Since before Christmas, I knew that I wanted to do a project based on my trip to Bolivia in 2012. I realised that I hadn’t done anything to do with the expedition creatively, and I have always looked back on the trip fondly because I loved it and I really want to go back to South America! I loved the bright colours, which I think has instilled an enjoyment of bright colours in me since the trip.
My research kind of began on the trip, as I used the photos that I took while on the trip as a big source of inspiration, filling in any gaps with images found online. I also watched some documentaries, some more useful than others. I also researched multiple artists, ranging from paper cut and collage artists to illustrators whose styles I liked and was inspired by. I researched artists and designers who use bright colours and quite sharp shapes, as this is what I wanted to feature in my collection. As well as this, I looked at the Print and Pattern books to gain design inspiration, looking at how other designers put their patterns together to create unique designs.
I started to create my mood boards after looking at trends on WGSN and researching my competitors, and a theme on WGSN that really suits my brief is the A/W 18/19 Worldhood one, which is bright, colourful and textural – perfect for Bolivian Essence! The person who would buy my collection is someone around my age (late teens to 30), who travels or is interested in travelling and likes to buy aesthetically pleasing items like notebooks and phone cases – which are some of the products that my collection has been designed for. Therefore I researched competitors in the low to mid price range, like H&M, George at ASDA and John Lewis for the higher end of the market. From this, I learnt that there is currently a trend for quite bright designs, with a tribal geometric influence – and definitely a trend for llamas and exotic birds! I hoped at this point to take this trend further, introducing new motifs while still having the llamas and geometrics that are so popular.
At the beginning of the brief, I struggled a little to start drawing and mark making, but now that I’m at the end of it, I think my sketchbook is the most filled sketchbook I’ve ever handed in! The sketchbook goes from line drawings, to mark making, to collage/paper cuts and finally to oil pastel. Each of these elements feature in my designs, and each is a vital part of the collection. I love the depth and texture that the collages bring to the collection, and I am so glad that this came across in the designs, where the layers of paper are so clear to see. The oil pastel drawings are a very important part of the designs too and were actually a late addition to the collection after speaking with the external examiner in March. They add another texture to the designs, and I really enjoyed using oil pastel to draw with, I find it much easier and nicer to draw with than pen or pencil. The line drawings and mark making are softer background elements of the designs within the collection and are mostly what the secondary and tertiary designs are made up of.
I found taking the drawings into patterns quite difficult, as I didn’t know what to put together and what would work well. It took me a while to get into it, but once I had created a few designs, I managed to get on a roll. I found that while I was at home over Easter, I managed to get quite a lot done because I could just sit and work without many distractions, whereas in Cardiff I get quite distracted!
I am very pleased and impressed with my collection as a whole because a lot of the time during the module I felt quite stressed, but it has turned out to be great! Until a few days ago, I was very worried that none of my collection went together, but after putting them into groups I felt much better, as I could see that they do coordinate – before I was only matching ones with the same or similar motifs. I think that my colours work perfectly for the theme – bright, bold and fun, and grouping them into colours works really well.
Having the buddy system during the degree show build was very useful, as it meant that all the little jobs that needed doing could be passed onto someone else while I got on with other things that only I could do, like blogging. Halfway through the build, I felt quite stressed because I had to rearrange my space but in the end, I was still ready a couple of days early! My space is quite different to how I first imagined it, but I really like it and I think it is much more professional than my original idea. I am very happy with my display, and I like that it is a bit different because I have not used headers, giving that nod to a marketplace, and the products add that extra oomph to the collection.
All in all, although I have found it difficult and stressful at times, this module has been the one I that I have enjoyed the most over the three years of studying here, and I’m really looking forward to graduation and I’m excited to keep on designing on my own terms, whether it be as a career or on the side!