Growing up in Newport, West Wales, in a family full of Artists was one of the most incredibly creative and magical childhoods anybody could wish for. There was a smorgasbord of inspirational endeavours, artefacts and wildlife waiting to be discovered. One of my most vivid memories of my formative years was spending the Summers in my garden with Mum; we would spend hours talking about the names of flowers and their wondrous colours, studying their intricate design, and making a note of which went well with others. I was mesmerised at the transformation from seed to bloom. My Dad and I would also take trips into what we called the ‘Fairy Woods, which was a walk from Newport to Nevern. We would undertake a magical journey through Nature; the proliferation of wild plants and flowers also helped to bolster my love for all things botanical. This love of Nature and the outdoors has stayed with me even until this day.
I chose BUSY BLOOMS as a challenge to myself; having previous preconceptions that I couldn’t draw flowers properly was something I needed to tackle head-on. It’s easy but creatively unfulfilling to keep within a comfort zone and boy did I come out of it.
Who knew!! I can draw flowers accurately and organically. I challenged myself to continuously observe the detail, line, pattern, structure, and shape within subject. Having a research bank such as WGSN enabled me access to current trends, patterns, colours, prints and designers I would never have known about otherwise. Without Martha (the librarian) I would never have been able to navigate and source the wealth of knowledge available to enrich my creative practice. THANK YOU MARTHA.
I undertook a vast amount of market research before properly beginning my own design journey. My demographic was the 25-40-year-old Female and I had scrupulously chosen John Lewis as my client and must have spent at least 6-7 hours spilt over a few days within the store in Cardiff. Market research was conducted by studying the people who browsed, purchased and asked questions about certain products. I even requested 20+ samples so as to get a better understanding of what fabrics work well together and gauge the quality and properties as well.
I wanted to create a range of designs that could offer a timeless and classic contemporary aesthetic aimed towards my target market. My idea was not to design for a specific age or gender per se but to embody a collection that was aspirational to everyone regardless of sex.
Having never previously worked on a digital platform before I will admit that I was extremely apprehensive and very nervous to use Photoshop/Illustrator. These preconceptions would be the tip of a nightmarish scenario in which the proposed workshops were run by a member of staff who genuinely did not understand what they were meant to be doing, which affected my progress incredibly.
By requesting some of my peers’ time I was able to begin to piece together the fundamental basics of Photoshop to create basic digital patterns and repeats. The online resource section was useful but found other tutorials on Skillshare a little more tailored to my needs. Week by week, and after a wonderful Intensive Digital Session run by Matt and Charlie, I became more and more confident in my approach to visualising my ideas and concepts digitally. Matt Leighfield has been a wealth of digital knowledge, and without him, I would not have been able to have completed my collection as early as I did.
Although not a master by any means, I am now thoroughly enjoying the digital fruit of my labours via the incredible tool that is Photoshop. I will say that I undertook nearly all of my learning via my peers or from Matt or Charlie, with very little input from the people I expected to learn from.
This module has been both a labour of love and loathing for me. I have unquestionably enjoyed certain aspects such as my independent drawing, colour theory, moodboard creation, collection boards, tweaking designs to employ harmony and cohesion, and learning new digital skills. The disconnect between the Monday tutorials/lectures and the Friday ‘workshops’ was terribly disappointing. The timetabling and resource planning has been extremely poor and in hindsight, if it weren’t for my ability to work independently and maintain such a strong work ethic I would not have been able to produce the quality of work that I have. I just didn’t feel that I was offered the support I was promised.
Nevertheless, I am extremely proud of the outcome of my collection. The flow and organic structure through my collection is exactly what I wanted to convey through memories of my childhood. My Hero design is heavily influenced by the beautiful verges of flowers in my garden and the wonderful Rose trellis scrambling over a huge back gate. Other inspiration came from the rich and varied walkways in woods, cut fresh flowers in vases on the weekend, long tall grass being run through, ice creams being devoured on the beach, and the beautiful view of the blue sea.
I chose to present my collection on Charcoal Daler Rowney mountboard as I wanted it to look incredibly professional. The colour was chosen to both harmonise and contrast the rich, yet subdued, colours of my individual designs and whole collection; grey truly can be a wonderful colour to offset and enhance work beautifully.
I cannot express how glad I elated I feel now that this module and the academic year is now over!!!! It has felt like a prison sentence at times but looking at my work I feel an immense sense of pride and joy that I have been able to produce such a good body of work. A job well done.