Hand-woven and Batiked Textiles and Furniture

Elaine Yan Ling Ng is the designer behind textile design studio, The Fabrick Lab. Her research of traditional textile craft in China’s Guizhou province, has focused on hand-weaving and batik techniques. Out of this project has grown an innovative hand-woven fabric collection that is designed and produced in collaboration with the craftswomen of Guizhou. Elaine has also designed a range of accessories and furniture inspired by this cultural textile heritage.

The Guizhou ethnic minority is well known for the complexity and sophistication of their weaving. The women of Guizhou’s hillside villages traditionally weave with cotton to produce a fabric characterized by a small repeating miao diamond pattern. This fabric is often partnered with elaborate embroidery and metalwork to produce ceremonial costumes that are passed on from one generation to another.

Batik is another famous local product. Locally harvested indigo plant leaves are used to prepare the dye. The patterns are applied to undyed cloth using liquid beeswax or black bean paste. When the cloth is submerged in dye, only the unwaxed parts absorb the colour. Beeswax leaves behind an uncoloured pattern but black bean paste leaves a pattern with a pinkish-hue.

Modernization and the lure of city jobs for the younger generations means that only 10% of the women in these villages have inherited the know-how to maintain this cultural heritage. The aim of UN/FOLD GUIZHOU is to create the opportunity for low volume refined handmade textile production to remain commercially viable and to provide a means to remodel fast-disappearing indigenous craft skills to re-engage with 21st century urban consumers.

“The willingness of indigenous craftspeople to take on new approaches to well-established practices demonstrates an exciting collision between generations of tradition, identity and contemporary fashion in China.”

The Fabrick Lab is a textile design studio and consultancy located in Hong Kong, creating and developing experimental textile surfaces and materials for bespoke luxury environments.

The designer: Elaine Yan Ling Ng is a British Chinese materialologist and a graduate of Central Saint Martins in London where she earned her MA Design in Textile Futures with distinction. She is a TED fellow and is globally recognized with multiple design awards. Her work has been exhibited at the V&A and Science Museums in London, Textiel Museum in Tilburg, Harbour Front Centre in Toronto, Espace EDF Art Foundation in Paris and Wuhao, Beijing, and Moleskine global galleries.  Her art and design research has been widely featured internationally including Wired UK, Elle Decoration China, Surface Asia, AD Italia, AD China and many more.