For my second-year project, I mainly studied the MIAO culture from two perspectives:
The first direction is to explore the relationship between the patterns of the Miao people which are based on nature and geometry. The MIAO are a minority people living in the southwest of China, they are the oldest minority in China and are famous for their batik patterns and technology.
Based on the concept and design of geometric structure at the present stage, I think the method I used to analyze geometric structure in the PFSTA is very effective. However, in the process of learning, I have been constantly thinking about whether I can find the understanding and views of ancient Chinese people on nature and combine them with Chinese philosophical thought and local religious beliefs. This year I am mainly researching the culture and patterns of the MIAO people. They worship nature including animals and plants, and through research, I have learned about ancient legends and myths. Through a large number of geometric structural analysis, it can be found that the patterns created by MIAO (used for fabrics and ornaments) almost all conform to the growth vein of geometric structure. Based on this discovery, I combined and created mythological stories and geometric structures, and analysed the relationship between the common colours of Miao patterns and the five elements of China as well as the symbolic significance of patterns in Miao myths.
The second direction is plant dyeing and MIAO batik : My undergraduate background is in textile and print design, which makes me have a strong interest in pattern and colour design. Secondly, during my postgraduate MA study, I learned how to extract colour from ore for pigment blending. In view of this learning content, I also carried out related investigation and research on traditional printing and dyeing technology as well as extraction. It is found that the extraction of mineral pigments is closely related to the extraction of plant pigments by referring to a large number of materials and literatures, visiting areas with traditional plant dyeing culture in China and conducting experiments independently. In addition, the research on pigment extraction in China has a long history and rich content. A real feeling is that when I am elaborately refining and extracting, the result is far less important than the pleasure of experiencing different extraction methods - the process, is similar to alchemy. Through field research, it is found that China has four traditional printing and dyeing technologies, these are batik, clip dyeing (two blocks of wood, carved with the same pattern are dyed with textiles. After printing and dyeing the pattern is opposite to each other.), tie-dyeing (a pattern is drawn on the textiles with pencil, and then the background colour is retained by sewing and binding. The pattern appears after the stitches are removed), and block printing. Since my second-year project mainly revolves around the culture of the Miao people in China, I went to Guizhou province to learn batik production and applied the techniques I have learned and the traditional patterns of the Miao people with rich geometric structure into my graduate works.
Lanyu is dedicated to the study of Chinese patterns and geometric structures, traditional textile manufacturing techniques and plant dyeing techniques. She has worked at the Beijing Hongdu Garment Co Ltd, China and Harper’s Bazaar Beijing. She has a BA (Hons) degree in Fashion and Textile Design at University of Southampton, Winchester School of Art. She is currently studying for an MA in Traditional Arts at the School of Traditional Arts, The Prince’s Foundation focusing on researching, developing and practicing the traditional arts and crafts. She has developed skills in fashion and textile design as well as traditional arts studies. Her areas of interest include fashion design and textile design, development and promotion of traditional and contemporary art.