After speaking to a man on the streets who told me I should think about creating something waterproof, compact and warm I have started to think about expanding my project. Initially this project was supposed to be about creating conceptual fabrics that could be used as blankets to make a statement, as well as creating an interiors version that would be used to raise money for the homeless. Now I want to start thinking about the properties of the fabrics that I am using and how I could make more of a conceptual piece that could be practical.
I have come across a few inspirational ideaas whilst resreaching the kind of fabrics I want to use within my samples. Recently in America, Students from Carnegie Mellon University have created wearable, livable shelters. A sleeping bag which converts into a shelter for the homeless. The sleeping bag is light, so it is easy to move from place to place and turns into a tent like structure made of fabrics that are waterproof and breathable along with woollen blankets that act to keep people warm. A brilliant idea for people living on the streets, this is a little far fetched for the project and concept that I am exploring but instead I want to focus on the fabrics that I want to use to create my blankets.
Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez has recently created a new material with waterproof properties called 'ooho', the material is currently being used to contain water but is also waterproof. The idea behind 'ooho' is to be used as an alternative for plastic bottles, a sustainable material made from, calcium chloride solution
another solution made from brown algae extract. The material moves like a plastic bag and almost looks like a waterbomb! This would be an interesting layer as part of my blankets but unfortunately its not available as its only an experimental material...
I will have to use a cotton fabric that I can print on and layer up the blanket. I started thinking about the kind of fabrics that I want to work with for this project and I have started collecting wools and fleece for the warmth element and thinking about layering the fabrics together as the fleece and woollen fabrics are too difficult to print on as their fibres aren't right for using reactive dyes and the print won't work the way that I want them too. I have been thinking about how I could waterproof the top layer of my fabric, or at least create a water resistant layer. I have thought about using clear foil to coat the top of the print in the hope that rain would just roll off, I think that using laminating plastic would make the fabric too thick and it wouldn't move the way the fabric should do, it would become stiff and difficult to carry around, once folded or rolled those creases would be likely to stay in the fabric. I want to try and find a water resistant spray, something like the sprays that they sell in shoe shops to protect shoes. Maybe this would be a good solution? I will have to begin experimenting in the print room...