Self reflection on term 2

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.

Techniques and Materials

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:

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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:

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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.

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London Design Week

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.

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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:

The labelling:

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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.

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Week two – Work in Progress

The first days of Subject I almost felt out of place, but after going through all the first parts’ work and research done, on and around my chosen Company, the Timorous Beasties, it reminded me why I chose them in the first place. Their shocking aesthetics, the contrasting elements, and took it from there.

The boards given to us in class, to use as mood boards, helped me to have all my work in one place. As suggested by Anna, I did a weekly and daily plan to stick to, and it resulted essential to prioritise through the ideas I had, the time and the resources at my disposal in order to be able to present a collection I was happy with.

I firstly chose the images I was most inspired by in my Company’s work. Damask and vertical structures:

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I analysed them carefully. The structure, the colours, the layers:

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The more I kept studying them, to understand why I was admiring their designs so much and the more I wanted to experiment myself, so I begun choosing some of my designs and texture from term one and started manipulating them in Photoshop together with the new sketches inspired by a more in dept research of the Damask patterns.

Damask inspiration from Pinterest:

I then understood that my theme was going to be build around the damask motif, so I added it to my brief and gave it a more specific orientation than I had before.

I spent a huge amount of time experimenting with colours and I enjoyed it so much that I found it hard to stop:

Totem design in 3 ways for the process in the blog

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Week One – Back to subject

The transition from Field, back to subject, has not been smooth from the beginning. The two and a half months spent between Field and Constellation, with such different topics, brought me further away from my course then I expected. I came across not only different tutors, materials and techniques but also concepts, a wider understanding of possibilities and also a new mind set in combining them together. I made a chair from scratch and that gave me the confidence I needed to face such new challenges successfully even in a field so different from mine.

CNC chair
Anda Avramescu, CNC machining, 2017, Plywood
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Anda Avramescu, 2017, The Toolbox Chair

 

My second field, Mind Your Own Business, gave me a more inner understanding of myself, making me realise my role in a work group, my strengths, and weaknesses to work on.

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Anda Avramescu for Duplexity, 2018, Fabric bag packaging
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Duplexity, 2018, Modular desk organiser

Together they made me understand I’m not only a Textile student but a Maker and gave me the final push to chose the Business Plan as my Dissertation Proposal because. As I explained in my form, I wanted to create an artefact that would combine aesthetics with a practical, useful attribute, and besides all that I could eventually build a small business upon.

I started to consider the possible practicality of a wallpaper, as something different that its merely aesthetical function and I started imagining how I could play with light and shadows on it. The next step was considering integrating the light inside the wallpaper, which was becoming a panel and then the final idea came to life of the Led Wall Panel:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research of 10 Types of design

  1. Chintz

Used as plural of Chint, was originally woodblock painted or stained calico (cotton), with a glazed finish, produced in India from 1600 to 1800 used mainly as bed hangings and covers, draperies and quilts. They were representing mostly flowers but also other patterns in different colours, mainly represented on a white plain background. Around 1600, Portuguese and Dutch traders were bringing examples of Indian chintz into Europe on a small scale. By 1680 more than a million pieces of chintz were being imported into England per year, and a similar quantity was going to France and the Dutch Republic. These early imports were mostly used for curtains, furnishing fabrics, and bed hangings and cover. Later they have been employed on pottery (chintzware pottery) and as wallpaper too.

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2. Paisley

The paisley pattern is an ornamental design in a form of a teardrop shape with a curved upper end. Originally from Persia, it became popular in the West around the 18-19th century. In Persian, it takes its name from the shape of the fig or almond. Its English name derives from the town of Paisley in Scotland where the textiles were produced.

3. Art Nouveau

The style of Art Nouveau was inspired by natural form, mostly curves as the feminin body shape, plants and flowers. It emerged in different countries around Europe at the same time and became internationally known. It reached its maximum popularity around 1900.

Art Nouveau1Art Nouveau2

4. Toile de jouy

Toile de jouy  were originally produced in Ireland in the mid 1700, quickly became popular in Britain and France. The term ‘toile’ can be referred to both the fabric and decoration. As a pattern it consists in a repetition of one or more complex scenes of a theme, generally pastoral such as a couple having a picnic by the lake, or arrangement of flowers. It is generally a single coloured pattern on an off-white (a white colour with a grey or yellowish tinge) background.

5. Neo-classical

Neoclassicism, born in Rome in mid 1700 and meaning ‘of the highest rank’, is the name of the Western movement in the decorative arts inspired by the classical art and culture. It is based on the principles of simplicity and symmetry, seen as virtues of the arts of Rome and Greece and in opposition to the then-dominant Baroque and Rococo styles that emphasises grace, ornamentation and asymmetry.

6. Damask

Is a reversible figured fabric with a pattern formed by weaving. Derive its name from the city of Damascus where it became very popular in the early middle Ages. It lost its prestige by the 9th century, also due to its high price, but then revived in the 13th century in Western Europe. By the 14th century damask were being woven on draw looms in Italy and most of them were in one colour with a glossy satin pattern, such as gold or other metallic threads, on a duller fabric.

7. Calico Prints

It’s a woven textile originated in Calicut (India) during the 11th century. It is normally a plain coloured fabric made from unbleached and unprocessed cotton. It appears like canvas but it is less tick and due to its unfinished features, it is cheap. By the 15th century it expanded in Egypt and  by the 17th in Europe.

Early European calicoes (1680) would be cheap plain-weave white cotton fabric, cream or unbleached cotton, with a design block-printed in a red and black pattern. Poly-chromatic prints were made by using two sets of blocks and an additional blue dye. Indians preferred dark printed backgrounds while the European market preferred a pattern on a cream base. Initially the patterns represented large scale floral chintz but later, the European preference moved to smaller scale patterns.

8. Lingerie Floral

9. Little Nothings

Is a pattern that represents a gathering of one or more little undefined shapes

10. Organic Textures

A visual and/or tactile activity across a surface is a texture. When its structure it is based on irregular and random relationships over given areas, it is an organic texture. Organic also relates to the activity of a living organism. The size of the objects or lines forming the texture may vary.

 

This is a nice blog about some commonly used symbols.

 

Library Task – Journal & Book

As the first term’s research extended my knowledge about interior design company’s, so it did this term’s research concerning journals. I run through many until I came across View, which I found to be the most exhaustive in terms of giving a wider range of information accompanied with beautiful imagery. It talks about colour, materials and how this are applied both in fashion and interior with some illustration elements.

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I found some very inspiring imagery:

Texture and colour View jurnal

Most of all I focused on coordinates and texture:

Coordinates View journal

Since our University is very active in raising awareness about sustainability and recycling I came across an interesting book that shows how pieces of waste materials can be used to make amazing designs and products:

Waste- book about reusing scraps

I found it very interesting and useful mostly because I intend to use reclaimed materials, where possible, in my future designs. Mostly in my third year’s dissertation. In my field project, ‘Mind Your Own Business’ we set our values on life cycle and reclaimed materials and it is something I want to hold on too considering how polluting is the textile manufacture industry. I intend to use an unlimited amount of materials, reclaiming them from charity shops around Cardiff, and there are quite a lot. Like this I can not only create quite unique pieces of designs, but I can contribute to create awareness among other people regarding the environment and waste.