The ‘The Soft Side of Steel’ project is a research into fabrication processes and a study of material properties. The project transforms an existing material, steel fibres into flexible sheets, which are explored within the traditional fields of textiles and metalwork. The process started from a unconventional and immediate engagement with materials and tools, cumulating in a refined process involving and partnering up with diverse parties within the industry of manufacturing and production.

The project explores alternative processes of making and challenges existing manufacturers in the industry to work in an unconventional way, combining industries in order to innovate. Through this project we explore the question, what if welders would become tailors and instead of producing industrial goods manufacture domestic products.

The aim for this project was to create a series of objects that take advantage of steel and its contradicting states. Through this exploration steel has become soft and warm, and it can be welded to steel that is cold and hard creating a haptic contradiction. Furthermore, through adopting traditional welding techniques, objects can be created entirely through the same material, displaying different performances according to where it is utilised. In addition, the flexible textile can be hardened in defined areas through seam welding in order to create structure, offering a unique quality to both the material and process.

The work is driven from a blacksmith’s perspective with a tailor’s ideology

Studio ilio

Sciaky Electric Welding Machines Ltd. Slough, UK
The Woolly Shepherd Ltd. Taunton, UK

Film by

Music by
Chris Zabriskie