TRIP TO CASTELL COCH

‘While resting on ancient foundations, Castell Coch (Red Castle) is relatively modern, the by-product of a vivid Victorian imagination, assisted by untold wealth. The Middle Ages fascinated the Victorians as much as the Victorians fascinate us today. High Gothic was the order of the day.

The ‘eccentric genius’ William Burges was given free rein by his paymaster, John Patrick Crichton-Stuart, the 3rd marquess of Bute, to create a rural retreat to complement the opulence of his main residence, Cardiff Castle. He didn’t hold back. Dazzling ceilings, over-the-top furnishings and furniture were liberally applied’.

Having never been to Castell Coch, I decided that a trip was well in order. My Mum had described how fantastic the interior decoration was, not to mention the incredible attention to detail of observational and stylised floral designs/patterns!!

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Look at how simple yet effective the floral motifs are when amalgamated within a theme. I absolutely adore the patterns and shapes. I have some lino at home, could I have a go at incorporating some of these type of motifs within my own work?

Even these motifs on a fireplace and fabric are incredible!!!! Reminds me of some of my work too. Could I create some ceramic tiles to go with my collection?

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Floral panels!!!!! Look at the exquisite craftsmanship!! The observational studies against a metallic gold backdrop suggests luxury and wealth, something which I have explored within my own work. The colour of each individual flower/leaf has been careful selected to both harmonise and contrast against the gold. Could I create fabric/wallpaper looking at a panel effect? I wonder if this would translate well on a large scale?

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Each panel tells a story. The symbol of the Monkey in Victorian Times was seen as rather offensive, especially some of their habits. The Marquess of Bute ordered some of the murals/panels to be removed/repainted due to the risqué subject mater, after all it was still within the Victorian era. I am just bowled over with the attention to detail, skill and colour. Wow.

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I could not get over the attention to detail of everything……walls, ceilings, panels, furniture, windows, fabrics, wallpapers and paintings.

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Delicate florals carved into the Fireplace. The contrast between this subdued, yet rich colour screams luxury and wealth.

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I am so glad that I took a trip to this amazing ‘castle’. What have I learned from this experience? To keep practicing my drawing, and experimenting with colour!!! It’s amazing how much can inspire when we choose to explore.

FLORAL EVOLUTION

My evolution/progression of trying to bring all my ideas together into one cohesive design collection has been both exciting and extremely stressful. I have had little resistance to constructing new and exciting visuals for my floral designs, but have absolutely hated the digital side…..I still am unable to proficiently translate my ideas into the fantastic world of Photoshop and Illustrator.

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This was done by hand…..and with a lot of patience too!!!!! Lots of printing out an image and manipulating it vertically and horizontally to create a mirror effect. I love the interplay between colour and monotone, but feel the design is a little to graphic. Helen and Sian raised the fact that the floral motifs didn’t sit quite correctly with the stylised rose motifs; floating heads I believe they called it. What could I do to remedy this? Could I permeate the colour outwards into the monotone floral motifs? Would this create a softer and less graphic aesthetic? This is something I will definitely explore.

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Continuing on from my previous design I wanted to create a softer and more fluid description of the greenery of flowers and plants. Believe it or not this design was a mistake!! I was trying to use Brusho to create a pattern from a Vellum Tracing Paper Stencil, which didn’t turn out as successfully as I had hoped. However,  every cloud has a silver lining; a direct transfer of the excess crystal pigment and water from the Vellum Stencil onto paper created the most beautiful pattern, which instantly reminded me of the leaves/greenery of my chosen flowers. Again, I manipulated the design and printed it out flipped horizontally and vertically to create a mirror repeat. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!!! I could imagine seeing this printed on fabric and embellished with a digital stitch replica of my linear observational drawing of a Rose.

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Seeing my Rose drawing made me remember something that Helen had said in one of my PT’s; looking at the linear qualities within my work to see how I could manipulate them to create a range of new surface pattern designs. I thought I could fuse one of my favourite techniques…….COLLAGE…..to create something textural and visually exciting.

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Printed out numerous copies of my Rose drawing, ripping into varying different sizes and adhering to paper with Pritt-Stick. I am so happy with the resulting design idea and think it would look fantastic as a BLENDER design within my collection. Could I manipulate it in photoshop to create it as a new colour? This is another avenue to explore when I finalise my colour palette.

As Paul Klee once said ‘DRAWING IS TAKING A LINE FOR A WALK’. The linear kineticism of this design is intense…..I LOVE IT.

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I wanted to progress my initial design into something more descriptive of a Secondary pattern, so decided to utilise some of my chosen colours within an existing monotone design. Taking inspiration from KAROLINA YORK PRINT STUDIOS I wanted to fuse the hand-drawn element with bold and on trend colour, specifically only choosing to colour the alternate diagonals. Where could i take this further? I would like to see what colour background would work with the chosen colours and monotone hand-drawn element. Watch this space.

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This design was created with the remnants of a previous design idea, but me being me decided to incorporate the knowledge gained from researching COLOUR THEORY @ THE BAUHAUS, specifically looking at Johannes Itten, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Josef Albers. Could an element of my design be utilised in both geometric and organic way? It is reminiscent of a design by GP & J BAKER…..’BARCELONA’ in Indigo.

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I adore how each floral interpretation has been framed to create an almost gallery like quality of fabric. Motifs both separate and fuse together all the design ideas.

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Arranging my Daffodil observational drawing into a mirror repeat. Yes I know that there is no colour in the flower, but I was actually toying with the idea to utilise the colour as a background. Could I toy around with mixing a range of yellows to create depth? Could I utilise coloured green stencil cutouts to create a motif around the daffodils too?

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I chose to create this leaf motif on a separate page to see if I actually liked the design, but as it turns out I do!!!! I need to cut out more of this colour/pattern/design, but am looking forward to exploring how to create a repeat in Photoshop too. I have thoroughly enjoyed this avenue of exploration and now feel far more confident of what to include within my final collection.

LIFE IS A FLOWER

For research purposes I wanted to see what would pop up if I were to type a few specific words into Google…….FLORAL TEXTILE ARTISTS. Well, I am glad that I did!! I came across a wonderful webpage:

https://www.textileartist.org/textile-artists-inspired-by-flowers/

It was full with the most amazing Textile Designers, but the first that truly caught my eye was MELISSA ZEXTER.

‘Melissa Zexter combines embroidery with photography. She sews by hand directly onto photographs she has taken, combining a traditional practical skill, embroidery with a modern and mass reproducible process, photography’

Zexter, M. (2013-15) Portraits, Woman With Veil. Digital Print, Thread. Available at: http://www.melissazexter.com/new-colour (Accessed: 10 April 2018)

What once was a standard digital print has been made new and unique by the addition of thread. The image is now alive and describes something now beautiful; a simplistic addition to an existing story to create intrigue and dynamism. Could I now reinvigorate some of my old photographs with the addition of specifically chosen thread?

Dexter, M.  (2017) Embroidered Portraits, Schoolgirls. Gelatin Silver Print, Thread. Available at: http://www.melissazexter.com/embroidered-portraits (Accessed 10 April 2018)

SUSAN BRUBAKER KNAPP

Susan is not only a fiver artist, but a teacher and author too. She has been making quilts since she was 10 years old and has honed her skill over a lifetime to produce some of the most incredible finer art quilted artworks I have ever seen. The attention to detail exudes tactility and luxury in each stitch she creates.

 

Brubaker Knapp, S. (2016) Resurrection, Free Machine Quilted, Cotton. Available at: http://www.bluemoonriver.com/fiber-art.html (Accessed 10 April 2018)

Brubaker Knapp, S. (2010) Passion Flower, Free Machine Quilted, Cotton. Available at: www.bluemoonriver.com/fiber-art.html (Accessed 10 April 2018)

Brusker Knapp, S. (2010) Pink Rose, Painted Wholecloth, Machine Quited, Cotton. Available at: www.bluemoonriver.com/fiber-art.html (Accessed 10 April 2018)

These artworks are so sumptuous!! I could image a full-size bedspread of this design and would happily pay whatever price was advertised.

Although I haven’t attempted much embroidery/stitch work within this project, seeing these incredible works of art has inspired me to explore the wonders of my Bernini and hand.

 

 

 

COULD YOU REPEAT THAT PLEASE?

I thought that before I tackle my 50ft wall (a.k.a Photoshop) I would try to create some repeat ideas for a Hero and Secondary design using the old school paper, cut, reposition and rejoin technique.

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This was the natural progression of this repeat pattern design; firstly using my hand to eye coordination to arrange an aesthetically pleasing repeat of one of my Rose drawings (photocopying the same image over and over and ‘ripping’ the image by hand and juxtaposing it onto the paper) within my sketchbook.

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Secondly I used Coloured Sharpie Felt-tip Pens to add colour to my initial observational study of a Rose. I specifically chose only 4-5 colours as incorporating too many for my theme would muddy the concept; a subtle gender neutral purple was used as a bridge between the masculine blues and feminine pink at the centre.

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Finally I took my finished observational drawing and incorporated the old school paper cut and reposition repeat method. Photocopying over an dover again and repositioning allowed me to ascertain a deeper knowledge of how a pattern can be successful. There are pros and cons within this specific design….the pros being how descriptive and fluid the design of flower is and the cons being how the flower looks strange just floating in the air. The moral of this story? Motifs are an integral part of the overall design and need to be worked into said design, which in turn will create a cohesive and symbiotic pattern.

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My study of leaves were chosen as a motif to include as part of the greater design.

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Although I didn’t choose this surface pattern exactly within my next design, I included it’s essence; a background of leaves (described to look out of focus) was created by collage. This collage was created by the use of torn Mulberry Paper….again, choosing only 4-5 colours. Once the background collage was created I juxtaposed my Rose observational studies, both linear and coloured and then added the leaves to create a more fully realised floral design.

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I really love the interplay between the Black & White and Colour, but think the collage background may be a little too busy. This is something I will endeavour to make work better on a high end design level.

JOURNAL RESEARCH: ELLE DECORATION ISSUE 309.MAY 18′

Well well…..there are quite a lot of interesting adverts and articles within this issue. Let’s begin with…….

BISAZZA

…….specifically their MOSAICO Collection.

‘Bisazza is one of the top luxury brands in the design sector and the industry’s leading producer of glass mosaics for interior and exterior decoration. Over the past few years, the company has extended its decorative offerings with new materials made through processes that combine the value of design with the charm of craftsmanship’.

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Natale, G. (2018) Mosaico (Advertisement) In: Spriggs, B. (2018) Bisazza: Mosaico, Elle Decoration, No 309 (May), p.21.

I absolutely adore this design by Greg Natale, it reminds me of the grain found within wood; the organic nature is transformed by the geometric nature of each individual glass mosaic tile. Could I experiment with this type of pattern as a gentle and soft background? Strangely enough I have actually undertaken some observational studies of my own within my Material Matters project…..could I maybe revisit and re-envisage this design to incorporate within my hero or possible Blender pattern?

YELLOW, GREY & LINE

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Wishlist (Article) In: Spriggs, B. (2018) ‘Sun and Stripes: Team Moody Graphic Greys with Splashes of Sunshine Yellow for a Modern Bedroom Scheme’, Elle Decoration, No 309 (May), p.53.

Although this is not one particular brand per se, it demonstrates some of my favourite design elements:

COLOUR – ‘Citron’ Estate Emulsion by FARROW & BALL, masters of paint, interior design and colour @ farrow-ball.com Strangely enough, I have begun to really appreciate the power of Yellow; I have always opined it as rather a nonchalant colour, but now think it may be one of my favourite. Daffodils as black line and a yellow background?

LINE – ‘Forest Lovers’ print by Christopher Lorenzo @ roomfifty.com So simple, but amazingly effective when combined with a strong colour such as the ‘Citron’ Yellow. The thickness of line also really communicates the importance of the image it contains i.e the print.

PATTERN – J by Jasper Conran towels @ debenhams.com Geometric patterns utilising a white line against the yellow is just as effective as the black line against the yellow. The black and yellow together communicates a harder edged (masculine?) design and the white against yellow conveys a softer edged (feminine) design; I could explore this.

METALLICS – SILVER

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Colour (Article) In: Spriggs, B. (2018) ‘Silver: Having proved it’s Mettle, this Futuristic Shade is taking a Momentum to Shine’, Elle Decoration, No 309 (May), p.82.

This got me thinking back to the lecture I had with one of my tutors, Sian, whilst thinking about our brand as a designer and which colours what be core elements of said brand; silver has always been a favourite colour of mine and what better colour to offset it against than Blue………time to play………….

 

DRAWING IS WHAT?……….FUNDAMENTAL

One of the most enjoyable, yet difficult aspects of this project would have to be my determination to be able to describe/observe the flower; angles, shapes, structure and fluidity are incredibly difficult to transfer from a 3-D object to a 2-D image on paper. With the help of my Dad and his incredible patience, he has given me the basic tools to further my confidence and ability to draw.

My first task was to draw the same rose looking at multiple different viewpoints….I can tell you it wasn’t easy, but nothing worth mastering ever is. I spent no more than 5 minutes on each sketch. What I initially wanted to concentrate on was line, but going forward I will make multiple copies of these studies and experiment with adding colour via a range of different mediums………PENCIL, SHARPIE, WATERCOLOUR, GOUACHE and  COLOURED FINE-LINER. IMAG0858

I thoroughly enjoyed drawing these roses from different viewpoints and will endeavour to keep practicing to be able to proficiently draw what I like.

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My next self-directed task was to look at/research the drawing style of Robert Kushner and to interpret his designs through my own individual visual handwriting. I made sure not to shy away from the more complex and difficult flowers, but instead relished the challenge. Some of my sketches were far better than others and it enhanced the areas in which I need to improve, specifically the motion of mark-making within the leaves and petals of the flower. My Dad has said he will work on these with me on our next observational drawing session, not to mention he has told me to experiment using a good  range of pencils too (A B and 2B). When asking why I needed to use pencil rather than pen I was told that a pencil will allow a range of marks, shading and different pressures which in turn would create a far more dimensional interpretation; pen will allow a linear essence, but won’t create dimensionality.

I am excited to discover what can be achieved by using these 2 pencils!!!

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My first attempt at trying to trying to capture the shape and form of a Daffodil as seen from the side. Although not as successful as I had first hoped, I continued on with using my wrist to describe the fluidity of the petals. My Dad was instrumental in helping me believe in myself, something I am always so appreciative for.

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I did not give up!! I took stock of what I had learned from my previous studies and love how the stem is now described alongside the delicate and fluid petals. I decided to print out 2 photocopies, one mirroring the other; a repeat pattern incorporating a Rose and Daffodil would look rather exquisite……….WATCH THIS SPACE.

RESULTS ARE IN……DRUMROLL PLEASE

What is the best way to understand a demographic? I decided to create my own survey, asking poignant and specific questions that would enable me to further expand my research, both visual and market.

7 questions were put forward via Survey Monkey, which was available to my Facebook friends and the friends of friends. The information collated will be broken down into the most popular answers, which in turn could influence my final designs. What were these questions you may ask……well, here they are:

  1. WHAT WOULD YOU CONSIDER YOUR FAVOURITE FLOWER TO BE? Daffodil, Rose & Tulip
  1. WHICH 3 FLOWERS WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO HAVE IN YOUR GARDEN? Daffodil, Rose & Lily
  1. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE COLOUR FLOWER? Yellow, Purple & Blue
  1. WHICH 3 COLOURS WOULD YOU ASSOCIATE WITH FEMININITY? Pink, Purple & Yellow
  1. WHICH 3 COLOURS WOULD YOU ASSOCIATE WITH MASCULINITY? Blue, Black & Green
  1. WHICH 3 ELEMENTS ARE MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU IF YOU WERE TO CHOOSE A FLORAL FABRIC/WALLPAPER? Colour, Design & Simplicity
  2. WOULD BE MORE INCLINED TO PURCHASE FLORAL FABRIC/WALLPAPER IF IT WAS MORE GENDER NEUTRAL? Neither Agree or Disagree, Agree, Strongly Agree

60 people took my survey and I am absolutely fascinated with the results!!! I knew exactly how some of the questions would be answered, but was blown away by some of the results!!! For example……PINK would always be the most obvious answer when asking what people thought was the most predominant colour of FEMININITY, and BLUE being the most obvious for MASCULINITY. The 3 favourite colours of flowers were quite surprising…..YELLOW coming top, followed by PURPLE & BLUE. BLACK & GREEN surprisingly were the second and third highest chosen colours!!! I couldn’t have asked for better results; my chosen colour palette has so far incorporated most of the colours picked by my survey demographic. I will however incorporate some metallics within my designs, which will lift and inform the buyer of it’s quality and luxurious design.

The information I have gathered so far from this survey has been invaluable; one of the core ingredients/themes of my chosen trend, BUSY BLOOMS, is to inform the viewer/buyer of the importance of GENDER NEUTRALITY when looking at the design of Floral Wallpaper/Fabric for the Interior. I was really pleased to learn that the overall consensus of my survey favoured the idea that more people would buy Floral Wallpaper/Fabric if it was GENDER NEUTRAL, specifically looking at the Top 3 elements when choosing Florals………..COLOUR, DESIGN & SIMPLICITY.

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My next step will be to continue my visual and market research combining elements from the survey results, and allowing me the opportunity to create something fresh, unique and with broad appeal.