Updated: Oct 7, 2020
My Second Placement was over in Dublin, Ireland, at a Mill called Botany. They specialise in aviation fabrics from seating, curtains to carpets and fireproof surface coverings.
I was added to the fabric design team working on the creation of Jacquard woven fabrics for several airlines and private aircrafts as well as the sampling of their yearly collection to be exhibited at Aircraft Interiors Expo 2020 (cancelled due to Covid-19).
During my first couple of days I was introduced to a new Jacquard design programme (APSO) and although I had some transferable knowledge from ScotWeave, which I learnt at University, it was good to learn a new piece of design software used in industry. Playing and practicing on this programme increased my knowledge of several new weave structures as well as commercial scale and pattern design and sizing.
While I was there, I got the opportunity to weave some length of my own designs created in response to their two key trends for 2020/21 so it was great to apply these skills digitally but then to actually see the physical result soon after was a great experience.
Another role was to assist with colour work. This could be matching customers briefs to pantone shades and then to source yarn shades from the stock room upstairs or we could have received an existing yarn that would need to match from stock or to send an order to the dyers. All these tasks develop an accurate eye for colour as well as a determined work ethic to search through all their several hundred cones of yarn. Once again, this required confidence in my own decisions on which yarns to present back to the designer. I enjoyed being responsible for these choices and was great to see it later in loom and a successful match or happy customer feedback on the decisions.
Throughout the weeks I was taught how to make orders with the dyers and oversaw the creation of several new shades for various different projects. This was great practice in how yarn is ordered from suppliers as well as learning where they are based. I discovered several new companies in the UK that I was previously unaware of. This will prove invaluable when thinking about my final year collection and future jobs to help with keeping companies in the UK manufacturing.
The design team is a well-oiled machine run by several hard-working women which is always inspiring to be a witness to. The team there have given me such a realistic experience of what working in a design team would require and entail day to day. For me, Botany is the perfect balance of working digitally and physically seeing your work woven in-house and having the ability to make adjustments on loom and not being too detached from either processes.
Their innovation and focus on sustainability this year has also been a breath of fresh air, to see a company working in such a polluting industry taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint, adapt the weight and materials of their fabrics and planning more steps so their output can be totally recycled sets a great example for so many mills out there in the commercial textile industry.