Pins & Threads at London Design Festival


One of the highlights of the London Design Festival wasn't a big name or flashy product, it was a low-key installation from a young design graduate placed in a corner of Tent London. Easy to miss perhaps, but once seen it had people transfixed by its graphic beauty. Debbie Smyth was selected as one of the most promising graduates of 2008 for the Dezeen Talent Zone.


Her installation Pins & Threads uses, as the title suggests, sewing pins and black thread to draw a series of electricity pylons across several canvas panels. The technique transforms ordinary structures — often thought of as ugly blots on the landscape — into beautifully minimal graphic drawings, which are at once 2D and 3D, anchored to their panels but also floating in space.

Debbie Smyth graduated from the West Wales School of Arts this year and describes herself as a constructed textile artist. Her work employs "an array of mechanisms, she folds, collapses, inflates and interlocks her materials to transform two-dimensional lines and planes into three-dimensional shapes and space."

In the Pins & Threads installation there is a clear narrative of ongoing construction, as visibly loose threads are gradually tightened around the pins to create the rigid pylon structures. When the threads are connected magically there seems to be electricity running through them.