Putting the art in fabric architecture

June 1, 2021

A successful work of public art today should not be treated as an object sitting in the environment; rather it should be interpreted as the environment. —James Wines, American artist and architect James Wines is known as a provocative artist who creates building-sized installations that some would say are more architecture than art. Indeed, he …

Mobile exhibition glows with Sattler membrane fabric

From its forests to its flag, the state of Styria fulfills its reputation as the “green heart of Austria.” Now, a glowing green pavilion is helping tell the region’s story.  Examining the past, present and future of Styria, the “Showing Styria” exhibition is presented in three museums in the city of Graz and a mobile …

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Digital revolution transforms fabric structures

May 1, 2021

New software and computer-driven fabrication speed production and improve accuracy. by Bruce N. Wright, FAIA While CNC (computer numerical control) and 3D digitally driven fabrication have been trumpeted in the design and construction press over the past 10 to 15 years, another revolution has been quietly growing within the architectural fabrics industry. Using computer digital …

Scott Sutherland: Ready for anything

In the summer of 2020, Scott Sutherland was elated with record-shattering sales, but he was also in a situation he had never imagined: out of aluminum, out of fabric, out of nearly every component used to make tents. The pandemic roller coaster had sent the event tent industry from a bust to a boom, with …

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Fabricators pivot, persevere and prosper

April 1, 2021

COVID-19 made an abrupt entrance in 2020, catching almost everyone off guard. It quickly became clear that waiting it out wasn’t an option for most businesses. Many pivoted, looked for opportunities and took calculated risks to keep their employees working and the bottom line healthy during what has proved to be a challenging, unpredictable and, …

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A ‘mixed bag’ for U.S. textile manufacturing

The year 2020 was not a particularly good period to assess the health of the U.S. textile manufacturing industry—or, for that matter, many other types of industries. But industry participants report that the optimism manufacturers felt at the beginning of the year was still there at the end, despite the havoc wreaked by the pandemic.  …

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The textile industry finds a path forward

by Pamela Mills-Senn California was the first U.S. state to issue a statewide stay-at-home order because of the spreading pandemic, and with that decision, Jonathan Palmer, CEO of Grass Valley, Calif.-based Autometrix Inc., became one of many business leaders navigating a company through uncharted waters.  “We had several customers who were waiting for us to …

COVID-19 survey: Labor and supply chain challenges dominate pandemic struggles

More than a year after the declaration of a global pandemic, it’s no surprise that a majority of companies in the industrial fabrics industry were negatively affected by the events of 2020. But the struggles were uneven, with some companies pivoting to new markets and others experiencing a positive effect. Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) …

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Managing remote workers

March 1, 2021

Ways for both managers and employees to reap the benefits of remote work. by Lin Grensing-Pophal In 2020 the world suddenly changed for all of us. Impacted by COVID-19, companies around the country and around the world found themselves forced to consider an option that many had formally eschewed—remote work. While remote work, aka telecommuting, …

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Women on overcoming challenges and bringing innovation to the textile industry

Three noteworthy innovators drive the textile industry forward with imagination, tenacity and expertise.  Innovation and creativity in the world of textiles are always worthy of attention. But because the textile industry—like so many others—has been dominated by men, the contributions of women have often gone unnoticed. Women have always participated in and led the textile …