Pearson Cooke & Tradgett

“We have so many ideas to test!”

Sarah Pearson Cooke produces hand dyed Shibori textiles and digitally printed fabrics and Matthew Tradgett is a furniture maker. Their collaboration brings together skills of working with wood, veneers, stitch and fabric, to bring their different making processes into dialogue.

This exploration came at a time of transition for these makers following the birth of their baby daughter which underscored their working together: “We have half an hour and then she wakes up!”

Sarah and Matt had worked together before, but the elements of their work were separate. In this project they wanted to develop a dialogue across their combined practice. As they found out, locating shared points of connection across their different approaches to the design process was the challenging part of the process.

Sketching, drawing and modelling became a shared way of communicating ideas. Matt explained:

“One day I was using steam for other work and on my drive home I was thinking ‘ah we could do that with one of these pieces’. I got home and I tried to explain it to Sarah as if she has been working with wood for years. And I realised that I have to draw it out.”

The pair have taken diverse inspiration from the work of Barbara Hepworth and Alexander McQueen; patterns in nature and the sculptural qualities of coral; to the geometry and mathematical sequences associated with Vitruvius and Fibonacci.

Matt and Sarah were drawn to working with an ovoid form. They have explored the qualities of leather, neoprene, constructional ply and veneers. They have steamed, pinched, punched, stitched, stuck, bonded and laser cut.

Sarah and Matt’s journey for Two Make has been experimental: organic shaped forms of materials have been bonded together in layers with threaded connections, pushing the limits of Sarah’s sewing machine working with wood. They have brought wood and thread under tension, brokering different ways in which these materials work in relation to each other.

“I was trying to stitch through the wood veneer. I was rapidly disappointed by that because it was quite brittle. I thought it would be more substantial.”

“Matt had said it wasn’t going to work because the stitches went with the grain and it would split.”

“So we might need to make a laminate and make our own plywood so it can withstand stitching.”

“Or start punching holes to work with thread to stitch through layers”“We have so many ideas to test!”

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