Field this year has been an incredible experience, as I have had the chance to travel to both Rajasthan and Morocco. Picking to go on these trips is definitely one of the best decisions I have made, as they have taught me so much about myself as a designer and so many new ways to work in my subject area of Textiles. I still feel so lucky to have been given this opportunity, especially as in India we spent so much time visiting print workshops to see the processes behind the fabrics being made to getting to have ago at block printing in the Anokhi museum. Pretty much everything we did related back to Textiles and I have been so influenced by so many different aspects of the trip. From traditional prints, different print and dye processes used, architecture, to environment factors. Since returning I decided to base my dissertation around traditional processes and prints and how they have changed over time during industrialisation for a modern market. Prior to this trip I was absolutely clueless about what to base it around, and I am just so happy that I have found an area that I am passionate about, will be for years to come.
The Morocco trip as also been a excellent inspiration for my textiles work, as whilst we were away I had the opportunity to see craftspeople working in the souks, making items by hand and on basic machines. It has really made me realise how much we depend on technology in the west, and it’s so sad that traditional hand crafts aren’t being used as much. This had most definitely inspired me to make the most of our screen printing facilities, to become very familiar with different methods. I like usually digital methods, however I feel as if they need to be enhanced through the use of stitch or specialist printing methods like flock or foil. I am really looking forward to furthering the different techniques that I gave learn throughout the year in both of my field modules, onto next years final projects. During the summer I want to get better at block and lino cutting, painting and hand embroidery, as I feel like these hand done techniques can really enhance my work to give a bit more texture, as well as skill.
Overall I have really enjoyed subject this year and I feel as if I have a learnt a lot about new printing and stitch techniques, to good professional practise skills to most importantly learning a lot and about myself. Our ‘Making Connections’ project has been a great opportunity to see what it would be like designing for a existing company and what it’s like to design to the companies way. This will hopefully have prepared us ready for our live consultancy project at the start of 3rd year.
First term was definitely a step up from the end of 1st term as we were, given the brief to research into stationery, fashion and interiors to choose our favourite. We then had to choose a client company to work for, to prepare us for a design jobs outside of university. I really enjoyed the whole research side to part 1 from finding a trend on WGSN to design for, to then looking at our competitors and cliental. Being given the task to create 4 professional mood boards was also great, as I have not put together a proper mood board since my foundation year. Spending the time researching competitors and our potential cliental has been so beneficial especially for next year and I feel that my research skills will hopefully only improve. My chosen client company was Caitlin Wilson Textiles ran by an American textile designer, who set up her own company aimed at the interiors market. Writing our own brief was a bit of a task as I am used to being given a project title or template, however in the end I really enjoyed the freedom of deciding what I’d like to do. I suppose that this is a bit of an insight into what being a self employed designer might be like.
Returning back to the part 2 of the project and my brief in February was a bit daunting to begin. After spending 10 weeks in total on field and 4 weeks away over the Christmas holiday, I was overwhelmed especially after reading the ‘Making Connections’ brief to see what was expected of us over during part 2. However after spending a bit of time familiarising myself I got straight back into the swing of things again. Having the opportunity to use both the stitch and print workshops has been great, as I haven’t felt that I can’t swap between the two as and when I’d like. Being given the task of creating a collection of 12 samples including print, stitch and digital again was daunting as I have been used to only creating a few designs that link together and not a solid collection. Nonetheless as the weeks went by and with regular tutorials I managed to stay up to date with my work. By the end of the part 2 I’d say that I was relatively happy with my collection, however I personally felt that there was areas that definitely in my eyes needed improvement during part 3. Especially with different printing techniques not being available to use towards the end of the term.
To begin part 3 after the Easter holidays we had our formative feedback tutorials, to not only see what grade we are currently working towards, but what we needed to improve on over the final term ready for our final summative feedback and exhibition. Overall I was really surprised with my feedback as I did better than I expected, however I talked through with Sally as to what areas I would add and develop to. After a week or so back we were then starting the Buddy System with the 3rd years. After initially being very unsure about the system, I was pleasantly surprised to have really enjoyed the 2 weeks. My buddy Clojo was just so lovely and a real pleasure to work along side. I most definitely feel as if I am in a better position for next year’s final project as seeing the 3rd years work has made me decided what exhibition layouts I do and don’t like. Along with what methods of presenting my work I really like. Once the Buddy System was over I then began to focus my time back to subject and my feedback comments to work on different aspects that needed improvement.
Once the buddy system ended I went straight back to my subject collection, to look at my formative feedback to see what areas I needed to work on. With the amount of time left before our deadline, I decided just to redesign the whole collection using my original motifs by playing with colour, scale and different layout options. I am feeling so much better about my final 12 designs now, as I feel hat they work more collaboratively together unlike before. I have learnt so much about what to and not to do when designing a collection, and feel so much more confident about creating our large final collection for next year. My plan over the summer is to continue drawing and designing to not loose vital photoshop and illustrator skills ready for next year.
RETURN TO SUBJECT PROJECT WORK – 12.05.2016
After spending my time focused on my 2 field modules and the buddy system, I have now began to start looking at my work to improve certain areas. During my tutorial with Sally, I made a list of things to improve on including:
- Learning how to do a CAD Visual properly and find a interior scene that I can photoshop my designs onto.
- Completing 2 professional standard hand-rendered Croquis’.
- Further 3 of my final designs in the workshops (Add stitch, foil. Maybe create a border design? Have an experiment with using one of my paler colours, to then enhance using a bold colour?)
To begin my project revisit I have spent a bit of time looking back at my original interior inspirations, along with looking back at my chosen company Caitlin Wilson Textiles. When looking back at my final collection, I don’t feel as if I have followed her style of design as much as I could have. I think I need to simplify some of my motifs that I have used in order to then create some more creative layouts.
ARTIST RESEARCH – 14.05.2016
After spending time deciding what I’d like to improve on, I have started off by doing some more artist research in order to see different layout options that I could use to improve my current collection of prints. The image below is called ‘Retro Garden Wall’ by Lucy Elizabeth. I really love how illustrative and how simple the design is, however it looks to full and vibrant. As soon as I saw this image I thought up different ideas as to how to could achieve the same kind of feel. I really like the idea of creating my own version similar in style mixing both my architecture drawings along side the iconic dutch tulips.
Another image that I have found inspiring hows a textile collection by Orla Kiely. As you can see from the image below, it shows a collection of work showing complimentary and contrasting prints and how they can be worked on to sit well together. When we were initially faced with the task of designing 12 designs for our collection, I was overwhelmed as I just didn’t want them all to look too familiar. Over the next few weeks I really need to work on my complimentary designs to create something that would work well with my bright prints.
COLLECTION RE-DESIGN #1 – 19.05.2016
After completing some more artist research over the last few days, I have now began to re-design my existing collection. Even at our initial hand in I really wasn’t happy with my final 12 designs, so I have spent sometime redesigning my previous prints to create a collection that is more in keeping with my WSGN Off Beat theme, along with my chosen company Caitlin Wilson Designs. Below is a montage of my 2 styles to follow on the left to my illustration progression to date on the right. Over the next few days I am hoping to continue working on my collection, whilst finishing off parts of my two field modules.
COLLECTION RE-DEISGN #2 – 20.05.2016
After starting my redesign a few days ago, I have finally finalised my 12 designs which I will be resubmitting for subject part 3. As you can see from my old collection below I have kept my motifs mostly the same, only making changes to scale, colour and layout. My feedback from last term suggested that I made changes to a few of my designs and enhance with foil to add a fun edge, which is also used by my chosen company.
CAD VISUALS #1 – 22.05.2016
After a terrible attempt at CAD Visuals last term, I am determined to get to grips with how to create a successful CAD. Below are some photographs from my experiment, I am happy with the photoshops that I have learnt through the progress. However I am not happy with the standard as my patterns look very bright and pixelated. A few of the Textiles girls have posted good online CAD tutorials which I am planning on watching before having another.
CAD VISUALS #2 – 23.05.2016
After spending a great deal of time playing around on photoshop I am actually really happy with my CAD Visuals that I have achieved, especially having no idea how to do it a few days ago. The image on the top right is what I started off doing this morning, however the colours just stand out too much and my designs aren’t really working well with the interior. I am actually really happy with the image on the left, as I have managed to overlay my prints over the sofa really well without the colour looking to bold. I am planning on using it as my final CAD Visual to be mounted and exhibited with my collection. Having learnt so much over the last couple of days, I really hope that I can continue to use photoshop and illustrator over the summer months to keep up the skills that I have learnt ready for next years projects.
PRINT WORKSHOP #1 – 24.05.2016
After spending time redesigning, I decided that I just wasn’t happy with my final workshop samples. As towards the end of last term, the foils had run out and my screen didn’t expose properly leaving some of my prints with speckles. Tomorrow I am planning on exposing my screen ready to print all of my samples again on Thursday during the Level 5 workshop session.
NEW FINAL 6 DIGITAL DESIGNS – 25.05.2016
Below is a slideshow showing my 6 improved digital designs, as well my 2 alternative colour ways. I am going to get them all printing out in A4 at the print studio on a ‘silk card’, ready to cut down to my 20×20 croquis’ size.
PRINT WORKSHOP #2 – 26.05.2016
Today I have managed to print 4 out of my 6 final fabric samples, which is great only leaving me 2 more to screen print tomorrow. Unfortunately 2 of my designs didn’t expose well, with the lines being too thin, however this afternoon I managed to strip, re-coat and expose my screen ready to print tomorrow. My original plan was to use gold foils, but unfortunately the gold had ran out so I’ve had to go with silver. Although the silver works just as well as the gold would have. My plan tomorrow after printing my 2 final patterns is to cut all of my samples down to 20x20cm’ ready to add headers and labels. I would also like to get a large chunk of sewing done for my Rajasthan field module.
PRINT WORKSHOP #3 – 27.05.2016
Today I have finally finished my my 6 samples, after reprinting them all. I am overall all happier with the way they have turned out and are most definitely an improvement on my original samples. Below are a few photographs from my print session today, along with a photograph showing my 6 final samples before I trim and add headers to them this afternoon.
OVERLOCKING, HEADERS & LABELS – 29.05.2016
Over the last day I have spent a great deal of time, cutting, overlocking and labelling all of my work ready for Tuesday’s deadline. After working with the 3rd years, I have learnt so much about professional practise and how to present my work to make it look as good as it possibly can. For example last year I just used magic tape and pinking sheers to trim my fabric samples. However this year I have gone with a overlocked finish with stitched headers like the 3rd years have. Unlike last year I have also digitally printed out my labels for my final collection, really finishing off the collection to a higher standard.
With the deadline fast approaching, I have spent a bit of time looking through all of my work to date to look for areas that need improvement and adding to. Below’s images show my current to do list of tasks that I need to complete over the next couple of weeks. Luckily I have stayed up to date with my blogs / sketchbooks for each area so my only aims now are to get on with the making of each outcome. After spending the majority of the week working from home, I am really looking forward to getting back into the studios next week to get going with my outcomes. At the moment I am feeling quite relaxed and I really hope that this will continue as long as I stick to my weekly tasks.
This afternoon we had our 2nd dye garden meeting to see the allocated space and to generate initial ideas to work on over the next month. As the last few weeks have been pretty hectic, it’s been great to be refreshed with the natural dye garden workshop and it’s plans. We spent the first part of the afternoon split into 3 groups to come up with different plans for the garden, from:
- Ideas of how to generate more money, through applying for grants
- How to promote the garden across the university and in the surrounding area
- Initial raised planter ideas – using recycled projects to make up example raised beds.
- What skills we can all bring to the project
Once we had finished writing down our ideas in groups, we then all had the chance to share and discuss our different ideas to create a list of our most favourite. We then created a rough plan of what we want to achieve before our next meeting in a months time, where we hope to be at the position to make our first part of the garden.
The second part of the afternoon was dedicated guest speaker Lucille Junkere a textile artist, who is passionate about Indigo dyeing. Over the years she has been on research trips and been an artist in residence, as well as practising artist. During the talk Lucille spent a great deal of time discussing her practise and the different opportunities that have arisen from applying for grants.
One of her key projects that she told us about the time she spent in Barbados working with a community college to create a natural dye garden for indigo plants. She told us all about the history of indigo dyeing and plant growing and it’s effect on the area. Her talk was so interesting and inspired me to want to know more about not only different dye processes but also the origins and history over time.
Over the last few weeks I have thought about making an Instagram account and finally decided to make one last night. I really like the idea of being able to showcase my work to different people online from friends to fellow designers in the industry. I want to use the account as a personal diary documenting my time from the end of 2nd year, through the summer and then onto 3rd year. I quickly created the logo on illustrator by live image tracing a drawing of mine from my India sketchbook. I will use this logo for a while until I come up with a more permanent brand image for myself.
Tuesday 3rd / Wednesday 4th – After a busy week last week sorting out Clojo’s exhibition space, this week has been pretty relaxed. Last week we got the main bulk of the work done, with only a few tasks to complete this week. From sticking the information stickers on the back of the headers, to straightening the frames, to finally helping with small decorative tasks. Clojo has been so relaxed over the last few days which has been so nice and it’s the position that I’d like to be in next year. This week I have really began to think about what I want in my exhibition space. The studio is full of different rails, hangers and headers and over the next few days I’d like to find the right ones for me. After speaking to different 3rd years I am hoping to create a list of different suppliers that they have used. My plan is to hopefully start to buy stuff for my exhibition throughout the year to keep the final end cost to a minimum at the end. So that I’m not spending out at once, especially if I want to go new designers.
Thursday 5th – After a calm morning of just sorting bits and bobs out and thinking Clojo’s exhibition was complete, we spent the afternoon waiting for Keireine and Helen to come round and discuss Clojo’s show. Turned out they had a proposition for Clojo, which was the opportunity to move her show to the large wall on the outside of the 3rd year studio in the heart space. After a bit of discussion Clojo decided to take the opportunity, which is amazing! We then began to look at the new wall and condition and began to clean it off with hot soapy water ready to meet and begin setting up in the morning.
Friday 6th – Yesterday we agreed to meet Steve at 9am, so that we could help us decide the new layout and positioning of the frames. After a lot of measuring we managed to get the frames as perfect as we could, the whole exhibition looks so much better in it’s new position and really showcases the work better. I can’t imagine it fitting back into the original space now. I have really enjoyed the last 2 weeks working with Clojo and think that it has been a great experience. Just having the chance to be apart of the process this year, will hopefully make next year that bit easier. The buddy system is great, but I think is only really successful if you put effort into it, the more you put in the bigger the rewards. I really hope that next year I am paired with a Buddy, who has the same ideals as me and wants to get involved. The buddy pairing has also most importantly has allowed me to get to know not only my buddy, but other 3rd years that I will hopefully be able to stay in contact with.