Armed with my sketchbook, pens and Caran d’Ache, I wasn’t exactly sure what I’d be drawing at Julian Roberts Subtraction Cutting demonstration.
Arriving at The Assembly Rooms on a gloriously sunny Sunday morning with the Abbey bells ringing through the city, I found a seat in the Georgian Ballroom where a row of mannequins displayed the prototypes made the previous day at Julian Roberts’ Masterclass.
I wondered at the patterns laid out on the platform. They were like nothing I’d ever seen. My mother was a skillful pattern cutter who became a children’s dress designer, and although growing up I thought I wanted to be a costume designer, it was the idea of pattern cutting that put me off.
So hearing Julian Roberts talk about his invented method of cutting out the negative space of the fabric sounded positively revolutionary. I even had a slight ‘if only’ moment, hearing that he’d failed GCSE maths (snap) but was teaching non-mathematics based pattern cutting.
After a formal and rigorous training in pattern cutting, Julian had a ‘eureka moment’ in 1998 and came up with ‘the tunnel technique’ which he has been demonstrating all over the world.
This method of pattern cutting also means that there is zero waste, with the ‘debris’ being used for other garments.
Julian’s work has a collaborative aspect; rather than greedily guarding techniques, the sharing of methods can feed back into your own work, and also forces you to keep coming up with fresh ideas.
Clearly a man with shedloads of energy, it’s a very calm sort of enthusiasm that he conveys.
Julian designs under the label Julianand as well as lecturing at the RCA and other universities. What an interesting and thoroughly decent bloke.