Rhian Solomon (Materials Innovation, 2015)Skin as Cloth

Rhian Solomon

Shortlisted in 2015 for Materials Innovation

Rhian Solomon trained in Wood, Metals, Plastics and Ceramics at Brighton University and later continued to experiment with materials and processes in the field of printed textiles. Her experience wtih different materials has resulted in her working focus which considers the fundamental aspects of specific materials and how this directly informs and influences methods of design and practice. Her work currently takes inspiration from the ‘materials’ of the human body, creating ‘hybrid design practices’ which bring together the disciplines of pattern cutting and reconstructive and plastic surgery.

Rhian explores the restrictions and capabilities both disciplines have as a result of using the human body, specifically visual and physical use of the skin, as their primary resource. Enabling interdisciplinary production, dialogue and knowledge exchange, sKINship is a pioneering project which has brought surgeons to Saville Row and pattern cutters into the operating theatre. Rhian has discovered that the cross-discplinary interest and shared language which unites both sets of specialists is in their ‘making’ and craftsmanship.

Rhian says that ‘much of the conversation…between surgeons and cutters is based around technical and material considerations and processes’. This results in a productive exchange of knowledge unrestricted by the limitations of disciplinary-specific terminology and has created a forum for experimentation and integration of new knowledge ultimately informing design, implementation and approaches within practice. Her exhibition ‘Skin’ in 2010 at the Welcome Collection asked the question which remains open to consideration; ‘Can we cut our clothing the same way that we cut our skin?’ and vice versa.