaching, which helps creating a multi-disciplinary learning environment. The method guides towards professional textile design practices and processes, renewing the way in which textile design has been taught. It also helps open up the essence of techniques as well as craft and design practices. The pedagogical model can be applied to other teaching as well.

The book is grounded in design pedagogy and the principles of learning design by doing. It interweaves technical knowledge, artistic expression and storytelling, which makes it a unique guide on the path to mastering textile design. What is important, it includes the creative aspects of textile design. Emphasis is placed on experimentation and tips given on how to do this, without forgetting the importance of mastering technical skills all the way up to computer-aided design.

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