The final show of my second year represents a big part of who I am as a designer/maker. My research led me to unexplored places, both artistically and personally. My skills extended and my confidence grew. I was so happy and proud for receiving the acknowledgement, among my class mates, for the professional attitude and practice. This was an unexpected satisfaction that made me realise where I stand and gave me a push to do even better for my last yer.
It has been a long way, changing designs, adding and taking away but in the end it was all worth it. The company I chose as inspiration, the Timorous Beasties have a very unique style from which I loved the play of bold and vibrant colours on neutrals, reinterpreted in a Gothic feel. I enjoyed every step of the way and I am so pleased with the final outcome.
This year has been full of exciting experiences, learning new skills and making new friends. It started very challenging since the first term of subject and it got even more with field, which I enjoyed to bits. For field I chose the chair project ‘Are You Sitting Comfortably’, for the first term, and ‘Mind Your Own Business’ for the second. As it appears, and I can confirm, I chose the most demanding once, but considering the amount of things I’ve learned, I would chose them over and over again. The chair projects was was a group of two one, making sure that each one had either a product designer or a maker. The difficulty about it was that my partner didn’t show up, besides a couple of times, and I ended up completing it on my own. At first I was almost sure I wouldn’t make it but instead it turned out that all the hard work of the last year had showed its results. And with even harder work I completed some other tutorials and workshops to have the necessary skills to get the job done. I enjoyed both the manuality in dealing with materials and the digital process in making a ready CNC-able file to cut all the pieces needed.
The business project, on the other side, was a group of five one, each one of us motivated to take the most of the experience and to come up with a successful idea. For the practical part of the project I could apply what previously learned with chair, but the skills I have acquired are mainly theoretical. I worked well and productively in the group, where I found my natural place as Deputy Leader, acting as a binding force between the team members and establishing a common language whilst ensuring that the team was well tuned. This was really important to understand myself better, putting to focus my strengths and weaknesses. Setting up a business from scratch was also important since I’m planning in doing a business plan as my final Dissertation. I tried to take the most of both projects and I think my marks and feedback reflect that. Besides all, it was a true honour to work with Richard Morris who I didn’t know in the beginning but ended up to admire.
In the beginning I didn’t really know how this could directly relate to my subject, but as a matter of fact I ended up doing an LED Wallcovering that reflected most of the skills I acquired during field. Everything just naturally fit in place and I’m very happy with my journey so far. Without realising I found myself being both a textile and a maker, with the eager to do not only digital patterns but also useful objects that I can apply my designs to. Field has opened me a huge horizon of possibilities that I intend to use by gathering more knowledge and doing more workshops over the summer. I intend to further develop methods to combine textiles, digital and the making and I’m almost certain that I wouldn’t be here with this mind set and experience if it wasn’t for this amazing idea of field.
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.
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.
The second week started in a more dynamic way then how the previous ended. The deadline was approaching fast and we could feel it in the air. I spent the first two days helping around some of the girls to drill, paint frames and shelves and cleaning the common spaces and painting tools. But most of all I was happy to help Kyah with the layout of her work. We moved around her pillows, chair and fabrics to find the most appropriate one. I really appreciated her asking my opinion and actually follow it. We discussed why a piece had to go in a place rather then another and why and all this made me realise how important is that every detail fells in the right place for a coherent visual of the whole. Colour seems to be the first thing that catches the eye. It was exciting to see all the different layouts around the room that were taking shape.
Besides Kyah’s layout, the most important thing I realised is how many details there are to consider for the show, directly and indirectly. In fact, I decided to make a list of materials and tools needed for the degree show and what to consider for the final display of the work. There were so many little and big things, all necessary to get the job done for the best:
For the walls: filler, sand paper, white paint for common areas, paint for own space, various dimensions paintbrushes, paint roller, paint lead for roller, sand sponge to clean the tools, brown tape for the corners in between panels, paper tape, drill.
For the fabric samples: 2-3 double side tape, 2-3 magic tape, scissors, rotary cutter, cutting pad, needle, embroidery needle to pull in the edges of the stitch in the fabric samples, headers.
Brand: Business cards, envelopes for cv, fabric samples to send with cv, stickers for headers and envelops, post cards with own design, expositor.
The last days were super busy trying to get every aspect of the show sorted. I got assigned to a new buddy, Alice and started by painting her hangers, start cleaning her space and measuring and cutting some headers for her A2 samples that needed to be made to measure. I then mounted and stitched her beautiful sea blue samples. They were so long I was barely seeing where I was stitching so I just focused on the foot of the stitching machine to get it strait.
After all the technical questions of the last days and coming across Alice’s designs I naturally started to ask her about her inspiration for the collection and started analysing them from a technical point of view. I find her designs to be very original and at all obvious, with shapes I never came across with and It was very interesting to find out about sea slugs. Truly everything can be of inspiration. On the same day I found out about Sonia and that her fabrics would arrive the day of the deadline. Since she needed help I offered to make her two pillows so I spent a bit of time with Maggie teaching me to stitch a cushion case with a zip I got so happy I’ve learned it that I already ordered some fabric to make my own for the summative show.
The last day was kind of crazy! I helped Alice to sort out her square samples till Sonia’s fabrics came in and by lunch time I was fighting with the fabric of her pillows that were not allowing me to pass the needles through and stick the zip in place. After some struggles I managed to find a tricky solution which worked out for the best in the end, allowing me to sort them out an hour before the deadline. I only had to be careful at all the needles coming out from the fabric and take the away one by one while stitching. All together it took me double the time expected from the prototype of the day before:
When I thought the running stopped, it actually just began after a third year student came in to get her layout sorted one hour before the deadline. People started gathering around her to help in any way and for the last half an hour we created an industrial production line. It was actually beautiful to see people coming together like that to help somebody else. A classmate, half worried half amused, made us swear that nobody would do this next year.
And there we were, sharing the moment of the deadline with the third years’ last minutes as students, tired and happy to have been part of their achievement in having a professional looking show:
Before and after:
I wanted and managed to be involved in, I think, every aspect I could about the degree show, over these two weeks and I feel more in control of what is expected from us and how to organise it. In fact, I always prefer to have a global understanding of everything before going into detail. It was a huge opportunity to learn what is about to come, but also the variety of possibilities to start thinking about from now. I’ve learned more than I imagined and it turned out to be a place where I got to interact with people from my own class which I never really had conversations with. Amazing experience, thank you.
I found the Buddy system to be a very smart and direct way to help and learn in the same time and I took advantage of it every single day. Two weeks seems a perfect time frame as well. It should be mandatory for every course!
For how much the tutors talked about being an intense and hard working two weeks, day one took me by surprise anyway. We moved tables, chairs and displays the whole day. Actually by the time I started unscrewing the boards with the drill at lunch time, it was almost relaxing! Even though I was in comfortable clothes I understood I had to wear something even more appropriate. This was also the day I met my buddy, Kyah Moore, a lovely person and a professional artist. We introduced ourselves and immediately set an appointment for the next day to start cleaning her wall and fill the wholes in preparation for the painting. After finishing to put down all the panels in our room, though, I actually managed to get her wall done. Cleaned the wall, taped the corners, did filling and sanding, ready for the paint. I did paint a wall before but never did a proper preparation with the appropriate materials, so I started my learning process right away.
While my classmate was painting the wall, I spend the second day in the stitching room doing the headers for my buddy’s samples. If you are precise it is an easy process but to make sure I was doing it the best I could, I had to consider a few important elements: the size of the stitch, the colour of the thread, if to stitch from border to border or leave a cm space from the edges and at what distance to stitch from the fabric. And seeing a few other girl’s headers I’m happy I took a moment to consider this details accurately, which resulted in a professional look.
IMany third years were in the stitching room preparing their samples and it was very interesting to hear them chatting about each one’s different choices in materials or other things for the final show. Since I spent many hours in there, I was was listening about or asking something new every day:
I didn’t know about the letters and how textile students would send their CV’s to companies. Or about the choice to include some fabric samples or usb’s containing the portfolio. I really liked Kyah’s semi transparent/opaque letters where you could partially see the designs of her samples through, it stand out. I might consider it for the next year.
Contrado seems to be the favourite place to buy fabrics from,, around 3-4 days delivery and have 40% off for students. In my internship at Ciment Pleating I met a student who was using Bags of Love instead, which I found out to be identical to Contrado but without the discount. Well, I bought the swatches and I’m happy I can actually familiarise already with the different fabrics. They are very helpful because they show the name/s of the fibre/s and the % used. You can actually have the feeling of the fabric and see how the same design changes throughout the different fabrics.
I also noticed that most of the girls had the same headers, even though some were using a drown side and some the plain on, so I asked how so. I discovered that they are sold in packs of minimum 50 pieces so the girls were putting money together and divide them to only have the 30-35 needed, including spare ones in case something would go wrong.
I also asked about what they would advice me to work on this summer in preparation for the new year. To my surprise, everybody kept insisting on how important it is to focus on the essay because once the year started I wouldn’t have much time for it anymore. This was for me a very important thing to learn since I thought that focusing on the future collection would be the priority.
I found out about the stickers on the headers, and saw the first business cards.
Once finished Kyah’s samples she didn’t need me anymore for the day so I asked everybody if they needed me and ended up helping ironing and taping Jenny’s samples with Kim.
My buddy was well organised and already ahead with her work and she didn’t need me for the rest of the week but asked me instead to help her friend Emma for whom I stitched the headers the same way I did for Kyah. Emma used a very strong colour palette that stick in my had. I admire the impact that had on me and I love some of her samples. I then spent the rest of the day helping Steve to raise and fix some panels around the sink, and a few other girls with minor jobs on their samples. The last hour I dedicated it to continue helping Jenny. I found out she had 400 samples to sort out. It was kind of mind blowing the huge difference between Jenny’s work and the total amount of 30 samples actually required from everybody for the show. I knew she had a business but it still felt a lot. After investigating I found out she had more or less the same amount of designs but she ordered them in more colourways, hanging each colourway together in a waterfall display in a rigid header. She explained me how they are sourced from recycled materials and has a magnet mechanism that allows her to take away or add samples. A more expensive but long lasting and reusable headers than the cardboard ones used by most people.
The fourth and last day of the first week I spent it helping a a bit Jenny but mostly painting with Cookie the common spaces of the degree room and cleaning around. I’m so excited in imagining myself in the new room from September, having my own space. I already pictured myself in Francesca’s space drawing and losing myself watching out of the window. And with this smile on my face I started my weekend.
The more we go forward with the course, the more in dept details there are to consider when making a collection. I designed mine, of interior fabrics and wall coverings, inspired by the audacious Timorous Beasties which I also ended to admire very much because of how they challenge the status quo and their way to translate it into stunning designs.
Here’s my collection:
Formative Feedback. Points to improve and my considerations:
Make more clear the final 6 out of 12 designs.
I sometimes find it difficult to understand when to answer a request at 100% how it is asked for and when I can fly more freely and eventually go that mile more that it is expected from us. This time, the effort put in representing some of my designs in mini collections didn’t go as hoped so I’m re-evaluating the whole layout and separate distinctly my best samples for display, as asked.
Work on colour co-ordinates in different colour palette then the one chosen for your target market. For example pastels. Consider WGSM!
I did not understand that the requirement was to create 2 alternative colour co-ordinates (of one pattern), that had to be different from the one chosen for my collection. So I took action by starting researching about oncoming trend in WGSN. I chose for my Colour coordinates the S/S 2019 and A/W 2019/2020 trend for interiors. I also reconsidered my colour palette which i realised it had too many colours and I revisited my Colour Board. I took away two colours and gave a more uniform overall look to the collection which I am now very pleased about.
Reinvent the quilted fabrics, it is too neat, be more dangerous.
I believe that my quilted sample was indeed to neat for my theme. I focused and gave too much credit to my motif, forgetting to take a step back and look at the overall look of my sample. At first I thought I will remake it from scratch but since I really loved the result so far I decided to work on it instead. To a very symmetric and uniform pattern I decided to add a new colour and an asymmetric final layer in hand stitch that has actually changed the sample making it more unpredictable.
Work on more scale variations to add excitement.
I experimented with different scale variations. My CAD visuals, in this case, can give a better idea about the actual dimensions of my patterns, since I also considered some of my samples to be in large scale. In my actual samples, though, I chose to give an understanding of the entire pattern rather that just a small piece that would not be sufficient to give the visual of the whole.
More experimental drawing and blending ideas together on paper/substrates. Experiment with more variations of line thickness, personalise it. Find your hand writing.
It was only after this comment that I realised that I tend to use the same line thickness in many of the drawings so I took some inspiration from nature and started experimenting both in my sketchbook and with my digital designs. The result was surprising, it already added a first element of interest more and created a dept to the designs. I also used collage in my sketchbook which gave me new ideas of texture and 3 dimensional effects to apply to my final samples, that reflect more the shocking feel of my theme.
Use more range of materials.
I used different materials within the collection and further experiments. Fabrics such as linen, leatherit and velvet. I also used materials less obvious in textiles, such as plexiglass, mdf and LID lights for my wallcovering.
Consider the use of smart textiles in the developing collection and talk about it even if you can not apply it.
I am already doing a research regarding smart textiles because I think there is potential to include them in my future development for the 3rd year. I mostly intend to use electronics in order to transform my light wall covering into an interactive artefact that will go beyond a simple source of light or a decorative purpose. In fact, I followed a workshop that allowed me to better understand the technology and potential behind it. In short, by adding a conductive material to an object, it can trigger a certain sound associated to it, when a person touches that point. So for example, drawing a wave I can decide to associate to it the actual sound of a wave, permitting a deeper connection between the object and its possessor. The amazing thing is that this can also be applied to textiles because it has been already invented a conductive thread that can be stitched into a garment with a simple needle or stitching machine.
Consider thermachromic dyes and add a touch of florescent colouring or iridescent bright for a ‘pop’ colour.
I’m considering thermachromic dyes for a future development to pursue further the interaction with objects. In this case it would be a purely aesthetic one where the object, after treating it with thermachromic dyes or paint, it would change colour to the touch in reaction to a temperature change. Regarding florescent paints I already ordered a few samples and decided to experiment with it on one of the samples of my final collection, on the frayed linen body of the ‘Butterfly and net’ design. The goal is to use it as part of the layout of a pattern where the fluorescent motifs are almost invisible in day light but become visible in a different (or same) patter in the dark, for an unexpected and original effect. There aren’t many colours to chose from, only around seven, and some remain bright for longer then others, such as the colour green, mostly known because of the fluorescent stars used for the kids room.
Improve your CAD visuals. They have to be immaculate
I already watched several tutorials online. There are many places to properly learn how to make a realistic Mock-up. Nonetheless, I had some difficulties making one from scratch so I have contacted Charlie and she has been very helpful in showing me her methods. As it seems, there isn’t only one right way, so experimentation is crucial in order to find the best that suits the situation. Now I am finally pleased with the outcome and feel way more confident with it and it shows in the new CAD visuals I worked on. It takes a lot of time to fix every little detail but in the end it is absolutely worth it in seeing such a realistic layout. I will keep experimenting and find new methods to improve my work even more.
I also decided to make a real cushion and better understand timing and the process involved. From the order of the fabric, the digital result on fabric and the making of the cushion.
it would be good to see some of your own work on video and /or time-lapse processes.
I did my first attempt in creating a time-lapse video and video on Photoshop. I found some very useful tutorials online and hopefully I will end up learning it to a high standard over the summer holidays. Same for my videos. Since I found it a good practice, I decided to adopt it more for next year considering that it could be an integral part of my portfolio.
The logo wasn’t mentioned in my feedback, but since it was in other people’s feedback I considered that it was time for me as well to start experimenting with colours, shapes and name. The third years show was also inspirational. In fact I took all their business cards and made photographs. My first attempt, a couple of years ago, did gave me a nice result but I never felt confident about it and I actually always avoided it. It is only now that I feel I have the right mindset and tools to successfully face this task. I opted for my name, for now, and adapted it to my collection rather than making a generic one which I will work on already from this summer. By far, I am very pleased with the result.
I started my second year without knowing who Timorous Beasties and the more I was learning about them, the more I started to admire their work. Si I took advantage of my time in London, right after my internship, and decided to spend some hours in their shop. It was mind blowing to see all their work in one place. The person in charge of the shop was very happy to show me around and discuss about the designers and where they take their inspiration from. I also took a couple of samples and just lost my self in there for a while touching all the wallpapers and fabrics I could. This first person experience was totally different from mt online and library research, and whenever I can integrated in my future work I will definitely do it.
At the beginning of 2018, the fashion design course invited the owner of Uk’s number one pleating company to speak to students about their job and contribution to the fashion world. Ciment Pleating, founded in 1925 is also the oldest in Uk, with customers all around the world.
After a few demonstrations of how pleating works and seeing some of the works on their website I got very intrigued about it. I already did a fabric/paper manipulation workshop in my first year and I stayed since, with the desire to explore this techniques more in dept one day. When the opportunity came by with Ciment Pleating I immediately applied for an internship, together with a fashion design student, who is also my mum. We had an amazing experience among three great people: Joe, Gary and Terry!
I started my first day by sharing with them my desire to make the most of my experience there and that whatever work I could be useful for they just had to ask. I also asked them to tell me whenever I would make their lives harder instead of actually being useful. My goal from the start was not only to learn about the art of pleating but also learn about the organisation regarding their services. Being a small family business, I had the opportunity to see more aspects of their daily organisation which for me was equally important. From the moment of the order, through how the fabrics were being recorded and sorted between the pleaters, till the final packaging and delivery, as well as how they advertise themselves and make the business grow. I want to familiarise more and more with the business aspect, not only the artistic one, in view of writing a business plan for my dissertation, and consider a potential business for the future.
The day was starting at 8 am till 4 pm and it was always flying by. I observed, as in other work places I’ve been, that people are often concentrated on their work and besides following up the interns’ true curiosity and will to learn, people don’t have time to loose in also nurture the interns’ interest in learning. It is important, therefore, to show interest from the start, if it is that the case. To observe the rhythm and processes of the workers and take initiative in helping here and there where they most obviously need it. That is exactly what I did from the moment I started and was highly appreciated. I managed to ask infinite questions and the guys were always prompt to help me understand a process or share some tips. There were moments where they were even stopping for a few minutes from their job just to better show me a passage of a process or share some curiosities.
I also took several technical notes because there is a precise order to follow, while pleating, and some precise characteristics to consider. The process of pleating requires cardboard, thick around 190-240 gsm which is then folded following precise patterns of lines that connect initially placed dots all around the edges of the paper. The paper is then pleated by hand one small section at the time. It is like making a big origami, considering that once it is folded with the fabric placed in between the two cardboard layers, the fabric will end up being around three times smaller in size, depending on the design pattern. So for example, if somebody needs to have 1 meter of a pleated fabric, they need three meters of initial fabric. For each design there has to be two card boards that will then be placed one upon another, with the fabric in the middle, then shrinked in the pleating position, eventually rolled, fixed with a stripe of fabric at each end and ready to go into the steamer for half an hour. The steamer has the temperature of boiling water which makes it possible to try it at home. Seeing Terry and Gary, the process of pleating seems quite simple and quick at first glimpse, but it actually requires strength and precision that comes as second nature to them as consequence of years of experience. I realised that while pleating some of my fabrics. This is how I came with the understanding in why there are only man hand pleating. And instead I found out to be wrong when Terry was telling me about a pleating company in France where there are mostly women workers.
I enjoyed working there for many reasons, most importantly because of how they made us a part of their every day work life for the whole time, sharing knowledge and personal life. By the second day everybody knew everybody’s coffee or tea preferences, and I very much appreciate it since I know it doesn’t happen everywhere or to everybody. In fact, a girl I know about, wasn’t that happy in her experience there and didn’t learn much. We were helping pleating from day one, which made me realise that every experience it is only what you make of it, and we took the most we could. I liked the simplicity of the work place, full of rolls from top to bottom.
I really appreciated how Joe was concerned about recycling every little package that couldn’t be reused, taking time to detach the tape from the card and throwing each material in its container. She was responsible for taking orders, their delivery and machine pleating. It is always amazing to see old machines work properly and it was curious how the workers also learned over the years to repair them their-selves because there isn’t actually nobody else that knows how they work and how to fix them when something breaks. The machines only do ‘simple’ plating while everything else is made by hand because surprisingly (or not), even the cutting edge technology of machines still can not beat the the hand made level of craftsmanship.
Hand pleated samples:
Machine pleated samples:
By the last days I was taking the packages that were coming in,nsIt was really exciting to see fabrics coming in from Alexander McQueen, Victoria Beckham, Katrantzou, among others, and be a part, even for a bit, of their prototyping process for a new line of clothes. For privacy reasons I can not share any of these but I did make some of my own samples, both hand and machine pleated:
Some of my hand pleated samples:
Photograph and Video of pleating machines:
I definitely recommend either an internship or a quick stop by their company in Potters Bar. There will be definitely someone there who will take a few minutes to answer some questions while having the fortune to see experts at work in the ancient art of paper manipulation.
I started my second year full of enthusiasm, as my first year, but when asked to actually chose a Company and design a collection for it I honestly felt lost for the whole first week. Not only I didn’t truly understand my style until then but I also didn’t know the name of more then a few interior companies. I always admired the designs i was seeing in books, journals or web but never deeply researched the why and the whos. This is when I started an extensive research in the library which resulted in an expansion of my knowledge, but most of all in a better understanding of who I am as a surface designer.
The break for field brought me quite far away from Subject and deep into making and into a business mind set. Making a chair from scratch was an amazing achievement and creating a product to sell in a creative group of people, contributed enormously to realise how much further I can push my skills, or motivation to learn new ones, in order to finish a project at my best. This is when I found myself being half way through being a Surface Designer and a Maker. I particularly enjoy the engineering part of designing a functional product and not only an aesthetically pleasant one.
Coming back to Subject made me feel a bit restricted because most of our background in Textiles is stitch and print while there are many other workshops around the University that could bring textiles to a completely different level. So I decided to bring in my Maker skills, acquired by chasing workshops, and combine it with my ongoing collection. This is how the idea of the Led Wall Panel came to life. By combining the function of a lamp with the decorative aesthetics of a wallpaper. I chose Mdf and plexiglass because they are strong and versatile materials, easily cut and engraved with the laser cutter, while the second is also capable to spread the light across its surface.
I chose Timorous Beasties for many reasons but mostly because of the shocking, but still sober, aesthetic of their designs and the combination of neutral and vivid colours giving a sophisticated and Gothic feel to their creations. After a wider research and deconstruction of Damask motifs, it led me to reinterpret its structure in my designs by bringing together organic and abstract elements in an organised layout, which also define my character.
I always had difficulties in choosing a colour palette, in the sense that I can not really pick them by eye or instinctively so I found a good system that works great for me. In this case I firstly created my mood and colour board and then picked the main colours in Photoshop ensuring, as well, that I end up with the right tones. I experimented hugely with different colour ways and coordination and now I can safely say I am much more confident in facing a similar task. Scale was also a major consideration in my designs, mostly for the wall coverings, where I’m keen in using large scale, so I decided to print my Totem design and see it in it’s real dimension on a 3 meter long roll. I also played with borders and placement, to have more varieties to chose from, even though it represents a side variation of my collection.
The desk space was really helpful in organising my work both on the table and the board. I wish I had this opportunity for the third term as well, and maybe this could also be an incentive for everybody to work more in University and allow everybody else to be part of the work in progress of others. Not only for the final work on the day of the submission. I think that class mates should be one of the resources that help and push us develop our skills and motivations.
I was, and still am, very happy to say that I didn’t change much of my brief since term one, just refined it slightly and adapt it to a work in progress that never really stopped in my head, not even during field. I added the specification of the Damask structure and the use of the word modern concerning the style. The initial research has been fundamental and quite exhaustive and allowed me this term to almost immediately go further and start analyse my Company’s designs more in depth and most of all, start experimenting with my own designs, techniques and materials. Considering that my target market is a more than 30 years old professional with a medium high income, I considered as materials mainly linen, velvet and leather which I also found quite easy to work with after adjusting the tools based on each one’s features.
The London Design Week was a full immersion of inspiration which I plan on repeating every year. I admired and analysed materials, techniques and portfolios. I studied some of the portfolios page by page, mostly the arrangement of the coordinates. Each colour way had a different arrangement of coordinates and I brought this experience back in the way I mounted my designs. I also took inspiration from the labelling and the fact that they included on it small symbols of the products those designs were meant for, depending on each one’s characteristics. I also gathered a huge amount of samples, chosen based on whatsoever detail that was triggering my creativity.
I’m planing to further develop part of my creations by integrating screen printing, more specifically foiling and flocking in order to create a more tactile texture and add my personal touch of sophistication. I also want to revisit my Led Wall Panel prototype by extending its dimensions and play with colour. Workshops permitting, I plan to also extend its function by integrating a touch pad and transform it into an interactive piece of design. I will definitely continue developing my colour skills and experiment with coordinating designs.
Overall, I had a really satisfying time since the start of my second year, always putting myself in challenging situations.
After researching about my company, and having in mind the medium high income clientele I selected my fabrics carefully already from the start and stick to it till the end of the process. More specifically, I considered linen, velvet and leather to be the most appropriate as interior fabrics, even though I didn’t exclude the possibility of having them as a wall hanging or panel as wall embellishment. Since my theme was inspired bu the Damask structure I considered Digital embroidery for some of my designs, more specifically a main and three coordinates shown in different colour ways inside my colour palette:
As wall coverings though I’ve considered paper and during my experimentation I added Mdf, which could easily be substituted with plywood, wood or other resistant but light, and plexiglass, due to its versatility. It can be easily bented, cut and most of all engraved so that the light can show the design through the engraved part. Since I prefer my designs to have some background texture I created one for my Led Wall Panel, in Illustrator, reminding of the warp and weft in the weaving of the fabric. While I cut the Mdf following the stroke of my designs arranged in a Damask structure motif. I then sanded the surface to give it an even colour:
I also manipulated my inkblots and ink pen sketches by blending them together in Photoshop creating a digital file to be then printed onto both fabric and paper for the wall covering. Regarding the first one it wasn’t possible to print in Uni due to a malfunction of the Mimaki machines we have and the impossibility to fix them in time but I do managed to have my 3 meter roll of wallpaper printed which I was so very happy about because I could see my designs taking life in full scale as imagined them in the first place:
Regarding the displacement maps I tried my best, in the time I had, to learn to place my design onto a chair or sofa but I wasn’t successful. I wish we had a quick tutorial with somebody that could take an hour or two to explain it to us and then further explore it independently. I managed anyway to do a couple and visualise the as wall coverings or pillows. I find mock ups to be fundamental in understanding how the designs would look like on a product in order to give the final scale or colour adjustments and better justify a design decision.
The London Design Week was absolutely fantastic. From the interiors of the building and how the stores were placed, to the layout of the fabrics in the common areas.
We walked store by store admiring the window displays and the various designs.
I observed that I was very much attracted by texture and embossed fabrics. There was a huge range of wallpapers, carpets, digitally printed fabrics and paper, lamps and furniture.
Passing my fingers through all those fabrics was like being in a candy store. I was trying to make photographs to every detail, where it was allowed. I observed that there was many wallpaper designs that used mixed materials and techniques such as thin bamboo sticks stitched over with zigzags to hold them in place. I then mainly focused on the sample books and their structure:
How the designs coordinate:
Textures and how colours bled into one another:
We also stopped for a quick workshop/competition where we had to draw a piece of furniture. There we met somebody that studies in Cardiff Met and we chatted for a bit.It was overall a great experience. I gathered tens of samples and put it on my agenda for the next years.