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.

HEROES, SECONDARIES AND BLENDERS

I am usually pretty good at deconstructing a brief and then being able to reconstruct into my own individual way. However, due to the project taking me into unfamiliar territory, especially with Photoshop and Illustrator, not to mention the fact that I have never come across the hierarchy of pattern collections before, I have struggled with amalgamating my ideas and research into a cohesive whole.

Today, in the ‘Creating a Pattern Collection’ briefing, ran by Sian, I finally began to understand the complexities of creating a coordinating collection. I found it fascinating that there are 3 principle elements of a pattern collection:

HERO: The primary design. The showstopper. The core design. Engaging. Complexity of colour. The Story. Largest in scale.

SECONDARY: The supporting design. Enhances the Hero, but does not detract from it. Strong design. Simplified colour and pattern structure.

BLENDER: The collection glue. Simple style and colour palette. Smaller scale. Incorporates texture and mark-making.

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Elisabeth Olwen, Skillshare, (2017), Available at: https://www.skillshare.com/classes/Pattern-Design-II-A-Creative-Look-At-A-Full-Pattern-Collection/1070740680, Accessed: 16 June 2018

380b65a9Elisabeth Olwen, Skillshare, (2017), Available at: https://www.skillshare.com/classes/Pattern-Design-II-A-Creative-Look-At-A-Full-Pattern-Collection/1070740680, Accessed: 16 June 2018

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Karen Emelia, Skillshare, 2016, Paisley Gardens. Available at: https://www.skillshare.com/projects/Paisley-Garden/45696 (Accessed: 16 March 2018)

This was a little research I thought prudent to undertake before journeying through my explorative coordinating pattern collection studies. Having recently signed up to Skillshare, and finding such a wonderful treasure trove of tips, hints and professional tutorial from Surface Pattern Designer Elisabeth Olwyn, I would be stupid not to make the most out of this wondrous site.

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Designers Guild & John Derian, S/S 2018, The Rose Swedish Blue. Available at: https://www.designersguild.com/uk/fabric/john-derian/the-rose-swedish-blue-fabric/p25751 (Accessed: 16 March 2018)

I have recently come across the designer John Derian, and can honestly say I am smitten!!!! The discovery came via his collaboration with Designers Guild, which strangely is one of my favourite design companies; a marriage made in heaven.

Looking over this collection, I am reminded of how important observational drawing is when conveying a rich and varied design. I absolutely love the full corollas in bloom (bang on trend with Common Ground/BUSY BLOOM), and adore how they are arranged; bold all-over print, allowing each rose to offset the next. Once far more proficient in Photoshop/Illustrator, I am going to experiment the hell out of my designs!!!!

I think one of the most important aspects I have overseen within this specific area of research has given me invaluable insight into which patterns, colours, textures and shapes look and feel good within the context of Floral/Busy Blooms. My Hero design could be completely observational like this design, but could be supported by a more stylised and linear interpretation of the same subject matter. The collection then can be amalgamated by stripes or mark making patterns. I am so excited to see what I can create/produce/make.

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What makes this design so incredibly effective?

WOODEN FLOOR, FURNITURE, PLANTS, LIGHTING, WALL COLOUR, SOFA TEXTURE & COLOUR, ARTWORK and SOFT FURNISHINGS.

I think I would love to explore all these elements within my ongoing creative journey.

ASSESSMENT DAY

The day arrived, and the PD Boys had not finished the Light!!! Needles to say there was an unspoken air of stress and anxiety. How on earth would we finish the design in 1.5 hours, 10am being the deadline. Luckily, after asking Helen and Clara for an extension until 12:20pm (our dedicated assessment time), we had more time to complete this challenging project. The communication and co-operation of our group was at times quite poor, which in turn caused great stress, anxiety and friction between group members. I took it upon myself quite early on to step up to become the chairperson of the group; a glue holding everything together. I think that if it were not for my age, communicative and project management skills, we would have ultimately failed this project. However, failure is not an option for me, so I put 100% of my expertise and know-how into this project.

PRESENTATION WALL

Before creating the Presentation Wall, I decided to do a little research on the Internet and came across a wonderful site detailing the importance of presenting Art:

armandlee.com/art-presentation-walls-meaning/

‘Art presentation, like other artistic expression, has become more experimental, more conceptual, more varied and more personal. Interior design has evolved to meet the emotional and intellectual needs of more educated and worldly clients by challenging convention in the use of space, materials, scale, color and texture. Personal and public spaces, like everything else, are becoming more interactive. Even traditional environments are filled with eclectic collections from family legacies, world travels and expressions of personal interest.

As an integral part of interior design, art presentation must work on three dimensions: respecting the art, accessorizing the setting and reflecting the importance of the art to the owner. Of these three, how the owner feels about the art is the driving force. Custom art presentation, which effectively balances all these considerations, requires an almost infinite assortment of profiles, finishes and design details.’

I worked tirelessly, with the help of Saima, to create a Presentation Wall worthy of my own high standards. Picture frames and black card were utilised to professionally mount samples, market research, CAD drawings and our Target Market, including the typical buyer and the enthusiast. Wallpaper had been attached with velcro to the board; grey had been chosen purposefully (with a little sparkle too) to pull together both the black and white frames.

I did not want to include a ‘traditional’ colour palette, but rather an explosion of colour in the form of remnant thread and yarns. These remnants were specifically incorporated together in 5 X 5″ Cellophane wrappers, thus allowing the buyer to be able to see how the colours would work together. The great thing about this concept? The buyer can choose/pick their own remnant thread/yarn and place it in an individual 5 X 5″ cellophane wrapper, giving them the power to create their own art piece.

The 5 words chosen to inspire the work of Saima and I specifically were:

VIBRANT, EXPRESSIVE, TEXTURAL, LINEAR & PATTERNED. Mood boards were created for each word, allowing the creative process to begin. It was a wonderful way for us to tie in vocabulary within a creative context, not to mention giving us inspiration from many different sources other than Hockney’s Mulholland Drive.

The group agreed that the wall should incorporate many different ideas, materials and samples:

PRINT, STITCH, WEAVE, CAD, HAND-DRAWN RENDERINGS, WIREWORK, PHOTOGRAPHY.

On a whole, I thought the Presentation Wall worked in conjunction with the Light incredibly well. The amount of compliments we had from other groups and staff was affirming.

The deadline was met!!! Yes, there were issues that we needed to address, namely the finish of the spray-paint and the top, but these were allowed to be rectified the next day…THANK YOU CLARA.

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Really proud of our Light!!!

Our Assessment went fantastically. We were all totally surprised at the positive feedback, thinking we would would be torn apart for lack of attention to detail, time management and finish. Positives from the assessment:

  1. HIT THE NAIL RIGHT ON THE HEAD WITH OUR TARGET MARKET
  2. PERFECT CHOICE OF RETAILER TO ADVERTISE, STOCK & SELL OUR PRODUCT
  3. EXCELLENT IDEA FOR BESPOKE SERVICE
  4. AVAILABLE AS ONE OF A KIND LIGHTING SOLUTION
  5. DESIGN POSSIBILITY IS ENDLESS – COULD CROSS INTO MANY DIFFERENT TARGET MARKETS I.E HIGH END STORES, CHILDREN’S MARKET, CORPORATE MARKET ETC.
  6. HIGH END DESIGN
  7. STYLISED, BUT INCORPORATED THE CORE VALUES/COLOUR SCHEME OF MULHOLLAND DRIVE
  8. PROFESSIONAL PRESENTATION/PRESENTATION WALL
  9. EXTENSIVE RESEARCH INTO LIGHTING MARKET, ESPECIALLY SHAPE AND DESIGN
  10. CREATIVE JUXTAPOSITION OF PRODUCT DESIGN AND TEXTILE DESIGN IDEAS
  11. STRONG PROJECT MANAGEMENT…ME
  12. THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX FOR DESIGN IDEAS

I actually cannot believe the project is now finished. If I am honest, I was not used to working with other people from such a different creative approach, but now understand that to create a truly successful collaborative project, there needs to be better time management and a closer connection of ideas and concepts. That is not to say I would not welcome another collaborative project, but not quite just yet. In future group work, on the course and in other endeavours, I think it vitally important to set individual tasks for members of the group, looking at their strengths.

AND…….BREATHE.

COLLABORATION: IDEAS INTO CONCEPT

DAY 2

The day began by Clara setting relevant tasks initiating ideas through to a concept design. We, as a collective group, were set time based exercises to create thumbnail sketches, co-authored designs and asked to come up with a final light concept, which had to be agreed upon by each individual member, and a group as a whole. Initially, I found the intermix of personalities, politics and proposals a little discombobulating, having always worked by myself.

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Jack and Jamie had both come up with separate designs, which Saima and I thought to be fantastic. Which one would we choose? Within my 8 thumbnail sketches I sub-consciously fused the best design facets of their designs into one, which as luck had it they both liked!! I absolutely hate procrastinating, so the agreement on this design was welcome news.

The one issue I had during the planning stage pointed towards the lack of physical research; no trips had been made to lighting showrooms or delving into the many books on offer within our Uni library. Luckily, I had been proactive within my own schedule and had taken on loan:

1000 LIGHTS (1960 to Present) – CHARLOTTE & PETER FIELL

ILLUMINATE (Contemporary Craft Lighting) – HANNAH NUNN

21ST CENTURY LIGHTING DESIGN – ALYN GRIFFITHS

HOW TO DESIGN A LIGHT – DESIGN MUSEUM

These books had really help me shape the final design and helped the cohesion of ideas within my group. The introduction of HOW TO DESIGN A LIGHT (Page 6) especially, resonated with me. ‘A light is a physical object, just as a chair is a physical object, the specifics of it’s design shaped variously by aesthetics, technology, materials, engineering and function. But a light is not simply a three-dimensional form; it both occupies space and exists as a means of revealing and describing space. A light makes light, and light is a presence that can’t be touched, although it is profoundly felt in an emotional sense

It is why I want this lighting design to be felt as an art piece, and not just a source of light; it has to evoke the ideas of colours, shape, pattern, and texture. The design brief stipulates that the design must meet and create a symbiotic relationship with the needs of the buyer.

Part of my input (inspiration) came from images I had viewed within HOW TO DESIGN A LIGHT (Page 9); a gallery space, it’s geometric and cool lines and how art is displayed got me thinking of the shape of the light. I did not necessarily want to create the light as a 3D oblong (rectangle), so decided to honour the input of Jack and his Triptych design. As an homage to Hockney, the light would be modelled into an oblong prism, taking a stylised interpretation from the Pylons within Mulholland Drive.

We also need to take into account factors such as:

  1. Function
  2. Diffusion
  3. Direction
  4. Spacial description
  5. Emotion
  6. Colour

These factors will be explored within workshops, inductions and exploration of materials and creative techniques.

FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT/FIRST COLLABORATION REFLECTION

First day back at Uni, ready for the new term.

I truly did not know what to expect for this Formative Assessment, having previously been ill on my last. Staying true to Vaughan fashion, I wanted to display my work as professionally as possible; the mantra of being over prepared, rather than under has always served me extremely well.

Sian, our Project Leader, asked the group to spend 5-6 minutes each discussing our work, which I relished to take the opportunity. I discussed how I deconstructed Hockney’s work into many different techniques, materials and processes i.e STITCH, PRINT, COLLAGE, OBSERVATIONAL DRAWING, PAINT, INK, STENCILS, REPEAT PATTERN, FABRIC MANIPULATION, COLOUR THEORY and and could then reconstruct these core values found within MULHOLLAND DRIVE into my own visual handwriting.

The feedback I received was overwhelming positive, which was fantastic. I love being able to showcase my ideas, and if it allows my fellow creatives to generate ideas from this group crit then it means that we can all learn from each other. Watching all my other colleagues discuss their work was a wonderful experience, and I felt really proud to be associated with such a great group.

Sian recommended to include some of the textural and sumptuous qualities, found within my samples, in my final piece/design. I discussed with her the addition of the Wing Needle decorative stitch and how the holes left would form the patterns found within Mulholland Drive; she thought it was a wonderful idea.

FIRST COLLABORATION

Saima, Jamie, Jack and I met for the first time since before Christmas, and began the process of choosing elements of each others work that we wanted to incorporate within our final Lighting Solution. We discussed issues such as how labour intensive specific designs would be, the cost of materials and production, the shapes we wanted to include and leave out, colours with which to work with, patterns to juxtapose with form and shape and primarily what we liked and disliked; food for thought, to say the least.

Morgan, who I have never met, and have had no correspondence with, decided to send over the Target Market Profile.

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Overall, I like the profile, but would change his income to earring around the £100-150k bracket, and would include his wife within the profile. I think the profile tackles his interest and lifestyle extremely well; the love for Art is a fantastic touch. Subsequently, this allows me to interpret my own style and ideas into a more Fine Art/Textile design context, something I am really excited about.

Saima and i have spoken in detail and have pulled our favourite elements from each others work to explore further. It is of paramount importance that we respect our own strengths, and help each other with the areas we believe are weak.