Saturday, 12 November 2011

The start of the design process

It feels so good to be designing again! I can't wait to start testing some of my ideas on fabric both digitally and in the wet print workshop. Here are a few designs which are beginning to form 'mini' collections...

Thursday, 13 October 2011

New drawings!

Third year is well underway and I have been constantly experimenting and drawing from my research on the theme 'flight.' After a lot of testing I have started to move onto bigger drawings and compositions, this is where I'm up to...

Taking inspiration from 'Ikat' to distort the images of hot air balloons

Close up

Combining lino cut shapes with some fighting male spoonbills

One section of a long composition

Hopefully more to come, plus the beginnings of the design process!

Friday, 30 September 2011

Valencia purchases!

I went on holiday to Valencia over summer and loved the ceramics over there (I'm a bit obsessed with ceramics at the moment anyway.) So I bought a couple of items as alternatives to regular souvenirs; but I would love to make my own pottery for fun again, as I did it when I was younger, but feel I'd get much more out of it now. We also visited a huge aquarium which also had lots of wetland birds which have great quirks and character - perfect for my current drawing project!

Ceramic bowl - Valencia

Ceramic jug - Valencian pattern

Tiles from Mercado Central


Monday, 26 September 2011

Summer work

Over the summer, we were asked to produce three boards of research to inspire our third year work, along with a research file and to start drawing. My theme is loosely based around flight, looking at hot air balloons, birds and planes, in many different ways. This year I really want to develop a way of working with a combination of hand and digital processes, adding elements of metallics and texture. All of my work will be aimed towards the domestic interiors market in a variety of forms, but I really want to hold onto the fun and playful style I developed last year, as I feel it works well for me and I enjoy doing it.

Inspiration and Influences

'Textiles' - colour, fabric, texture


Thursday, 22 September 2011

Sanderson Cushion

I've done a lot of dressmaking before, and yes I can make a cushion, but not how my Mum makes them - they turn out beautiful. So i asked her to show me her technique and wanted to make my own with some lovely Sanderson fabric from the 50's collection, in particular, Park Life. I want to start slowly building up my soft furnishing making skills to a high standard, to go alongside my design skills, as I feel this will help my design work and may prove useful in the future.

Zip and piping cord

Front almost completed

Covered buttons

Finished cushion!

Finished cushion

Monday, 19 September 2011

Photography Course

A few weeks ago I went on a photography course with my mum, having the aim to get off auto, as I had a great camera for my 21st but haven't used it to its full potential. The day was a lot to take in, but I've learnt some really great techniques that I will continue to use. I think photography could be a really great hobby to have as a sideline to my textile work. Here are some of the photos, none of which are great, but they were all (but the last one) experiments at Snowshill Manor on the day.

Shooting in a dark room without flash

Shooting in a dark room without flash

Background focus

Foreground focus

Foreground focus

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Dixon Turner/ Newmor Work Placement

I completed my three week work placement with Dixon Turner (UK name) or Newmor (International name) a couple of weeks ago now, but have been too busy since to blog about it! It's amazing how such a big contract wallcoverings company can be tucked away in little old Welshpool! The experience was definitely quite a contrast to working at Timorous Beasties (see the blog post here ) as it has so many departments and you have to think how things would look in hotels, offices and public spaces instead of homes.

I was shown around the factory on the first day which illustrates just how vast the production is! All of the wallcoverings are vinyl based and embossed to give hard wearing, textured finishes. All of the design work is done by just a handful of designers, which can be hand drawn or worked on a programme called AVA, which is digitally printed to test the results and then sent through to the Colourists at the proof press. The Colourists mix up the dyes by hand to give the same overall feeling as the digital sample, this is then sent to production. The company also do 'specials' for companies such as John Lewis, and 'You Chooses' where clients ask for a specific design and colour combination - so they are definitely kept on their toes!

Newmor Design Studio

Whilst at the company, one of my main tasks was to conduct a sales analysis and produce a display board to present the findings. Using my findings, I was then asked to re-colour one of the plain shade cards, 'Matrix,' taking off irrelevant colours, rearranging the palette and introducing new colours to update it. I did this using a programme called AVA which is quite complex but very useful, and the digital printer. This task involved many stages and reviews but was very satisfying when I could see the results.

One of my sales analysis boards

The digital printer for sampling

Amongst other tasks, I spent three days with the colourists, where I was asked to colour match digital samples for the new domestic range. I really enjoyed this as it was very hands on and messy! However, it was also great to see another aspect of the company and get to grips with the machinery and raw materials. It was also exciting to see how my own colours turned out as each layer of the design built up. I'm hoping I may see one of my colourways in the final cut!

Colourist Ann and the dye mixing bench

The dye bench

Russel and the proof press

I had a great experience at Newmor, learnt so much and can't thank everyone enough for welcoming me and helping me soak up lots of knowledge! Take a look at the Newmor website.

(I haven't put too many photos of the work I undertook here as much of it is yet to be released and I'd hate to ruin the surprise!)

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Bristol Balloon Fiesta!

I had a great visit to the Bristol Balloon Fiesta at the weekend (apart from the very long traffic jam at the end of the night!) We were lucky enough that the mass balloon take off happened as the weather wasn't looking too cheery and the night glow where the balloon captains put their burners on in time to music was a very strange and almost eery experience! I've decided to loosely base my next project on flight so these photos should give me some great inspiration...

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

360 degrees of cake!

I visited Columbia Road flower market at the weekend, along with the beautiful flowers, there were lots of tiny independent shops where I could have bought everything if I had the money! However, stumbling upon this print, which I saw online a while ago, made my day!

360 degrees of cake, Linus Kraemer

A very successful purchase that now needs to be framed.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Back at Sasha Interiors

I love my job! I'm back at my Summer job from last year, Sasha Interiors in Hereford. It's great seeing all the new fabrics and wallpapers since last year. One of my first tasks was to produce a mood board displaying the new Harlequin 'Anoushka' collection to freshen up the showroom and advertise our free design service. Plus it's a fun job and helps me improve my display skills!

I also love the new Harlequin Boutique wallpapers, especially Silhouette, and the new Sanderson Collection, in particular, Park Life.

Harlequin - 'Silhouette'

Sanderson - 'Park Life'

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Work placement at Timorous Beasties

I am now back home after a five week work placement at Timorous Beasties' studio in Glasgow. I was pleasantly surprised at how impressive Glasgow city centre was and how vibrant and exciting it feels...where i was staying was another matter! However, my work placement was a great learning experience and is going to prove invaluable.

My everyday duties involved dealing with sample requests and sample stock, assisting with the preparation of screens, assisting with printing and drying the designs, as well as some design tasks on Photoshop. I was grateful for the design based tasks as I didn't expect to get this opportunity and learnt new techniques in Photoshop which will be useful in the future. I also really enjoyed doing some test prints as I received so many useful tips from Gavin who conducts all the hand printing. Another really enjoyable task was correcting the shade of one of the colours for a complex design 'Oriental Orchid' which involved adding dye gradually and doing a test print each time until the correct colour was achieved, and the difference this slight alteration made was incredible.

Drying Timorous Beasties' 'Grand Thistle' 

Gumming a screen

Test printing

The final colour match

Seeing the full range of designs in person was also a great opportunity, the visual games the company play with their designs and the skill of drawing and quality of prints, grounds and fabrics is very motivating and inspiring in terms of starting to think about my third year. Have a look:

John and Gavin printing Timorous Beasties' 'Glasgow Toile'

Timorous Beasties' 'Glasgow Toile' on the print table

Selection of screens

Boxed artwork

I start my next work placement in August with Newmor, a wallcoverings company based in Wales - let's hope I learn just as much!

This post has been quite a bit of an essay so I'll upload some photos of what I saw outside of work soon.