The two weeks experience in helping out the third years, while learning from them, was undoubtedly very helpful from many points of view. Besides having a good understanding of what is required for a degree show, I also shared part of the girls process, worries and curiosities. While focusing, for the most part of the experience on the show I decided to pass the last days investigating and asking questions about sources of inspiration and sneak peek into some sketchbooks. It was the days I was assigned to help Alice and I was actually very happy about it since I immediately found her designs to be very original. Lottie Cooper was among the girls I didn’t get the chance know during the buddy system but I did manage to ask her some questions in the end about her work. If I have to chose only two, it is Lottie and Alice. But I also admired Emma’s bold colour palette and Francesca’s layout and designs, which reflect, in part, my love for symmetry and an undefined but organised structure.
- Alice Hargraves:
a) Critique/comment on the development of ideas and concepts in this work: From the moment I saw her first samples I got very curious. I could understand from the colour palette that it was sea related, the patterns were organic and sinuous so they had to be of some living beings. I tried hard to associate them with something I knew but I couldn’t, so I asked her. This is how I found out about the sea slugs and as she was describing them they seemed an endless source of inspiration, and it shows throughout her samples. Even though she couldn’t find the way in getting some primary research, the secondary one seems to have been done so in dept to permit her to make of every sample a new discovery of the mysteries of the sea.
b) How successfully are the materials and techniques used to convey the concepts? I found her colour palette to be very originally chosen. You can recall it is sea inspired, but the fact that she chose a specific one, the arctic sea, makes it as original as her designs. At first glimpse, her collection just blends harmoniously. The different techniques she used in some of the samples other than digital, such as stitch and print, added the right substance interest to her designs. As she played with colours and motifs, she gave dept and movement even to her only digitally printed samples.
c) What is it about this exhibition that most impresses you? It was immediately the patterns. The colour palette reminded of the sea, which is quite an ordinary combination of colours to see, but the motifs were giving it such an interesting layout that it is not possible to walk by without stopping to discover more. Standing in her space felt like being immersed in deep sea and with the carpet on the wall felt like freedom in movement, like there was no gravity. I found her samples display to also be original since she was the only one that didn’t use a rail.
d) Briefly evaluate the presentation style of the work: The layout of the space, with most part of the walls covered in her designs, felt coherent to the theme of the sea, still keeping it harmonious and without giving the feeling of being to busy.
2. Lottie Cooper
a) Critique/comment on the development of ideas and concepts in this work: I found her designs to be very interesting, and it is not just a casual word. Her work had both a retro and a futuristic feel to me and I couldn’t precisely associate it with one style. Later on I discovered that she actually took her inspiration from the Art Deco and her love for the beetle shape, each one related to each one of her grandmothers, to whom she dedicated the entire collection. A successful combination that permitted her to have a stylish and vibrant design with a retro feel.
b) How successfully are the materials and techniques used to convey the concepts? The combination of designs and colour palette targets a high end clientele so I think that the choice of the screen printing, together with the given choice of silk dupion fabrics and wallpaper, is a coronation of an already successful collection. A handmade artefact is both appreciated and in demand from a high end clientele who is often researching unique pieces either to exhibit or that best meet their taste, and she conveyed this throughout her work.
c) What is it about this exhibition that most impresses you? It was immediately the colours, then the patterns and the sensation of not being immediately able to classify the style. I was impressed by the choice of merging two inspirational sources that I would have never even thought to put together – also ingeniously taking from one of them, the beetle bug, her vibrant colour palette. In fact, I admire the choice in picking some bright colours for entire designs (considering the age of her clientele) and managing to adapt it, in my opinion, for the best, to her art Deco styled patterns.
d) Briefly evaluate the presentation style of the work: At fist glance, I thought there were two different persons exhibiting. The right and first side that caught my eye had bright coloured wallpapers and sample book while the left side had a more gentle colour palette. Overall, the work was displayed in an effective minimalist way, where the ‘minimalist’ was utterly compensated by the impact of her sophisticated colour palette and designs.
3. How do you perceive the show, generally?
The entire show had a professional feel, from the more sophisticated to the more simplistic layouts. There was much to see and in fact, I enjoyed very much taking my time in studying details of work, fabrics and sources of inspiration.
4. List 3 key things you have learnt from what you have seen overall?
- It opened my mind in what source of inspiration I can find for future collections and how to successfully put together apparently totally different once, for an original collection.
- It helped me understand the standards required for a professional layout of the final show and the variety to chose from (but not limited by).
- It made me realise even more that a successful colour palette is key, it is the first to capture people’s attention, and to experiment with it in order to find and original one.