Sunday, 22 May 2016

Unit X | Evaluation

With my final hand in approaching, I feel happy and content with the work I have produced and the amount I have achieved over the last few months. My practice has developed hugely; by broadening my specialism, I have been able to learn vital skills that have not only enabled me to become a more well-rounded designer, but also to fully express my ideas. Unit X has given me the opportunity to continue to be experimental with my work and I’m pleased that I’ve managed to explore areas that I was unable to during past projects.

Even though my specialism is in woven fabrics, I have always set myself the goal of further developing my understanding towards printed designs and how the two techniques can produce different outcomes. In the past, I have struggled to fully portray my ideas through weave, as a lot of my work focuses on illustrative mark making and individual shape development. However, during Unit X I have find that by using a Jacquard loom, rather than a Dobby, and focusing my time in the print room, I have been able to develop my ideas properly. I feel that by combining these two areas, I now know who I am and where I sit as a designer in this huge industry. I’ve found it incredibly refreshing to combine these two ways in working as I’ve learned that one can often influence the other.

During the Practice Unit, my awareness for sustainable interior textiles grew and although this isn’t a theme I have focused on as much during Unit X, I have been certain to use yarns and fabrics which portray this. Linen and Cotton fabric have allowed me to create samples consisting of the same organic feel and natural look that I’ve always loved. I also learned that I thoroughly enjoyed creating statement upholstery and therefore this was something I wanted to continue into Unit X. Through collaboration with a 3D student, I have been able to create an upholstery collection which we are both proud of and excited to complete for the degree show.

I’ve loved being able to experiment with scale and ways to add a tactile element to my work, through screen printing; using pigment dyes so the colour sits on the surface of the fabric, or layering flocking onto my samples has added more detail to my designs, yet maintained the sophisticated and simplistic side to my work.

Market and trend research has also been invaluable during this unit. As my aim has been to reinvent mid-century design, I’ve found it important to ensure I combine present day elements into my work too. By looking at current colour trends and what else is available within the interior market, it has been extremely useful in order to help me build a strong and professional collection. It has also helped me consider where I envisage my work sitting within the industry, and therefore discover the best ways to display and advertise my work.

I am confident that I have produced a portfolio which shows a variety of techniques, styles and my versatility as a designer. I’m looking forward to life after graduation, making connections at the Degree Show and using the skills I’ve learned within my role as a Studio Design Assistant at a wallpaper company from July!

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Practice Unit | Evaluation

As the Practice Unit has unfolded, I feel that my work has finally begun to develop in the direction I've been hoping for. My concept was to explore sustainability within the interior textiles market, whilst also further developing my skills as a designer and hone in on preferences and strengths.  I wanted to ensure that I used the opportunities I had, to create a strong collection of samples for my portfolio, yet also learn the new techniques which I'd not previously managed. 

Bradford Collection

For the first project of Third Year, I'm relatively pleased with how the work evolved. I feel that overall, I managed to further my knowledge in various areas hugely, yet I was unable to create the samples that I had in mind. Working with the linen was thoroughly enjoyable, but I had a lot of difficulties understanding how to produce the ideas in my head, and due to this I'm concerned that my samples are too simple. 
On the other hand, I do feel that my collection portrays the natural concept well; the linen and chenille compliment each other well and the colour palette is a strong representation of my initial research.
My awareness towards sustainable textiles has grown enormously and from using this project to focus on the environment, it has confirmed my passion for sustainable interior textiles. This area has definitely made me stronger and more certain with what I want, as a designer.
I found threading up on block suitable for this project however for future ideas, I think it may be too restrictive. I learned that I struggle when working with a patterned warp, no matter how simple it may be, and so in the future I want to work with one colour warps, to allow me to be as playful as I want with the weft.
Overview of the complete collection and close up of a selection
Visualisation of sample submitted for competition

Dash and Miller Collection

I started this project by reflecting on what areas I struggled with or elements I didn't achieve during the last project, so that I could work from them during this project. There were many highs and lows, but in hindsight I feel that I worked well with the negatives and as a result, have developed hugely as a designer.
From the feedback I received at the end of the Bradford brief, I felt it important to challenge myself by working with fine yarn, to compare the difference with previous projects. Initially, this was a huge struggle for me. I started with an organzine warp however due to the severity of its weight, I changed to working with 2/80s cotton in silver, and in the end I really enjoyed it. Using a structure such as extra weft, allowed me to translate my ideas into woven fabrics in the way I've always hoped yet never managed to achieve.
I loved the more adventurous and creative element that the fashion aspect provided, experimenting with embroidery was exciting and a novelty, however completing this project has confirmed that I definitely see myself in the interiors market.

Jacket collection designed for Peter Pilotto

Michael Kidner Collection

The Kidner brief has by far been my favourite and most successful brief, throughout this unit. It has allowed me to incorporate my passion for sustainability, whilst also further develop my understanding regarding extra weft, thus producing samples that I am proud of. 
Colour is so important to me when designing, it was intriguing for me to approach it with an alternative outlook and exciting to see how the work evolved.
I worked with a combination of embroidery threads and 2/60s cotton, as well as the same cotton warp as before; I'd enjoyed it so much previously and wanted to produce a fine yarn based collection. Doing this allowed me to strengthen my understanding of extra weft and develop my practice in the right direction, as much as possible.

Visualisations of samples as upholstery on sofa

Overall, I'm really proud of how far I've come since September. I've been able to not only develop my skills as a designer, but also focus on what is important to me and what areas I want to continue. I'm looking forward to experimenting more during Unit X, in terms of extra weft and sustainable upholstery - for the first time, I feel confident in where my future is going. 

Practice Unit | Michael Kidner

Design Development

Recently, I've spent a lot of time away from the loom and experimenting with the designs I want to produce. I find it a lot easier to play around with concepts on Photoshop, before getting onto the loom, so that way I know what I will weave. I've enjoyed working with my designs and understanding what colours work well together - it's important to me that the colours are striking and compliment each other, yet in a contrasting way.

I've learned that mixing the unusual makes a statement. For example, green and red are complimentary colours and therefore create an illusion, however by altering the tine and using pink instead of red, the contrast is increased further. I've really enjoyed discovering my own colour combinations and I'm looking forward to see how they look when woven!

Designs created using Photoshop - bold, striking, contrasting, simple

Context | Visualisations

Having finished my time on the loom, I feel it is important to experiment with visualisations, so that I am clear regarding the context for my work. Throughout the project, I've been designing my samples with the idea of upholstery in mind, however now I have woven them, I am unsure whether this is the correct area for them.

Sample two as upholstery on an armchair 
After seeing my work displayed on an armchair, there is an element that I'm not completely happy about - is it the fact it's upholstery or is it the chair? I decided to explore this further by changing my route and experimented with my work as a rug. It is obvious that my samples are statement pieces, therefore I've always been interested how they would work as a one off decorative item. 

Sample three as a rug - image from The Rug Company

I feel that this works slightly better than the previous option, however I think the designs are too dramatic at this scale. I think I still prefer the idea of my work as upholstery, therefore by changing the furniture, I hope the two will compliment each other.

Before settling on my final visualisations, I discovered a chair designed by Bros Bouroullec, called the Alcove Chair. Finding this item has made me consider the 'statement' aspect of my work; I think it would be interesting to upholster my work on a piece of furniture as unusual as this chair, to not only make a statement but also create a reaction. 

Alcove Chair with a variety of upholstery suggestions
I've also spent a little time developing testers on the jacquard; I feel it is vital to further my understanding around this loom, as well as explore alternative designs which can be created on it. A design I created a few weeks ago, caused me to further develop it and see how it responded on the jacquard.

I thoroughly enjoyed using the jacquard! It is a process I want to use during Unit X, so it was important I was aware of how to use it now, as well as see the fabric I was able to produce.  Given time, I think I could further develop some of my final samples using the jacquard, and create an alternative collection of upholstery!

Michael Kidner | Influential Practitioners

Sally Greaves-Lord

Window Installation - Issey Miyake

Sally Greaves-Lord is a British Textile Designer and it is her window installation for Issey Miyake which I've found great interest in. She has proved to me how important the combination of colours can be and how you don't have to over complicate things to get a reaction. I've found a similarity between the way she has broken down her work and the way I'm splitting up mine, however I particularly like how she has only used 2 blocks on each fabric strip. 

Suzanne Cleo Antonelli

Antonelli is a graphic designer who, similarly to me, uses simple shapes to create effect.

Discovering her work has allowed me to consider creating samples which have two sections with different designs on them. I can experiment with altering the background colour, the shapes and the size of the blocks. Do the blocks need to be equal in size or different...I'm excited to experiment!

Unknown - found on her tumblr

Practice Unit | Michael Kidner

Michael Kidner was hugely influential during the Op Art movement, as well as Bridget Riley and Victor Vasarely. They used colour and patterns to create a disorientating and three-dimensional effect for the viewer. 
[left] Vasarely - Unknown [right] Riley - Fission

From studying their work, I've noticed a common similarity - a simplicity of shapes. In both Riley's and Vasarely's work (as well as Kidner's), it is clear that the focus of their work is on the combination of colours and composition, and I believe this to be important when creating optical illusions. 

In my own designs, I want the focus to be on the colour and therefore by removing interfering elements which would distract from the focus, such as complex shapes, I can ensure that my fabrics portray the concept effectively. I've spent a lot of time developing the shapes I want to use in my work and have decided on a limited number, so not to over complicate the designs. 

When referring back to Michael Kidner's paintings, I was particularly drawn to his Wave collection; incorporating stripes and splitting up his patterns is a simple yet effective way to experiment with the composition and play with the audience's eye. 

[left] Butterfly Wings, 1966 [right] Red China, 1966

Practice Unit | Michael Kidner

Colour studies | Sustainability

After the lecture with the Kidner family, the one thing which stayed with me the most was how important Kidner believed colour to be. 

'I wanted to approach colour rationally, give it a job to do and let the unconscious look after itself.' Kidner 

Michael Kidner was an oil painter. Having researched into this method of art, I discovered that oil paints are often metal-laden and deliver harsh toxins to both our body and our water supply. Whether Kidner was aware of these environmentally harmful elements or not, I felt it necessary to move his concepts into a more contemporary world. 
At the lecture, his family emphasised the importance of sharing his work with future generations and continuing his legacy. I plan to explore alternative ways of doing this; creating a sustainable collection will allow me to share his art but in a more environmentally friendly way. The final piece will maintain his integrity, yet be influenced and affected by the surroundings (eg. sunlight) and therefore may evolve and change over time. This will add an alternative quality and appeal to the collection. I plan to aim my designs at an interior market, particularly upholstery. 

3 sets of primaries - 1967

I also want to research further into colour theories and make this the emphasis within my work; for the final piece all my yarns will be naturally dyed. 

Colour theory is something I find incredibly interesting - particularly colour harmony; it engages the viewer, provides visual interest and a sense of order. I want to focus on complimentary colours within colour harmony, and experiment with how combinations of colours can create varying effects. 

Dash and Miller | Influential Practitioners

Maia Bergman 

Originally from Argentina and a Central Saint Martins Alumni, the print for fashion designer has transformed womenswear using an abundance of beads. What has drawn me to her work was her use of beading in an erratic way, to produce a beautiful overall pattern.

Graduate Collection -
I think the addition of embroidery into my work is a concept which excites me; it's a great way for me to create the tactile surfaces I envisage, as well as use different beads to represent the intricate details I previously discussed. 

Rebecca Ough

I've also taken great inspiration from past TIP student, Rebecca Ough. Having seen her work progress last year and then her final collection at the Degree Show, I can see great similarities in the way we work. Not only is her work based predominantly around extra weft, she also finds huge inspiration from architectural structures and geometric shapes. Her specialism is in woven fabrics for interiors - a market audience which I'm also interested in. 

Graduate Collection, woven fabric samples - MMU Degree Show 2015
Rebecca has also inspired me to incorporate metallic yarns into my work - I plan to experiment with varying ways to do this, to represent the industrial element of my work.