We love cotton too!

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Continuing with the fibre theme from last week’s updates here are some bits and pieces of information on cotton that I have come across this week. 

First of all this is a great video showing a little bit of history from the Lancashire cotton mills in the 1940s.  Students might not be aware that the mechanisation of spinning and weaving of cotton fibre began in Britain and spearheaded the industrial revolution and was so important that by the mid 1800s we were responsible for producing half the world’s cotton. Whilst that has all changed the video is worth a watch for a bit of a nostalgic trip back in time to see fabrics being woven, printed and made into posh frocks (to match the commentator’s posh voice!) http://makeitbritish.co.uk/uk-manufacturing-2/lancashire-cotton-mills/

If you are looking for a good research site for students to use on the history, properties and uses of cotton this site is a good one to look at www.cottonusa.co.uk . There are also loads of videos on cotton production on You Tube but to save you time hunting for them try this one which is about 4 minutes long http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBVqPu2v25I&feature=related 

Whilst cotton is biodegradable it has quite a big negative impact on the environment.  This resource is aimed at geography students but is just as relevant to those studying textiles. There is a short video clip on GM cotton as well as links to another video on the impact of the use of pesticides on cotton and things that various designers are doing to combat this. Both clips could lead to some great discussion around the ethics of cotton production http://www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/forteachers/ethical_fashion/geography/what_is_the_impact_of_cotton_on_the_environment.shtml  

On a completely different note there is an exhibition on at the Science museum which might be worth a visit if you are in London over half term. It celebrates everyday objects from the zip, bubble wrap and Post It notes through to the design of the umbrella, tin can and Velcro.  The inventions are presented alongside original sketches and drawings by their inventors, patent specifications and original adverts. If you can’t get to the exhibition (it is on until 6th June) the website is worth a look http://www.hidden-heroes.net/. It is a bit odd to navigate at first but once you get the hang of it is interactive with sounds and lots of interesting quirky facts. 

Finally entering a competition is always a good way of engaging and focusing students. The Soil Association have a t-shirt design competition that is open to anyone with the theme of ‘organics’. Find more information at http://www.soilassociation.org/news/newsstory/articleid/3422/design-a-t-shirt-competition (entry deadline 1st July)


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