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Fereday - Graphemic Synaesthesia
Gwen Fereday, PhD student

PhD in practice, completed in 2019-2020

Gwen Fereday works in the department of Fashion, Jewellery and Textiles. She has worked with textiles since graduating from UCA, and has a studio in London. She has travelled extensively through her work to India, Japan, France, Morocco, Afghanistan and Turkey to visit weavers and dyers, curating an exhibition of ‘telia rumals’ from Andhra Pradesh and gathering information for her book on natural dyes. She has studied textiles from all over the world in museums and private collections, visiting textile mills in the UK, France and Italy, in order to observe current and historical production.

Graphemic Synaesthesia, Colour and Fine Art Textile Production

Earlier in her career Gwen worked as a colour matcher for the Fashion and Textile Industry using her knowledge of historical and contemporary colouring methods and materials to cover a wide range of demands. Gwen has matched colours for Phase Eight, Sabre International, Reiss, C&A, as well as smaller design companies and designer/makers. In the area of textile conservation and restoration she has been asked to match the silk background for a Blenheim Palace tapestry repair and was commissioned to dye all the colours for Nest Rubio’s carpet reproduction series that she transcribed from paintings by Holbein and his contemporaries, piecing the designs together from the original carpets found in museum collections and depiction of carpets in the paintings. Gwen has been asked by a marine archaeologist to test dyestuffs from a Swedish vessel of the East India Company that sank in the 1740s with its cargo intact, and has researched authentic eighteenth century dye recipes. The British Museum Press published her book called ‘Natural Dyes’ in 2003.

Currently Gwen is researching colour and synaesthesia for a PhD, working with grapheme synaesthetes and using her skills as a dyer to reproduce their colour stories.

Her intention is to explore the possibilities of establishing through regular dialogue a clearer idea of what a ‘grapheme synaesthete’ experiences when confronted with text, and reproduce these experiences in a physical material form, using her skills as a weaver and dyer.