Reflection on Constellation at Level 5

In term 1, I chose a study group with a slightly different theme to those that I chose in first year. I was very lucky and got my top choice all three times! I chose Postanthropocentric Practices because I wanted to do something slightly different, to see if I would enjoy it. I did enjoy the study groups, but I did find the concepts more difficult than those of the groups in first year (Ashley Morgan and Cath Davies’ groups), I think because it was more conceptual than what I was used to! I just had to spend a little longer getting my head around the theories and ideas. My formative essay did use some of the theories we studied, so overall I would say trying something new was a success! I was also able to use the theories to relate back to my subject, textiles. My essay was about how the environment is affected by the processes of printing and dying, and made myself more aware of how the techniques that I use affect the environment. I want to be more environmentally friendly in the future, in both my practice and in my home life, because it is important to me that everyone tries their best to be more environmentally friendly. I feel that every small change, even if it’s just putting one more tin in the recycling, makes a difference. I hope that in my next project, I can find ways to be more responsible for what I make and that I know where all or the majority of my materials come from and whether they are recycled or not.

When we returned in term 2, it was decision time on what I wanted to write my dissertation about. Having spent three of the four weeks we had to fill in the form in India during the field module, I felt like I didn’t really have time to figure it out, as it wasn’t at the top of my priorities whilst on the other side of the world! Originally I decided to look at comparing the interior design of palaces in the UK and palaces in India. This was because we had seen a few palaces whilst on the trip to India, and the decoration is vastly different to that of similar places I had been to in the UK. Different rooms often had entirely different colour schemes and themes, and in one palace there was even a mirror room! Every surface was covered in reflective pieces, the floor, the walls and the ceiling as well as all the furniture! I soon realised, after doing some research on palaces, that palaces, however impressive and pretty, didn’t really interest me enough to write about them. I’m more intrigued by the average household, and all the different styles and tastes within interior design. In my subject, designing for interiors is always the area I head towards when we are given a brief. I’m longing for the day when I can decorate a whole house however I like!

For my dissertation, I have decided to research why we buy objects – material culture and consumerism within interior design. Having previously studied sociology, looking at how other people influence the decisions people make and why people do things interests me. From what I have already researched, I have discovered that there can be so many different meanings for the same object, depending on who owns the object. If an object is an heirloom for example, it has memories of the previous owner attached to it. But if there is an identical copy which someone else owns, it could just be something that the owner likes the look of. Social class or gender could affect what an object’s meaning is too, and this is one of the things I hope to learn more about as I continue to read and research further. How we decorate our homes also represents our personalities, just like what we choose to wear and how we do our hair and make up. What someone wears tells others things about that person’s personality or views, sometimes subtly or sometimes very obviously. The same basic principle applies in the home, even with tidiness for example. A messy, cluttered house tends to give off the impression that whoever lives there is unorganised, and that they hang on to things, be it physical or figuratively. Whereas a tidy house would imply that they are organised and perhaps more of a professional than those in the untidy house. Aesthetics of objects also have an influence on what someone buys, and in my proposal, I used the example of an Apple Watch. As the watch was designed to go alongside the iPhone, it needed to be designed in the same way, using the same materials, other wise it would probably not have sold as well. In the home, it may be even more precise, as the object needs to fit in with the theme that has been chosen within a room and unlike fashion, interior design isn’t as interchangeable, as most people only decorate every few years at the most!

At first, I found getting into the research difficult to start and get into, and because I changed my subject, I had a bit less time to find resources; but as time went on I knew I had to get on with it, and once I got into reading and writing, I found it easier than I thought I would. However, I think I should have started earlier as I found myself getting quite stressed – it was a lesson learnt! I am excited to research more into my dissertation subject and I will definitely start writing in plenty of time next time around!

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A Reflection on Making Connections

At the start of this project, I was intrigued by designing for children because I hadn’t done it before, and in particular, I hadn’t really considered designing for boys. I grew up with a little brother, so had a sort of idea of what boys enjoyed. To give myself more of an idea of boys interior’s, I researched on WGSN and looked at shops and brands who sell children’s interiors. I discovered that there are more products for girls, perhaps because of the stereotype that interior design or nice looking things are for girls. This was exactly the reason I wanted to design for boys – to get away from pinks and use bright colours!

In the autumn term, my theme was quite wide, including gardening as well as creepy crawlies. After a few samples involving garden tools and vegetables, I realised that young boys wouldn’t want their bedrooms covered in vegetables – in fact in most cases they would probably hate it! As for the garden tools – I concluded that they probably wouldn’t be interested in those either, it’s more of an adult design than for children.

My collection has designs that involve digital design, print and stitch, some more than others as appropriate. I started off in stitch, learning how to use the digital stitch software and machines. I enjoyed learning a new technique, and got a digitally stitched bee out of it! While I wasn’t learning digital, I was using stitch techniques I learnt in first year and created another bee. I think this was the point that I decided I wanted to focus on bugs, as most boys have an explorer in their nature, and discovering bugs fulfils that sense of exploration.

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Digitally Stitched Bee
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Free Machine Embroidered Bee

 

This term, I didn’t visit the stitch room very often, in fact only once to make a digitally stitched appliqué of a ladybird, that would perhaps be the feature point of a cushion within my collection. I didn’t want to involve too much stitch in this collection, as I was wary of the stitch making it too ‘girly’ which is normally a negative thing for a young boy. This is why I used appliqué, so the whole bug wasn’t completely stitched.

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Digital Stitch Appliqué Ladybird

Print is where the vegetable and garden tools samples were created, and I screen printed a couple of designs. I am glad that I realised quite early on that bugs were to be the focus of the collection, I just needed to explore which bugs to use in my designs and how they would be drawn. I did a few drawings of bees, snails, ladybirds and some other bugs, and with a couple, in particular the bee, I did a detailed botanical drawing at first and then gradually simplified the bug. I think this was a successful way of drawing bugs for boys, as it took into account the features of each insect, but it was suitable for children. I did some lino prints of bees in the autumn term, but for me, the outcome wasn’t the type of design I wanted to create, so I decided to stick with screen printing and maybe explore other printing methods.

This term, I decided to give potato printing a go! I used potatoes that had been forgotten about so were no good to eat, and carved little insects into them. I was pleased with the outcome of my potato prints, however I think I should have done them in more than just black. At the time, all I was using them for was to scan in and create designs for screens, but I could have created some lovely prints in colour. The screen prints that resulted from the potato prints however, were successful! I really liked the texture that the potatoes gave to the designs, and I liked how it was unpredictable with each print. I added french knots to some of the bugs as eyes to give them a little character.

Towards the end of the term, I started to develop some digital designs using Illustrator, focusing on bees, ladybirds, caterpillars and spiders. For the bee and ladybird, I used motifs similar to those from the potato prints, simply because I was pleased with how they looked and was happy to keep that motif.

I am very pleased with my digital designs, and I impressed myself, as I had hardly used Photoshop and Illustrator since the digital module in first year. It came back to me very quickly! I like my use of simple shapes, and the change in scale used to create the designs. One of my favourites is the one that features both bees and ladybirds, as it brings all the other separate designs together, so a customer could have something in that design and then one of the bee designs and one of the ladybird designs, and it would work. I also really like the leaves that are just an outline – which happened completely by accident! It gives a focus to the caterpillars, which was ideal as the focus of the collection is on the bugs. However, I would like to go back into my digital designs and add some texture into a few parts of the designs, as quite a lot of Scion’s designs involve texture.

Looking back on the module as a whole, there are lots of things I am happy with, such as my appliqué ladybird, and a lot of my digital designs, but there are things I could improve on. I need to draw more, to develop my motifs more. I think I could also go back to screen printing and create some prints that match with my digital designs, giving a more complete and matching feeling to the collection. I have learnt that designing for children is harder than it looks, and that things can’t be left until last minute anymore. Planning ahead is the key to avoiding stress!

Displacement Maps

To show what my designs would look like on real items, I can use Photoshop to transpose my designs onto the objects and furnishings they have been designed for.

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The cushion was my first attempt at creating a displacement map, and I am really pleased with it! It took a few watches of the tutorial but I eventually got the hang of it. I think it’s a really effective way of showing what a design will look like in situ!

I really like the design I have put onto the blind! I think it really suits the blind, but perhaps the repeat would look better slightly smaller, to fit more of it in. The repeat on the bed definitely needs to be smaller, as hardly any ladybirds fit on! I like how the image I chose features colours very similar to those in the design.

The patterns featured on the curtains co-ordinate with the design on the blind, and I think they work very well on the curtains, because they are both stripes, that use a feature of the original pattern.

Chelsea Harbour Interior Showrooms

On Thursday, the whole Level 5 cohort took a trip down to London, primarily to visit Chelsea Harbour Interior Showrooms. The building itself was beautiful, comprised of three atriums with the showrooms around the edges over multiple floors.

I found myself particularly drawn to fabrics with stitch on them, because I enjoy texture. I had forgotten how much I like to feel fabrics! I spent a lot of time making oohs and aahs at the feel of materials throughout the day. The first things I saw which I loved were the cushions pictured below – I loved the colours and style of imagery, and could imagine owning this pair!

Something I saw a lot of was textured carpets/rugs, where the height of the carpet varies to create interesting shapes and shadows, and they were mostly geometric. I also really loved this feather covered wall!

These fabrics really reminded me of Josef Frank’s designs, with the bright, contrasting colours!

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I loved both of these fabrics, and I think the one with the pink background was my favourite of the whole day! I loved how the pattern was created with a straight stitch, just up and down, creating a rough outline to the motifs – as well as adoring the colours. I like the floral fabric because of all the embroidery stitches used – it would have never occurred to me to design something using only hand stitching.

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The orange and blue cushions stood out to me because of the colours – they work well alongside the designs, as well as the trims (which I am really attracted to!). I loved the floral cushions, as they reminded me of cross stitch, which is becoming popular again! It also reminded me of a pixelated image, a simplified version of a picture – but not normally done on purpose! I really wanted to get myself one of these!

I also came across these designs, from a collection called ‘Jaipur’. It reminded me of my time in Jaipur during the second field module, and I think the essence of Jaipur was captured within the collection.

I fell in love with this chair! The foiling combined with the blue teal colour are to die for – there were so many things at the showrooms I wanted to buy!

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I think the day at the Chelsea Harbour Interior Showrooms was useful for me, as it made me remember what I enjoy about textiles, as well as seeing current trends and how collections are put together. I think it has informed and inspired some of my future work too!

Repeating Patterns

After a talk on different types and structures of repeats, we completed a task showing three different types of repeating patterns. I created a block, half drop and mirrored half drop repeat, using a simple spider motif.

We were also shown how to create a perfectly repeating pattern using the lightbox. It was useful to learn this, as I now understand how a croquis can turn into a perfect repeat (with a lot of adjusting!).

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My Perfectly Repeating Bee Pattern

Potato Print Screen Prints!

After using my scanned in potato prints to create designs in Photoshop, I exposed them to a screen so I could print them.

I am pleased with my prints, especially the caterpillars and bee/ladybird designs that use two different colours. I didn’t plan to use two different colours for them but managed to do so by taping out the parts I didn’t want printed, and above, you can see the caterpillar design halfway through. I realised just before printing that for the ladybirds and bees to be more accurate I should have exposed the opposite parts but I think it works well even though the colour is where it should be black! I like the motifs I have used here, and think I will continue to use them.

Colour Matching

As part of our croquis exercises, we had to find a design that came in two or more colourways, paint up colour chips for each and compare dominant and similar colours. The design I chose is from a collection by Scion, my chosen hypothetical design brief company. I chose this design because it was one I could get a few free sample of as well as me loving owls!

The dominant colour in each colour way is different on each design, and gives each one a different feel. For example, the colour way with the pale pink gives a girly feel to the design, whereas the ones with blue and green feel more boyish or grown up. Apart from the base beige and white, there is one blue that is consistent throughout all four colourways, linking them together. My favourite colour way is the third shown, with the mustard yellow and blues and greens. I am really loving that tone of yellow at the moment!