Degree show critique

Degree Shows Critique

The third year textiles degree show as expected, it had a very positive and energy filling impact on me. From the moment I stepped into the room I started to get inspired by everything. Impressive the professional overall look of everybody’s work. Making a quick analysis I’m pretty sure I liked half of the designs I saw, and for example, this doesn’t happen to me in a retail shop etc.

The 2 designer I liked the most (among others) are:

Gwen LLoyd Thomas


Philippa Renshaw


Trends in WGSN

WGSN is an online trend forecasting company in the creative industry of textiles, fashion, interior etc. founded in 1998 in West London by brothers Julian and Marc Worth.  They give analysis and research service to retailers and the industry. As they say ‘We define what’s next so you can make smarter decisions today’. For a designer it is very important to know the market and future trends, not necessarily to follow them but to be aware of them in order to make conscious business choices because in the end monetizing our work is equally important.

In my work related to the Urban Beat theme I considered two of the future trends of WGSN’s S/S 2018:

      1.Mix ’n’ match graphics go back-to-basics, with simple geometrics and hand-drawn motifs coming together for a playful textile collection. Drop shadows and over-printing create a three-dimensional feel, ideal for rugs and throws. Stripes can be worked in multicolors or broken up with diagonal lines for a contrasting look.

Mix N Mach

I took inspiration from the Mix’ n’ mach trend in my illustrator designs in a combination of simple geometrics of manholes and bricks in a playful collection, I also reworked a classic zig zag pattern adapting it to the others design and used the drop shadow in a mechanism pattern to give a dynamic and three dimensional feel.

      2.Urban Surfaces: Fabrics take inspiration from urban surfaces, from graffiti spray-paint to rough concrete, layered graphics to painterly brush marks. Digital photographic prints mix with hand-drawn doodles for cushions, while hand-woven rugs present textured deconstructed stripes in chalky electric pastels.

Urban Surfaces

I used this trend in my Photoshop designs taking inspiration mostly from the graffiti spray-paint using the black brush tool in contrast with a yellow background, a brick construction and a layered colored photograph partially eased, for a dynamic effect.

Here’s the full trend report:

Textiles_S_S_18_Youth_Tonic (1)

Photoshop and Illustrator

Photoshop and Illustrator are both Adobe graphics programs used worldwide by designers, architects and artists in general. They have similar characteristics but vary in many ways. Here some main differences:

Photoshop is a great program for modifying already created images or graphics and it is pixel based, which means that the image is made of teeny tiny colored squares. The problem with it is that if we enlarge to much a photograph or a Photoshop based image, those squares get bigger and the photograph will become blurry.

Adobe Illustrator is vector-based software, so instead of using pixels it uses mathematical constructs to create vector objects that even if enlarged infinitely will still keep the same image quality as it does if it’s scaled down. This is the reason that Illustrator is used often to create logos or anything that may need to be printed or displayed at different sizes no matter the size in which you created it in the first place.

A You Tube explanation of the differences:

The two software combined are enough to create a whatever shapes and design our mind can imagine and another amazing thing about them is that the majority of the commands are the same in both so once you’ve learned one it will get easier to learn the second. There are some important basic tools to learn and a huge amount of tutorials on You Tube to demonstrate them. I’ll post here some of them that have been very useful for me.


This is a good starting point for a beginner:


The pen tool is one of the most important tools in both softwares and explains it very well:

The rotate tool that, for example, helps building petals around a center to create a flower maintaining the proportions and distance from the center and the other petals:

Pattern generator is a tool that helps easily to create a perfect repeat instead of using a clipping mask which can be a bit more complicated in the beginning:

Another important method that I’ve learned lately was how to transform a CMYK/RGB color in Panton color:

Mood Board and Color Board

Once chosen the most appropriate images that best defined my Theme, I uploaded and started manipulating them in Photoshop. In order to create smooth looking boards I used tools as the rubber, merge tool, magic wand, brush and crop tool and resized the images to create the effect of a unified look, almost as a single photograph on the page.

Mood Board

A Mood Board is an arrangement of images, materials, text, etc., a type of collage of key images to get inspired and it’s a very useful tool to evoke or project a particular style or concept:

Mood Board

Color Board

A color board is still a collage of images that can give a general idea of the topic given, like the mood board but it has an added important element, colors. The colors, in combination of the chosen pictures give the visual outcome we were searching for.

Once selected the images, I used the Color Picker tool to select the most significant colors and I ended up with seven. I then put them in a vertical sequence, in a mechanism patterned color palette. The palette serves both for the finishing touch of the Color Board as to use it as a reference for the future designs to come. I indeed insert it alongside my every art board to assign the proper colors (and their gradients) to the design objects I was creating.

Color Board

Color Palette idea:

Another great way to make a color palette ColorSnap. It’s enough to upload a photograph and they create it automatically in a few seconds. Then you can either stick with it or they give you the opportunity to change the palette by selecting other colors or tones, for example I inserted my Color Board and this was the result:


And Hailpixel is another fun way of creating one in a very simple and quick way.



The digital module of my final year’s project aims to introduce digital skills through CAD, Illustrator and Photoshop, and creative processes. Being given three hypothetical themes we had to choose one and follow a micro design development process (DDP) in order to produce theme related designs and be able to stick to the brief.

I chose ‘Urban Beat‘: Urban beat depicts a dynamic raw energy with a gritty undertone. A modern – metro – an edgy course, cool approach to design. Street strength / graffiti / industrial materials.

The words I chose to define Urban Beat are: industrial, gritty, graffiti, concrete and dynamic.

The first step was to understand the brief and the theme requirements in order to begin an image research based on the values I’ve chosen to represent:

The second step was to choose the most appropriate ones and begin the creation of a Mood Board and Color Board that would include a big part of the shapes and colors that we would most need to create the future design.

In my research I came across an architectural artist that began to inspire me, Eduardo Paolozzi:

First Presentation

Since the beginning of the course I have undertaken an exploratory path where every technique was a new experience and adventure.

Printing and stitching were completely new to me, while drawing and even mark making were on a much higher level than I ever practiced before. While working on them, I started to have more confidence and self-awareness and I began to face my potential and my weaknesses.

The wire workshop and the hand book making gave me a taste of ‘Field’ and before me started to unfold a world of possibilities that make me more enthusiastic for the things to come.

Stitching, Dyeing, Heat printing, Hand book making and wire workshop. Mark making and drawing

The Collection Series Finale (Subject yr 1)


Created by Oliver Goldstick ‘The Collection’ is a Franco-Welsh series co-produced by Amazon and BBC . It’s an 8 part fashion drama set in Paris after the Second World War of 1947 and shot in Wales thanks to the Welsh government which, citing Selwyn Roberts words from the Q&A session, it helped enormously funding the production.

Starring: Richard Coyle, Tom Riley, Mamie Gummer, Max Deacon, Jenna Thiam, Frances de la Tour.

Maison Sabine is run by two brothers, Paul Sabine (Richard Coyle) very good in business and head of the fashion house, Claude Sabine (Tom Riley) the most talented but who leaves in the shadow of his brother, and their mother. Internal rivalries, betrayals and a thriller element arouses interest in the public while the outfits and haute couture dresses seem to take the stage from the main characters, at least for those particularly interested in fashion and textiles.

Q&A with Kate Croft (Producer), Selwyn Roberts (Producer) and Dearbhla Walsh (Lead Director) in conversation with Natasha Hale:


The aim of the cast was to recreate the authenticity of the Paris post war period, especially regarding the outfit. Therefor a 10 people team worked night and day for 14 weeks producing outfits each with unique designs while others came from London, Paris and Rome reaching a total number of 1200 pieces.

I think that the series it’s a real value for those interested in the postwar period and relative costumes and I’m happy I could attend the preview of the Finale (Cardiff – 20/10/16) before it’s showcase on Amazon.


An inspirational walk – Cardiff Arcades (Subject yr 1)

Pad Deco Boutiquelamps

Artist – Kerrie Brown

Cardiff is also known as the ‘City of arcades’for the highest number of indoor shopping arcades in the whole UK (total length of 797m, 2,655 ft.). The style is mostly Victorian and Edwardian, it feels like stepping back in time. Inside, you can walk around a wide variety of shops. Due to my interest of study, one has caught my attention in particular, the Pad Deco Boutique. It is known to exhibit artisan-made products and fabulous home interiors made by well-known or emerging artists selected from all around the world.

When I walk through the city center (or wherever I am actually), I find it inevitable to stop at every step just to refresh my eyes with other artists work. And it’s everywhere, in a painting, a dress or a little brick in the wall, the list is endless. In this case, I found inspiration in three artists.

  • Kerrie Brown with her colorful and sophisticated pillows. I admire how she was able to maintain a sense of fun touch.
  • Missoni is an eternal classic which inspires every year with its distinctive style of a bold combination between stripes and colours.
  • Last but not the least, the vibrant and exotic fabrics from Swarm Design, from which I could’t take my eyes off, wondering about the colour palette and the way he might have used photoshop. A great result for the tropical trend.
Artist – Missoni
Artist – Swarm Design

Inside Cardiff Castle (Subject yr 1)

The first task for the class was for us to divide in groups and walk around the city to get to know each other better and discover Cardiff’s beauties. We firstly choose Cardiff’s Symbol: The Castle.

Once you arrive in Cardiff, the first thing to catch your attention is the Castle which is located right in the city center at the entrance of a huge park, Bute Park. The fortification was originally built late 11th century then rebuilt and adjusted in time to become as we see it now. Cardiff Castle has been involved in several conflicts during history, the last one during the Second World War  when its outer walls became an air raid shelters (structures for the protection of non-combatants as well as combatants against enemy attacks from the air – Wikipedia). In 1766 the Castle was handed to the Bute family who gave it in tribute to the city of Cardiff in 1947. At first it hosted the National College of Music and Drama and from 1974 became Wales’ most popular attraction. Right next to the Castle there is a ‘taxi boat’ that goes from Bute Park till the heart of Cardiff Bay guiding tourists and locals through the famous River Taff of the Welsh Capital.

View of the Trebuchet and the Castle apartments in the back


View of the Norman Keep and the North Gate inside the walls
Tunnels within the walls

A first visit to the Castle it’s certainly recommended, better if accompanied with the audio guide. The most curious and unexpected spectacle were the tunnels inside the outer walls, not immediately recognizable. These were used as well for refugee during the Second World War for the people of Cardiff. At the sound of the sirens up to 1800 people could fastly access the cold and wet tunnels which provided kitchens, toilets, first aid posts and dormitories but people had to bring their own sheets and blankets from home.

The Arab Room
Texture making on the floor of the wall

Like all suggestive and historical places, Cardiff Castle it’s a cauldron of inspiration for artists and mostly for surface designers where they can see motifs in the most unexpected places. 🙂