MDes Fashion & Textiles School of Design

Jodie Barnacle-Best (She/Her)

Specialising in knitwear design, I am a recent graduate from the master’s Fashion and Textiles programme at the Glasgow School of Art. Crafting unusual conceptual ideas heavily intertwined with honest personal experiences is central to my knitwear practice. Alongside this, a care for both community and environment prompts a knitwear practice focused on versatile, quality pieces and educating and connecting with the wearer.

Themes of emotional and human connection are key within my work and it is this desire to design the experience of dressing as well as the aesthetic look of clothing which drives my work.

Alongside my creative knitwear practice, I am involved in supporting and developing the creative sector in Scotland through my role on the Craft Scotland advisory board, a project advisor on the ‘Rethinking the GSA’ project and a creative associate at The Stove in Dumfries. These roles are important to my practice as a knitwear designer as I develop interactive and open-source elements within my projects, relying on an ability to understand and engage with people and facilitate spaces for creative involvement. Building localised connections and developing an equitable, sustainable and community-based context for my work also allows for meaningful sourcing of yarns and knit manufacturing – both areas I have actively championed in my master’s collection.

As a knitwear designer, I am confident and competent with a range of technical knit equipment (my master’s collection including domestic, dubied and digital knits alongside each other). I have extensive experience -and particularly enjoy- project conception and exhaustive design research processes through a personal lens. While colour, yarn and stitch choices are undoubtedly essential skills as a knitwear designer, underpinning work with a thorough understanding of supply chains and the importance of a responsible, ethical and people-centred approach to design is what I look forward to continuing within future projects.

‘Small things, nicely done’ final collection
‘Small things, nicely done’ imagery
‘Small things, nicely done’ samples
Photo by Rachel Shnapp.

‘Small things, nicely done’ final collection

‘Small things, nicely done’ is an interactive knitwear project exploring the celebration of the small moments of joy and visual interest found in the ‘everyday’. Seeking inspiration from a series of film photos taken during lockdown in January 2021 and a poem, orally recited on Instagram by Elizabeth Gilbert, ‘Small things, nicely done’ elevates mundane characteristics of ordinary life.

Focusing on visuals of creasing, disruptions and distortions (whether that through clothing, food packaging or cracked pavements) the project shows the possibilities of finding little flickers of joy, hope or simply intrigue everywhere…if only you take the time to look. The project and its surrounding research do not attempt to suggest these are grand moments of joy and happiness but rather a positive reframing of our everyday, particularly at a time where the usual bigger joys of life have been put on pause.

While much of the knit patterning and textile development is explored through the representation of creases, the relationship between the mundane and the elaborate is further expanded through references to children’s fancy dress. The lack of self-consciousness and self-censoring involved in children’s fancy dress (an elaborate, joy provoking activity contained within a mundane environment) is represented in the collection’s big, playful skirts and oversized t-shirt.

This child-like, unregulated expression of self is brought to adults through the knitted panels -which make up the collection- that can be tied, clipped and threaded together in whatever way the wearer sees fit. Just as children manipulate and experiment with the purpose of fancy dress items (as an adult blouse becomes a dress and a dress becomes a trailing ball gown), ‘Small things, nicely done’ gives wearer’s autonomy over the formation of their garment, allowing freedom in how this is done and then worn.

Through a collection centred on knitted panels connected by the wearer, ‘Small things, nicely done’ encompasses open-source design and communal making, encouraging emotional attachment and facilitating a space in which the wearer is an active participant in the assembly of their clothing. The project recognises and revels in the mundane, facilitating a space for everyday celebration and transformation as you get dressed.


Final collection photoshoot credits:

Shot by Rachel Shnapp, modelled by Shanine Gallagher and Rebs Moore, creatively assisted by Katie Ross and Mairi Paterson.

With thanks to Hilary Jane Keyes for producing the digital knits.

Shot at Box Hub, Glasgow.

‘Small things, nicely done’ imagery

‘Within your own small world, finding things that you can do that might not seem important or epic to the outside world but when you do them you get this little, tiny, quiet, private burst of great satisfaction. And that if you can fill your life with small things nicely done one after the other after the other, you can have a really nice life’. – Elizabeth Gilbert.

January 2021 film photo research

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