EXHIBITION AND MODULE REFLECTION

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Inspiration

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.

 

Client/Brief

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.

Digital

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.

Reflecting

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.

Presentation

I chose to present my collection on Charcoal Daler Rowney mountboard as I wanted 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.

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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’

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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

ChosenDesignMotifs_May18(4)

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.

COLLECTION PROGRESS

I have found the final project of the Academic Year both a labour of love and loathing.  One of my main strengths has always lain within my independent spirit and my refusal to give up. I am extremely proud of the progress I have made from producing my first design collection up to my most recent and final collection.

COLLECTION IDEA NO.1

Collection1

COLLECTION IDEA NO.2

Collection2

COLLECTION IDEA NO.3

MoodboardCollection3

COLLECTION IDEA NO.4COLLECTION4

COLLECTION IDEA NO.5

COLLECTION5

FINAL COLLECTION CONCEPT

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I am immensely proud of my Final Collection and am excited to find out more about what Photoshop can offer. I am now a convert of this magnificent tool……WATCH THIS SPACE.

 

PRINTING ONTO FABRIC/PRINFAB

Having heard that the Cardiff Met Digital Printer was on the blink, to say the least, I decided to utilise one of Sian’s suggestions to print individually from a company called PRINFAB.

PRINFAB

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History

Prinfab was started in January 2016 by two brothers. The first 6 months were spent setting up a state-of-the-art production facility using the latest direct-to-textile print technology. By July 2016, they started to trade and the business quickly grew to become one the UK’s leading providers of short-run fabric printing.

Core Aims & Values

Core aims and values are key to everything we do at Prinfab. The aim is to:

  • Process all orders with 100% accuracy
  • Process all orders for print fabric within 1-5 working days
  • Process all orders for stock items placed before midnight the same working day
  • Ensure all fabrics are in stock

The customer service I received from Harry and Ollie was absolutely incredible!!! I rang them up and they gave me step by step instructions on how to transfer the files, not to mention they converted all the files, resolution and made sure all the colours were print compatible. The fabric that was recommended to me was a COTTON SATIN WARP @ 246gsm, needless to say, I was over the moon with the results!!! The clarity and colour of my designs are magnificent. Yes, I had to pay £26.99 for the service/fabric and £20 for next day delivery…..but it was worth it.

My next blog post will showcase all my hard work on this module in the form of my EXHIBITION, which strangely enough will be ready for the Level 4 & Level 5 Public Exhibition tomorrow!!!!!

WATCH THIS SPACE

SECONDARY SITUATIONS

Now that I had completed my HERO design the progression of my SECONDARY designs sped up exponentially. Sian (my Tutor) was right, you cannot expect to create a cohesive collection of designs without first pinning down the HERO.

Strangely enough, I actually thought these designs would take as long, if not more as the HERO. The workshops with Matt now allowed me to create the designs in the manner I wanted without any technical hindrance.

SECONDARY 1

For my first SECONDARY design, I utilised these 2 elements:

To remove the background on the coloured Rosebud I chose to use the MAGIC WAND and increased the tolerance to 55, making sure I clicked as close to the outline of the rose as humanly possible. When the marching ants appeared I hit the backspace to remove the background. I then selected the LAYER Tab > New Fill Layer > Solid Colour, and chose black as the solid colour. I dragged the rose layer beneath the solid fill colour and used the ERASER TOOL, in varying sizes, and ZOOM TOOL to remove any ‘static’ that would cause problems at a later stage. Once all the ‘static’ had been removed I then deleted the solid colour fill layer to showcase the rosebud on a ‘zero’ background.

The B&W Rose was really easy to clean:

Image > Adjustments > Gradient Map > Making sure that the white is white and the black is black (only these 2 contrasts should be visible) > Magic Wand (Tolerance 30-40) > Making sure the Contiguous is unticked

I created 3-4 New Duplicate Layers to bulk out the line and create a far more poignant black line and merged the layers together. I then used the ERASER TOOL to remove any ‘static’ and messy lines. I then created a new canvas and dragged the linear layer into/onto the canvas. Again, I used the ERASER TOOL to remove the surrounding background and merged the remaining white background contained within the rose and linear layer together.

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I specifically have chosen not to colour the larger rose motif as it acknowledges the trend to juxtapose coloured and B&W images together, especially influenced by the French design house THEVENON. The background colour was chosen as #c5e6e1 but may change when the whole collection is finished. Again, I absolutely love the design and colour combo.

SECONDARY 2

For my next SECONDARY design I used these elements:

I created a Print quality A3 Canvas in Photoshop and opened up my file library, choosing the abstract foliage print I had previously manipulated in Photoshop (colour). I used the FREE TRANSFORM TOOL (CMD+T) to shrink the image down (holding SHIFT all the while), and when the image was sat perfectly @ 25% of the A3 canvas (pink lines should inform of the correct proportions) I selected the LAYER Tab, scrolling to DUPLICATE LAYER. Using the MOVE TOOL I carefully dragged this new layer over to sit perfectly beside its neighbour. To create the reflection of the image I selected the EDIT Tab, scrolling down to TRANSFORM and then down to FLIP HORIZONTAL. I then selected both images and chose to DUPLICATE LAYERS, pulling the new layer down and repeating the TRANSFORM step, only this time choosing the FLIP HORIZONTAL. If any blemishes or lines are visible I would choose to use the SPOT HEALING BRUSH TOOL, which remedies any problems arisen from the duplication.

FINALSECONDARY1

The linear studies of Buddleia and Cotoneaster were manipulated in exactly the same process as the B&W Rose in my first SECONDARY. I placed each motif strategically to create the most aesthetic and visual impact. I love it!!!!!!!! I made sure, by way of adhering the pink lines, to keep all the motifs as symmetrical as the background.

Next step? Finishing the BLENDERS………..

SUPER HERO?

I cannot tell you have frustrated I had become at not being able to create a HERO design up to my usual high standards; nearly all previous attempts had failed in one area or another. However, after two 1-2-1 tutorials with Matt Leighfield (A Programme/Digital Genius), I finally got to grips with the technicalities that would allow me to amalgamate my ideas, concept and designs into the beginnings of a collection.

I had been having a difficult time fathoming out how to cut out elements such as motifs and juxtapose them into a new document but can now undertake the task with ease!!

The process is really simple now that I know how:

Select the LASSO Tool > ‘Draw’ round the specific element required (making sure that the marching ants are on the move) > Drag chosen image (once opened in Photoshop) tab down a few cms > Select MOVE TOOL > Select the area within the marching ants and hold down mouse and drag into/onto the prepared document > To remove the unwanted background surrounding the chosen motif I utilised the MAGIC ERASER TOOL.

My HERO design was extremely complex to create, not only did I colour all the individual motifs by hand but I also scanned them all at 720dpi, ‘cleaned’ them all digitally which could take up to an hour or two each, and then had to measure each to create enough room and aesthetic to look mathematically accurate.

These are some of the elements I combined to create my HERO:

After 5 hours on Photoshop, I was able to create this!!! I am so incredibly proud of my design.

FINALHERO

The background colour is #a0bfbd and the Cyanotype motifs were changed to a Hue of -25 and -70, which changed the colour from a dark blue to a rich teal and green. I may toy around the idea of putting an embossment or shadow/glow around the motifs but will ultimately decide if it adds or detracts from the design.

I wanted my HERO design to describe the story of MY CHILDHOOD GARDEN; to describe the wonderful lines, shapes, patterns, and colours of the most abundant flowers I could remember as a child.

Again, I made sure to include:

Top 3 Colours chosen to describe FEMININITY = YELLOW, PINK & PURPLE

Top 3 Colours to describe MASCULINITY = BLUE, BLACK & GREEN

I also made sure that I kept the design SIMPLISTIC and using RICH, yet SUBDUED Colours. One of the key focuses of the Busy Bloom trend was evidence of lush blooming floral corollas, which I believe I have nailed. I believe that I have poured my visual identity all over this design, whilst staying true to the core values of the brief.

FIELD: LIGHT – COLLABORATION REFLECTION

I have always considered myself an independent designer, a lone wolf of sorts, so when I discovered that as part of my ongoing creative practice I was required to be part of a group made up of both Textile and Product Designers, I had immediate reservations.

My initial thought was ‘Please don’t land me with the duds’. I met my group and soon realised that we possessed a range of skills unique to each and every one of us, so began by asking how each member felt about working on specific elements within the collaboration. I think my age and life experience made me the perfect candidate for the Project Manager, something which the rest of the group were happy to delegate.

One of the most positive aspects of this collaboration for me personally was the chance to learn more of the technical and mathematical process of Product Design and how it could be married to my discipline of Textile Design. I will admit that at first I didn’t particularly find the group chemistry strong, and the difficulty to make decisions caused friction at times. However, as time went on we quickly fell into the specific roles needed to successfully carry out our challenging concept and idea.

I have always understood that to get something done properly there is little time to procrastinate but rather put together a plan of action that is both concurrently  manageable and challenging.

As the concept developed and ideas were shared, I found at times the communication from the Product Design lacked the necessary vision for us to work as a cohesive unit, leading to some heated emails and verbal exchanges, but nevertheless we eventually agreed on the common denominator to work as a team to create something which would be both technically and aesthetically impressive.

What did I learn about myself? I felt comfortable as a natural leader within the group; that’s not to mean I dictated the orders but rather found out the individual strengths of each team member and interwove them altogether to create a creative and highly efficient way of working.

The group did not become friends but gained a mutual respect for each other, which I believe is important if I am ever to collaborate with another designer/discipline in the foreseeable future.

If I was to reflect on the brief as a whole I would have to say that it wasn’t particularly organised or structured as efficiently as it could have been. The Textile Tutors were rarely to be seen and any support that was asked for was nearly always given by the Product Design tutors. Luckily I am always ready/happy to work independently but felt a true element of wandering through the wilderness within this project. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy elements of the brief; the ability to self explore and learn new skills and ways of thinking really enriched my creative practice and thought process. The range of materials used and how each was fused together to create a finished product gave me greater respect for how time consuming but ultimately rewarding a collaborative effort can be.

I loved our final design; the beautifully abstract Textile Pattern created by Saima and I really contrasted masterfully against the sleek and classic triangular shape of the Light. I grew not only as an individual, but as a creative practitioner too. Each project has allowed me to refine my individual style, I now feel confident to showcase my focused and strengthened visual identity in any project I undertake.