Shortlist just announced for 2016 Arts Foundation Materials Innovation award

  • Rachel Freire, Carmen Hijosa, Laura Morgan and Silo Studios shortlisted for the Arts Foundation Materials Innovation Award supported by The Clothworkers' Foundation. From pineapple leaf 'leather' and textile-moulded glass, to E-gloves and laser-enhanced wool, the expressions of craft, material and technology put forward this year have formed an outstanding shortlist for this £10,000 Award..

    The four were chosen from a longlist of artists, makers and designers working in this field by judges Joao Wilbertword, Lead Creative Technologist at Google Creative Labs; Dr Richard Johnston, Senior Lecturer in the Materials Research Centre, Swansea University; Scarlet Oliver, Designer and Representative from The Clothworkers' Foundation and Kay Politowicz, Professor Emeritus of Textile Design at Chelsea College of Art who was impressed both by the contemporary issues raised about materiality and their concern for social engagement in their material-led innovation.

    Rachel Freire’s Open Source work on the development of interactive musical gloves – a project she worked on initially with Imogen Heap (pictured above) – brought her to the attention of the judges as did Carmen Hijosa’s new material ‘Pinatex’, a natural, sustainable non-woven textile made from the waste of the pineapple harvest. Is this the new replacement for leather that we’ve been waiting for? Laura Morgan’s clever advances using laser technology on textiles are meanwhile proving essential in reducing dye and water consumption needed in their treatment, while the team at Silo Studios have used textile moulds to create a stronger and more durable polystyrene, bringing craft and technology together and questioning what ‘materiality’ really is. For bios on all artists go to

    The award supported by The Clothworkers’ Foundation was set up to identify where the current shoots of enterprise are coming from in the UK, reflecting and encouraging new ways of thinking. It accepts nominations from artists, designers and makers who are involved in materials innovation at any stage of the lifecycle. 2016 marks the third year of this important award – with Julia Lohmann (2014) and Sarat Babu (2015) being previous recipients.