The main thrust of Dr. Sparks’ research has been cross-cultural design transposition from traditional Asian sources to contemporary American wearable art.
Asian aesthetic has been the main source of inspiration for the apparel design creative scholarship that has been exhibited in juried international exhibitions.
Design work by Dr. Sparks has combined use of a traditional Japanese technique for pleating fabrics (Shibori) with digital textile printing.
Current work investigates the surface of metallic textiles as they are disrupted in the pleating process.
Designs have been disseminated primarily at the annual juried design competition of the International Textile and Apparel Association.
It has been a priority of Dr. Sparks to be actively engaged in the design process—to practice what she professes in the University classroom.
Dr. Sparks has worked steadily in the design studio conducting creative scholarship, using photo-documentation as the main tool for adding to the knowledge base, the importance of which is to facilitate replication of design techniques now or at some future time when perhaps few will practice hand work.
It may be that the most valued aspect of this studio activity is to be actively engaged in inventing new aesthetic forms or new manifestations of traditional forms which result from the integration of computer-aided-design technology used for printing textiles.