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 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.

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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.

 

 

 

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.

WHAT IS VISUAL HANDWRITING?

Hand-writing is your own personal style. It’s the bit that sets you are apart. That’s the mark-making you employ, or the medium you use. It can also be affected by the style/ genre you are working within.

It is vitally important to have your own Visual Handwriting, what are you without it?

What is Identity? The characteristics determining who or what a person or thing is.

Synonyms of Identity: INDIVIDUALITY, SELFHOOD, EGO, PERSONALITY, CHARACTER, ORIGINALITY, DISTINCTIVENESS,  DISTINCTION, SINGULARITY, UNIQUENESS

What is Identity important? Well, it differentiates between me and the next person. Imagine a world in which we all dress the same, look the same, come up the same ideas and create the same designs; not a world in which I want to belong in. But why is it so important to have my own unique visual handwriting? It defines who I am as an artist and is a direct result of how I interpret the world around me.

I decided to conduct a little experiment of my own today. If I copied the work, specifically floral designs of other artists, would the work look identical or would my visual handwriting create a new story?

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Is my identity the marks I make in my art? Is it how I interpret the subject matter through my own two eyes? I thoroughly enjoyed drawing this Tulip/Floral arrangement; it allowed me to expand my mark-making repertoire, which in turn will allow me to become a more experienced and creative artist.  Cabinet (Oak, veneered with marquetry of various woods, copper, pewter, tortoiseshell, horn and lapis lazuli), 1680 – Andre-Charles Boulle. 

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I was instantly drawn to this design; having spent nearly all of my childhood spring/summer in my garden,orchards or woodlands abroad, the imagery of apple blossom is synonymous with warmth and magical nature adventures with my Dad. Drawing this allowed me to pour some of my happiness into the drawing in the form of adding a little pink and purple, which strangely in the past I would not consider. Apple/Pirus malus en Peer/Pirus communist, 1905, Lithograph – Theo Nieuwenhuis

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I did not want to incorporate the colour from this design, but rather tried to encapsulate the essence of the corolla and large petal size (looking at the WGSN Trend forecast from BUSY BLOOMS). For me, the most important aspect of this exercise was learning which of my own preferred techniques could offer the most dress, unique and new take on a traditional process. For example, I would love to see how COLLAGE could transform this linear drawing into a fully rounded and highly textural design.

What medium would I use for the collage? Could I spend a day creating a varied amount of different exploratory mark-making studies? Could these studies serve as the medium I use to deconstruct and then reconstruct this design?

Spending time utilising the visual handwriting of others has been invaluable; not only have I a new found respect for the creative processes of others, but I have also improved upon my own way of working.

OBSERVATIONAL DRAWING: THE POWER OF FLOWERS

All my life I have crippled by the idea that I cannot draw properly, when in fact I could. My Father, Hugh Thomas, an incredible artists in his own right, has always championed the idea that drawing is representative, and that there is no ‘correct’ way in how we visualise our chosen subject matter.

Today I decided to utilise images I have found within an incredible book, RIJKS MUSEUM AMSTERDAM: BLOEMAN FLOWERS, my Mum recently gave me and try to encapsulate the mark-making and patterns found within so many of the floral observational/representational/stylise studies. Initially trepidation turned into elation when I found that I could create these wonderful lines, patterns and textures mandatory to describe flowers.

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Yes, these are only simple continuous line drawings, but I feel they encapsulate the essence of a flower. The next step will be to draw directly from life, so a trip to Aldi to buy some flowers is a must.

I think I will concentrate on drawing ROSES, PEONIES and IRISES.

First of all I have given myself a set of guidelines, which I know will improve my drawing and observational skills:

  1. Keep a regular diary. Write down what I want to achieve, and how I want to achieve it.
  2. Make sure I have the correct materials, in good condition.
  3. Keep collecting interesting material, objects true, photographs, typeface and lettering, and fabrics and materials.
  4. Set up directional lighting, especially if I am undertaking work with texture, pattern , shape and form.
  5. Practice mark-making every day, especially curving and flowing lines.
  6. Look carefully at scale, size and underlying structure.
  7. Proportion is vitally important. Plan out your work, and practice it until it becomes second nature.
  8. DON’T GIVE UP!!!! I CAN DRAW.

FLORAL RESEARCH

I thought it prudent of me to research some of my personal favourite artworks incorporating Flowers. I have always found it important to immerse myself in the design of the past to be able to create designs for the future. How can I go about my visual and handwritten research? My chosen images will all have specific aspects/facets of interest that I wish to explore; mark-making, observational drawing, painting, stitch, print, continuous line drawing and collage will allow me to create a visually rich and creative body of research, enabling me to hone my final designs.

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HENRI MATISSE, SAFRANO ROSES AT THE WINDOW, 1925, OIL ON CANVAS

FAUVISM, POST-IMPRESSIONISM

Why have I chosen this? Only recently have I come to appreciate Matisse, previously thinking his work was amateur at best. Today, I master at his beautiful and diverse range of mark-making qualities found with his colourful and expressive opus. I will endeavour to create my own range of floral/bloom studies inspired by Matisse.

Aspects to explore: Line and Colour

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EDOUARD MANET, FLOWERS IN A CRYSTAL VASE, 1882, OIL ON CANVAS

IMPRESSIONISM, REALISM

Why have I chosen this? Manet is one of my all time favourite artists, and is considered one of the fathers of Modert Art. His natural progression from Realism into Impressionism lifted his work to another level. When looking at his work you are transported to a time and place in which you can smell, see, touch and taste we he did at the time. Time to sketch in the style of Manet.

Aspects to explore: Brushstrokes and realism.

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VINCENT VAN GOGH, IRISES, 1889, OIL ON CANVAS

REALISM, POST-IMPRESSIONISM, EXPRESSIONISM

Why have I chosen this? Van Gogh, although now extremely commercial and well known, has always been a favourite of mine. I tend to prefer his lesser known work, it exudes a more intimate and personal documentation between the thin line of madness and genius. His expressive fluid lines have always tantalised me to take a journey through every square inch of his work.

Aspects to explore: Texture, line and pattern

KEEFE

 

GEORGIA O’KEEFFE, RED CANNA, 1924, OIL ON CANVAS

AMERICAN MODERNISM, ABSTRACT ART, MODERNISM

Why have I chosen this? Although not the biggest fan of O’Keeffe’s work, I admire the beautiful etherial qualities of her more abstract work. A lot of people have speculated  her abstract floral designs have a deeper meaning; flowers being a metaphor for the female reproductive organs, specifically the vulva. Her use of colour is incredible.

Aspects to explore: Colour co-ordination, layering, abstraction

HANS

HANS BOLLONGIER, STILL LIFE WITH FLOWERS, 1639, OIL ON CANVAS

Why have I chosen this? I had not previously heard of this artist, but knew about the Dutch Golden Age, especially the work of The Dutch Masters such as BOSCH, VERMEER, HALS & RIJN. The mastery of observational skills found within this time period is infectious to me; imagine what I could complete with skills such as this!! A BUSY BLOOM, if ever I saw one, and absolutely perfect to explore for this project. Rich, earthy, yet subdued colours draw the views in…touch me, feel me and desire me.

Aspects to explore:  Observational drawing, colour theory

MORRIS

WILLIAM MORRIS, IRISES, YELLOW AND COBALT BLUE, CIRCA 1890, PRINT

Why have I chosen this? Morris is a master of pattern and colour, and my chosen design incorporates some of my favourite subject matter found within artwork…IRISES & BIRDS. I wonder if I can research books/workshops allowing me to learn and study how to master observing these subject areas.

Aspects to explore: Photoshop, Illustrator, workshops

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OLILON REDON, BOUQUET OF FLOWERS, 1900-05, PASTEL ON PAPER

Why have I chosen this?  I adore the subtleties within the floral works of Redon; pastel on paper allows a rich and subdued quality to live in symbiosis It’s as if individual aspects of the painting are allowed to live as one, but ultimately marry together to create a vision of beauty and simplicity.

Aspects to explore: Oil/pastel, observational study, colour co-ordination

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CLAUDE MONET, WATERLILLIES, 1916, OIL ON CANVAS

Why have I chosen this? Possibly one of the most famous paintings studying a floral motif. I specifically chose one of the slightly less known of the series, primarily for it’s juxtaposition and vibrant use of colour. The floral aspect is both highly observational and stylised.

Aspects to explore: Stylisation, observational studies, colour theory

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JAN DAVIDSZ DE HEEM, FESTOON WITH FLOWERS, 1660-70, OIL ON CANVAS

Why have I chosen this? Possibly one of the most magnificent floral studies I have ever seen. The marriage between the intense colour and monotone nature of the black only adds to the vibrancy and life-force of the painting.

Aspects to explore: Juxtaposition of individual studies, contrast exploration

Having discussed the brief in detail, I now find myself wanting to find out more about the Symbolism, History and multi-dimensionality of the flower through the subject of Art & Design. The next stop is to find out more about my chosen Trend…BUSY BLOOMS.