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College of Human Ecology

K-State professor received honor for textile design that uses technique of 'painting with thread'

Thursday, December 8, 2005

MANHATTAN - With images of faces, swirls of color and 6,000 meters of thread, Kansas State University's Sherry J. Haar won a design award at an international exhibition.

Haar, an associate professor of apparel, textiles and interior design, was given the Excellence in Marketable Textile Design award at the International Textile and Apparel Association annual conference and design exhibition in November.

ATEX Inc., a company that provides educational products to the apparel and textiles field, sponsored the award. The company's founder and president Patty Brown selected the award-winning design and presented the award.

For her design, "Faces," Haar received a certificate, a monetary award and the opportunity to publish her design scholarship in the Clothing and Textiles Research Journal. She also will receive an illustration of her design by Steven Stipelman, an internationally known fashion illustrator.

"Faces" consists of a knitted tank top, tube top and skirt of Haar's original design. The hand-knit tank top sweater, made with novelty yarn purchased locally, emphasizes texture. Strands of yarn were pulled to the exterior surface to create its "hairy" texture. A silk jersey knit tube top was created to prevent exposure under the arms.

The skirt features painted images of faces emerging from swirls of color in analogous violet and blue hues. On top of the painted images, Haar used a technique called free-motion stitching to create a unique effect.

Free-motion stitching is stitching with the sewing machine set to allow the fabric to be moved in any direction, according to Haar. The stitch types included in "Faces" are hatching, meandering, swirling, ogee, leaf and floral patterns and couching.

"It's like painting with thread," Haar said.

The contest gave practitioners of apparel and textile designs the opportunity to showcase their scholarship, Haar said. For her, that meant combining illustration, painting, free-motion stitching and knitting to create wearable art.

"I had been thinking about the faces we share with others," she said. Her work represents the many faces women wear and at times hide.

The exhibition was open to International Textile and Apparel Association members and their students. The jury process was a blind review by two professionals in the field and one association peer. Of the 264 entries submitted, 110 were accepted for exhibition.

This article was posted on Thursday, December 8, 2005, and is filed under Apparel, Textiles, & Interior Design.