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POLLACK approaches textile design from various perspectives, all equally valuable. Inspiration might come from a particular yarn that we want to showcase, a new manufacturing technique or process, a weave structure that we develop on a handloom, a market need. It may even start with a pattern, though, contrary to popular belief, this is not always where a fabric begins.
We then quickly identify parallel concerns - non-aesthetic but no less design-related - such as end use and required performance characteristics, desired price point, etc., and factor them into the equation. This process proceeds in a fairly linear fashion, all the while knowing that every decision we make influences every other decision that came before it, causing us to constantly loop back around adjusting, amending, editing and in some cases starting over. In the end, our three overriding and compelling concerns are innovation, what the fabric looks like and its usability; after all, if design implies utility, can a fabric be considered well designed if it doesn't well serve the purpose for which it was intended, regardless of how innovative it might be?
We strongly believe in the value of drawing with a pencil rather than a mouse. Besides the control it gives over the quality of the line, putting pencil to paper expresses a uniquely personal hand, and the majority of our patterns begin as hand-drawn sketches. We also believe that a well-designed repeat is critically important to the success of a pattern, and it is taken into consideration from the very earliest stages of design, rather than “imposed” by a computer at the end. Whether the repeating unit is meant to be obvious or concealed, we invest a great deal of time and many tricks of the trade in perfecting it. This includes, in almost all of our designs, finessing the repeat at some point with computer assistance.
Design factors that come into play during what is ultimately a problem-solving process are color, texture, luster, fiber content, hand and scale. Although they exist as stand-alone concepts that can be discussed individually, in the fabric they merge and become one, building blocks on which the structure of the fabric is based. While we try to engage the eye as an active muscle rather than a passive receptor, we constantly remind ourselves that the whole cloth is greater than the sum of its parts, that we experience fabric on many levels and with most of our senses. That is the joy in the design process.