Ann Richards originally trained as a biologist and continues to be intrigued by living things, which provide a source of ideas for her work, particularly in terms of underlying principles of growth and form. Her special interest is in strongly textured and elastic fabrics, whose qualities emerge spontaneously from interactions between the properties of the yarns and the weave structure. Such textiles undergo a surprising transformation from the smooth, flat state they have on the loom, to the crinkled, bubbled or pleated textures that they assume when they have been soaked in water. Her most recent work combines traditional materials, such as silk and wool, with more unconventional yarns, including those containing metal. In the “Steelpleat’ fabric that she has developed for textile jewellery, the energy from high-twist silk gives a naturally resilient pleated texture, while the high metal content gives a temporary `memory’ for additional pleating and shaping. So this ‘hybrid’ mix of textile and metal generates unique qualities that neither material could achieve alone, creating neckpieces and bracelets that are flexible, lightweight and comfortable to wear.