Usha Doshi has worked with COS since it launched in the UK in 2007, having spent the previous twenty years teaching pattern-cutting at the Royal College of Art. Her skill in engineering fabric has played a significant part in realizing COS’s reductive but detailed signature style.
Having encouraged her grandchildren to play with fabric, Doshi observed how they cut geometric shapes and effortlessly created intricate folds, drapes and pleats without the use of complex darts, seams, or excessive fabric. In part a manual, in part a concept intended to inspire creativity across all disciplines, Creating with Shapes expands, explores and records the possibilities of this technique in a series of experiments set over seven chapters, each presenting a shape – square, rectangle, triangle, diamond, circle, oval and octagon.
The materials and palette that run through the book are in keeping with COS’s sense of simplicity. A semi-transparent, wax-coated paper wraps an undyed cloth-covered case that echoes the qualities of the calico used to make the toiles inside. The section dividers, punched with the applicable shape, are made from recycled leather. Photographed in black and white so as to give focus to form, the experiments, although often pinned to a mannequin for scale, imply possibility rather than final design and are supported with clear instructional illustrations of the method used.
Photographed in a prescribed sequence, each image is lit incrementally darker than its predecessor, starting with a bright clarity to introduce the principle and the simplest compositions and ending with a more complex set of experiments in different materials that suggest opportunities across the creative spectrum.
Creating with Shapes is the first book published by COS.
Photography: Angela Moore