Introduction of the Research
Wearable art is "art composed of materials structured so they can be worn on the body and that exhibit visually exciting design elements and principles" (Bryant & Hoffman, 1994, p. 86). The uniqueness of wearable art is that no two wearable art pieces made by a designer should be alike (Becker, 1978). Wearable artists usually express the artistic intent through the garments without specific users in their mind. Wearable art plays a role as a visible symbol that not only depicts the mood of a designer, but also represents his/her belief, life style, culture, knowledge, and taste to the world. Wearable art, like dress can be a communicative tool among most cultures and communities of people (Damhorst, 1990; Stone, 1962; Kaiser, 1985).
For this study the researcher/designer created a wearable art collection with Western garment silhouettes inspired by Chinese paintings and Chinese philosophies. In preparation to undertake this design research, the researcher/designer tested the feasibility of using Chinese ink as a natural dyestuff and textile painting medium. Three groups of three ensembles (nine pieces total) wearable arts were created using variety of textile surface design techniques such as nuno felting, heat felting, hand beading, tambour embroidery, beads embroidery, and silk painting. A new design process model specific for wearable art design will be proposed based on the design processes of three groups and documentary materials recorded during the design processes by the researcher/designer. Evaluation methods will be examined by collecting and analyzing quantitative and qualitative data to provide a framework for wearable art designers to evaluate the performance of wearable art designs.