AND SO IT BEGINS……..PRE-ARRIVAL ACTIVITIES FOR NOTTINGHAM TRENT UNIVERSITY: TEXTILE DESIGN 2018/19

Today I received an e-mail, informing of what was expected of me to undertake over the Summer in preparation for the new term fast approaching. This small task is designed to hone the selection process enabling the initiation of ideas and research skills, which will then feed into my work during the first term. I will also need to collect objects and materials from which to draw, develop and become inspired by.

ACTIVITY

Task 1: Select and Explore one Theme (Individual Concept)

  1. MOTHER EARTH – Voluptuous, Primal, Fertility, Nourishing
  2. BASTET – Mummified, Pliable, Royal, Protector
  3. PERSEPHONE – Underworld, Rebellious, Innocence, Loss
  4. ARTEMIS – Protests, Survival, Wild, Athletic
  5. MAMA OCLLO – Symbiotic, Sibling, Land, Blood
  6. OSHUN or OXUM – Sweetness, Abundance, Animistic, Liquid
  7. SARASWATI – Dazzling, Purify, Flamboyant, Liquid
  8. OLD GODDESS – Rituals, Weathered, Creased, Wisdom

These are from TREND UNION: Spring/Summer 19′.  TRENDTABLET & EDELKROOT can be sourced for trend information and inspiration.

I have been tasked to find out what these words mean to me and to research their wider meanings, both together and separately. I am to research via mind mapping and idea development.

All 8 themes are superbly unusual!!! I have decided to reduce the 8 down to 3 and will eventually reduce the 3 down to my 1 chosen theme. The initial 3 that I am gravitating towards are: BASTET, PERSEPHONE & SARASWATI 

Why these 3? All will be revealed tomorrow………WATCH THIS SPACE

 

 

HAVE I STAYED TRUE TO MY BRIEF?

WILL MY CLIENT (JOHN LEWIS) BE SATISFIED WITH MY COLLECTION?

‘Your client is a mid to high-end very commercial large department store. They would like you to create a coordinating collection of 6 patterns to be digitally printed (created using your preferred medium) for the female 25-40 age range for Spring/Summer ‘19. These patterns are going to be used for their in-house collections across various product ranges’

John-Lewis-Milton-Keynes-Peter-Jeffree-Photography-bedroomhds_hero_desktop

During my formative and explorative studies in the early stages of this project, I chose to put keywords at the forefront of my explorative designs, some which would focus but not dictate my creative endeavours.

FULL-BLOOM, COLOUR, FORM, TEXTURE, BOLD ALL OVER DESIGN, OVERLAID PRINTS & LUSH COROLLAS.

Throughout this brief, I made sure that my ideas/concepts/designs reflected these integral keywords. incredible insight into new and exciting designers was obtained when inputting specific words into search engines such as Pinterest, WGSN and Google:

KAROLINA PRINT STUDIOS, ROBERT KUSHNER, THEVENON, TOM TAILOR, TIMOROUS BEASTIES, MEG LEWIS, ANNA MURRAY, GRACE WINTERINGHAM, ANNA JAYNE, WILLIAM BURGESS, ABC CARPET & HOME, TRESCO, DESIGNERS GUILD, GP & J BAKER, STYLE LIBRARY, BLENDWORTH, JOHN DERIAN, AXEL VERVOORDT, KAREN NICHOL……the list could go on.

I see so many designs that utilise an abstract and stylised way of working but without much observational skill that I decided to really push myself to create beautifully hand-drawn and coloured designs and motifs that could really hold up against some of the best designs currently on the market. I know how difficult it is to make a mark in the cutthroat creative industry, which is why I found it so frustrating that no core observational drawing was offered as part of this module. I have been extremely lucky to have grown up with two Artists for parents and they have always instilled within me the importance of being able to ‘see’ and observe.

I know I have fulfilled a collection which is both familiar yet forward thinking. Who says that Design is just for one specific demographic. Design is universal.

HERO

PRODUCTMOCKUPHERO

SECONDARY NO.1

FloralFoliage(+70)

SECONDARY NO.2

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BLENDER NO.1

FRONDMOTIFBLENDER

BLENDER NO.2

ROSERIPBLENDER

BLENDER NO.3

BLENDERROSEBUD

How would I describe my collection in 5 words?

  1. TIMELESS
  2. CLASSIC
  3. FLUID
  4. ORGANIC
  5. RICH

Thank you JOHN LEWIS for allowing me the opportunity to create a dream for someone.

BRIEF RECAP & CUSTOMER PROFILE

It’s so easy to verge off from the initial brief, especially when the creative juices flow. However, throughout this brief, I have made sure to stop and take stock of what has been produced and make sure that the brief has been adhered to; for me, this has been an invaluable method to grow as a creative, designer, and a professional. Throughout the brief, I have always understood my client (John Lewis) and customer request, which got me thinking of one of the first sessions I had as a group with Sian and Helen.

We threw ‘buzz words’ around to delve into the world of the customer, and tried to create a profile:

CLIENT: JOHN LEWIS – ‘Create a coordinating collection of 6 patterns to be digitally printed for the female 25-40 age range for Spring/Summer ‘19

CHOSEN TREND: BUSY BLOOMS 

KEY FOCUS: FULL-BLOOM, COLOUR, FORM, TEXTURE, BOLD ALL-OVER DESIGN, MIXED TEXTURES, LUSH LARGE COROLLAS

DEMOGRAPHIC: 25-40 YEAR-OLD FEMALE

BUZZ WORDS (For My Collection): QUALITY, SOPHISTICATED, REFINED LIFESTYLE,  DESIGN-FOCUSED, COMMERCIALLY AWARE, PROFESSIONAL, HOUSE PROUD, CONTEMPORARY, CLASSIC, RICH YET SUBDUED, FRESH, CHIC

By revisiting the ideas and concepts at the early stages of the design process I am now able to create a few customer profiles:

CUSTOMER 1

GENDER: Female

AGE: 26

OCCUPATION: Retail Manager

DRIVES: No Car/ Employment within walking distance

LEVEL OF EDUCATION: College

RELATIONSHIP STATUS: Single

LIVES: Trendy Loft apartment within the city centre. A bustling area within the city. Great High Street. Plenty of Department Stores.

HOUSEHOLD COMPOSITION: No children. One Cat.

HOBBIES/INTERESTS: Drawing. Design Focused Magazine Subscription. Travel. Animals.

SHOPPING PREFERENCE: Oliver Bonas. Gap. Mango. Tesco

BUDGET: £50-£100

INDIVIDUAL STYLE: Trendy, Well groomed, Fashion Forward

 

CUSTOMER 2

GENDER: Female

AGE: 33

OCCUPATION: ASSOCIATE EDITOR

DRIVES: Mini Cooper S

LEVEL OF EDUCATION: Undergraduate/Degree

RELATIONSHIP STATUS: Engaged

LIVES: City suburb. A mix of independent and outlet village shops.

HOUSEHOLD COMPOSITION: Fiance. No children. 2 Dogs.

HOBBIES/INTERESTS: Fashion. Travel. History. Design. Food

SHOPPING PREFERENCE: Vivienne Westwood. Zara. John Lewis. Sainsbury’s

BUDGET: £150-£300

INDIVIDUAL STYLE: Sophisticated. Fashion-Forward. Classic. Fresh.

 

CUSTOMER 3

GENDER: Female

AGE: 40

OCCUPATION: HEADMISTRESS

DRIVES: Audi A5

LEVEL OF EDUCATION: Postgraduate/Degree

RELATIONSHIP STATUS: Married

LIVES: Country. An affluent area outside the city but close enough to commute. Plenty of Arts and Craft and independent stores. Beautifully landscaped gardens.

HOUSEHOLD COMPOSITION: Husband. Two children. 2 Dogs. 1 Cat

HOBBIES/INTERESTS: Travel. Reading. Food & Wine. Socialising at Dinner Parties.

SHOPPING PREFERENCE: Monsoon. Harvey Nichols. Dolce & Gabanna. Waitrose

BUDGET: £350-£500

INDIVIDUAL STYLE: Professional, Simple, Classic, Timeless

Looking back to look forward is my life mantra; it helps me amalgamate ideas, concepts and thoughts into one cohesive principle. The 3 customer profiles above have given me an even greater understanding of who my customer base would be, which will allow me to fine-tune my designs and collection even further. Not only that, I am able to use this market research to build a range of future collections for specific budgets etc.

 

 

 

 

IS DIGITAL​ TECHNOLOGY MY KRYPTONITE?

Although I have really tried my best to learn the core structure of Photoshop, I have hit a brick wall. The anxiety at not having created any Collection Moodboards is creating a type of fog that I am finding nigh on impossible to break through. Seeing all of my classmates produce board after board of progressive collections has almost made me retreat inside myself; feelings of failure and inadequacy are now commonplace throughout my day. Is Digital Technology my Kryptonite?

I have decided to go back to some of the SKILLSHARE tutorials and try to learn from the ground up again. The first tutorial I am undertaking is ‘DIGITIZE YOUR WATERCOLOURS: Getting Started With Photoshop’ by Anne Butera.

Anne recommends the DPI to be set to 720, not 300. By scanning at a higher resolution the image can be scaled up without losing any of its integrity.

I also discovered the benefit of using the MARQUEE TOOL to crop the chosen scanned image. Previously I have had issues removing more than one type of background when manipulating the image in Photoshop but can now see the advantage of cropping down the design.

The LASSO Tool is also an invaluable tool in a Designers’ arsenal; its a great way to ‘cut out’ individual areas of a design/image.

The MAGIC WAND Tool is also a fantastic way to remove unwanted areas and keep specific elements of design. The ERASER TOOL can then be employed to remove all the small little discrepancies that the MAGIC WAND Tool had failed to remove. A fantastic way to make sure that there are no discrepancies left is to create a NEW FILL LAYER with SOLID COLOUR, ideally choosing Black. This new layer needs to go behind the design/motif to expose any marks etc that have been left. I then used the ERASER TOOL in Black to remove these elements. The NEW FILL LAYER can then be deleted!!!

Firstly I worked my way through Anne’s ‘How to Create A Repeat Pattern’, which simplified the process of creating a ‘perfect’ repeat tile. This tile could then be duplicated to create a perfect repeat. Yes, my repeat is rather simple, but I now understand the core ingredients of this wondrous technique.

 

RepeatPracticeTile

PracticeTile

I then followed Annes’s instructions to scan other designs/motifs through the scanner @ 720dpi, used the MOVE TOOL to arrange in my desired location, and the FREE TRANSFORM TOOL to alter and set the scale.

roserepeat

This was the result of incorporating some of my favourite elements from different designs and amalgamating them together. I am so proud of this design!!! I absolutely love the contrast of the B+W against the subtle yellow, orange, gold and green. Does it need a colour in the background? I did try to add a colour background, but unfortunately, there are gaps in the lines of the larger rose, meaning the background fill leaks into the rose. Going forward, I will endeavour to use the pen/brush tool to link up these open lines.

Thanks to the additional tutorial by Anne I was able to spend the day both learning and practising on Photoshop simultaneously. I won’t lie, the time it takes to properly edit and manipulate the images to my standard took hours!!! However, through trial and error, I was able to edit all my designs/motifs and create one document layered with each individual element.

ChosenDesignMotifs_May18

This was my first attempt at a preliminary idea for my HERY Design, albeit not quite finished, and I will admit I am rather proud of it. I will add many other motifs and design elements to this idea but first wanted to see if I actually could create a digital design.

ChosenDesignMotifs_May18(2)

Next, I applied a little colour, which I think has brought the design to life!! This design has been completed on an A3 Print Document in Photoshop and will allow a perfect repeat as a tile. The results of my Market Research Survey have played a massive role in my design process, staying true to what my demographic wanted. The colours are specific to what my client base wants and the DESIGN and COLOUR have been purposefully chosen to create a SIMPLISTIC and GENDER NEUTRAL design.

ChosenDesignMotifs_May18(3)

A half-drop pattern was added to the design, and I absolutely love it. I also have made a note of the colour of the background, specifically the numerical value. Making a note of the colour is extremely important, not only will it allow me to remember the specific colour, but will also allow me to create a colour bank for future projects. Watch this space to find out how the design progresses………

 

TIMOROUS BEASTIES INFLUENCE

If I were to choose my current favourite design company it would have to be TIMOROUS BEASTIES. How did I find out about this company? It was actually my Damask bedspread that led me to TB. I have always been fascinated by the symmetrical and repeat patterns of Damask wallpaper/fabric, so a quick search on the internet for Damask and Textile Design came up with the goldmine that is this innovative and forward-thinking design company.

Why do I love this company so much? Here are a few reasons why……

(Clockwise) Beasties, T. (2017) Damsel Damask, Omni Splat, Butterfly Blurr & Grand Blotch Damask. Available at: http://www.timorousbeasties.com/shop/wallcoverings/ (Accessed: 14 May 2018)

The contemporary use of design and colour is spectacular!!! Whilst undertaking this current project at Uni, I have begun to comprehend the subtle complexities of creating a repeat pattern for the Interiors market; something I am 100% sure I would want my own designs to be available for.

‘Our Product is highly crafted and designed. It’s always quality first’ Timorous Beasties

The sheer attention to detail resonates so strongly with my own core values as a designer. I think that having OCD has actually been both a help and hindrance within my creative practice; a help in being meticulous about what I include as part of my creative output, and hindrance due to my procrastinating and always trying to make sure everything is perfect.

The designs of Timorous Beasties have allowed me to accept that I am not perfect and that these imperfections can be utilised as a strength within my designs.

Having struggled with the repeat element and to incorporate all of my ideas I decided to undertake a back-to-to basics approach in creating ideas within my sketchbook, which will ultimately be transferred to Photoshop and manipulated digitally.

I am really proud of my ideas and will spend the next couple of days really honing the concept.

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A natural progression from a more traditional style of a hand-drawn collage bouquet to that of a reflected contemporary design, influenced by Timorous Beasties.

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Utilising my strengths, specifically observational studies fused with collage, painting and drawing, I began to expand my idea of using specific elements to amalgamate into a cohesive and fully rounded design. Yes, there are still areas I need to work into and complete, but I now have a strong concept of what my final collection will look like.

WATCH THIS SPACE…….

JOURNAL RESEARCH: SELVEDGE ISSUE 82/MAY 2018

This issue is rather a fascinating read, it’s primary subject focus matter is LACE. I have never really been too aware or that interested in LACE, but a recent trip to Nottingham for an interview to continue my studies in Textile Design has exposed me to the exquisite craftsmanship required to design and create this amazing fabric.

Due to the industrialised processes of machine-made lace as early as the 19th Century, the skilled labour of the hand began to be replaced by the machine. The material itself symbolises specific occasions through a life, especially in context with underwear, marriage, and birth. Lace signifies heritage and significance to wealth and tradition.

The ‘Silhouettes en Dentelle – Series 1’, a collaboration between Mal Burkinshaw and lace extraordinaire Sophie Hallette questioned the absence of the individual who may inhabit the lace garments. What type of body shape would fit inside? The underlying concept of the series was to decode specific figure aesthetics and bring to the forefront some of the negative body issues highlighted, especially within today’s fashion industry.

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Burkinshaw, M. and Halette, S (2013-14) Silhouettes en Dentelle – Series 1 (Photograph) In Leonard, P. (2018) ‘BLACK HOLES: The Exploration of Absence’, Selvedge Magazine, 82(May 2018), p. 51

When I began my reading journey through this magazine, I first noticed an incredible little advert by a company called TWOFOLD: Textiles & Travel, specifically aimed at a working tour and creative retreat in Mexico.

http://www.twofoldtravel.com

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I have always had a desire to fuse travel with creative learning, but have never quite know where to source such an adventure. Thanks to Selvedge I now have access to this incredible resource and am seriously considering undertaking this once in a lifetime escapade.

You could imagine my surprise when I found a similar company advertising a Fair Trade Textile/Folk Art/Market Tour 22 day working Tour over Peru. The tour would incorporate Tapestry Weaving, Knitting, Hand Embroidery, Braiding Natural Dyes and Gourd Carving, which to me would be 22 days of sheer heaven!!!I have always wanted to travel South America, and again thanks to Selvedge I have access to another wonderful resource, hopefully expanding upon my existing knowledge and creative practice.

http://www.puchkaperu.com

Maximo-Laura-Puchka-Peru

‘DRAWN THREAD WORK: Lace structure Architectural Design’. No sooner had I turned the page I became transfixed by the beautiful contrast between the textural and patterned elements between the textiles and the structural solid elements of the architecture. Although not a new phenomenon, as this relationship is millennia old; the tradition of portable civilisations throughout history has always been a marriage of sorts. The use of certain fabric, and pattern of textiles can give a new context to the buildings they have been designed in unison with. The purpose of this marriage is to create a new tactile identity, something which can be a source of inspiration in breaking the connotation that lace is just for fashion.

 

St John, C. (2009) Nottingham Contemporary. Available at: https://nottinghamcontemporary.org/about-us (Accessed 7 May 2018)

I am so excited to be moving to and studying in Nottingham!! The amount of possible creative explorative adventures is incredible. I aim to visit Nottingham Contemporary Art Gallery/Building as soon as I move up there.

PHOTOSHOP (4) (MEG LEWIS) COLOUR, SWATCHES, BLENDING, FILTERS & BRUSHES

I made the conscious effort to skip PHOTOSHOP (3);  the tutorial was far more focused on Web Design and not towards my area of study…DIGITAL DESIGN for TEXTILES.

Going forward, I have decided to make a note of the numerical value of a favourite/specifically chosen colour within the CMYK range. This will make replicating the colour for future endeavours really easy. Clicking on the Foreground/Background Tool will make the Colour Picker Tool to pop-up, allowing the choice of colour.

SWATCHES

Wow!!! I knew that this tool would be beneficial eventually to my ongoing creative projects, but found that it can be super useful for my current project. Firstly, select the SWATCHES Tab, which can be found at the top right of the Photoshop screen. Creating a SWATCH LIBRARY is incredibly easy; click on Foreground/Background Tool, which will pop-up the Colour Picker Tool. Simply choose the specified colour for the particular brief you are working on, and press ADD TO SWATCHES.

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I find it particularly useful to rename the colour, to avoid confusion if using at a later date. The colour will now be available in MY LIBRARY, meaning it will now be available to access anytime.

I disovered that I could remove the pre-populated (Default) Colour Swatches and replace them with my own. This feature will be invaluable for my professional career; I can create a range of individual colour schemes for different clients without bulking the palettes together.

By clicking on the tab in the top right corner of the Colour/Swatches Window I found a  menu with many options appeared. I scrolled down to PRESET MANAGER, which caused the PRESET box to appear. By holding down SHIFT and selecting the colours I didn’t want, I selected the DELETE button, removing all the unwanted palette.

Say for example I was working on a brief for John Lewis, who stipulated that they wanted a Yellow Floral Colour scheme for a Spring/Summer collection. Now that I had removed all the unwanted colour swatches I could now create my own.

The wonderful aspect of being able to save this specific palette for a specific client will allow me to have a clutter-free and tailored palette at the ready should I need it.

If I wanted to reintroduce the Default Colour Swatches back I would simply click on the top right tab, scroll down to RESET SWATCHES and select OK to replace current swatches with the default colours.

BLENDING MODES, OPACITY & TRANSPARENCY

Application to apply overlay in interesting and specific ways. I began by choosing to create a Rectangle via the RECTANGLE TOOL and renaming it to avoid future confusion. Secondly, I created a NEW LAYER and also created a second Rectangle (overlapping), which was also renamed.

The Blending Mode option can be found within the LAYER section described as NORMAL in the drop-down menu. After allowing myself a few minutes to explore the individual modes, I decided to choose MULTIPLY; a fantastic mode allowing the exact fusion of the two colours.

I played around with the OPACITY; the translucency was dictated by decreasing the percentage via the scrollbar. Although similar to the Opacity tool, the FILL tool could only be demonstrated by applying a border (STROKE) to the second shape.

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The difference between toggling the Opacity and Fill tool is that the Opacity will alter both the border and fill of the shape/design/image, and the Fill will only alter the fill of the shape/design/image, leaving the border unchanged. This could be a really helpful tool/application when looking at my current/future designs.

FILTERS

The majority that I explored really isn’t appropriate for the type of design I undertake. However, I did find a few which may have merit.

The FILTER option is accessed via the FILTER tab, and in the first instance, I decided to choose STYLIZE: EMBOSS. I was really surprised to see how interesting and abstract my design became. I actually really like the EMBOSS mode.

The CRYSTALIZE tool was equally as interesting; I actually played around with the Cell Size, to find that the design looked better somewhere within a median range rather than that of a small or large selection.

Last, but not least was the OIL PAINT mode. I really loved this application and could happily see it being used within some of my digital designs. There are 4 individual elements to explore; Stylization, Cleanliness, Scale & Bristle Detail. The overall effect was really subtle but created a wonderfully painterly effect to what was originally a stylised observational pen study.

BRUSHES

An incredible tool to manipulate, add or extend my own designs. The BRUSH mode can be accessed through the WINDOW tab and scrolling down to Brush Settings. The Brush Settings menu will pop-up, but will be greyed out. I simply pressed the letter B, and hey presto I am able to access all these wonderful features.

I must have spent around 20minutes just exploring the settings. The possibilities are endless within this feature, and this is something I am going to exploit when I have more time. Some of the effects that I have shown interest towards are as follows:

(Clockwise) I fell in love with this bold and highly textural ‘split-brush’ (306) tip effect, and strangely enough, the effect resembles the foliage and leaves of some of the flowers I have been trying to capture. Could I use this tool to help with some of the motif elements? The second effect (284) would be an incredible way to create a varied and textural background, not to mention its striking resemblance to the patterns found on some birds eggs. Finally, I love how this effect (60) can be built up to create depth and structure. Could this be used as a wonderful way to create the patterns and shapes of a tree? Exciting times.

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An exploration of Scale, Spacing, Colour, Smoothing, Texturisation, and Brushstrokes.

Always create a new layer when using a new/different brush; quicker to remedy a problem on one single layer rather than altogether.