Reflection on my final major project.

 

My collection of work is inspired by Cornwall (my home county), my concept and ideas through this final project have been applied with great thought, detail and passion. I’ve always felt incredibly lucky to live so close to the sea, to incorporate this into my final work seemed like a natural progression for me. My initial exploration originated from a recent article (January 2016) when thousands of pink bottles washed up across the Porthleven Coastline. This report has lead me to delve deeper into the current issues on sea pollution and translate this into an interiors-based collection. Once I had grasped my theme I went on to research other articles surrounding this topic, this area of study was interesting yet very shocking finding the many facts and information about plastic waste in the ocean alone.

In the early stages of this project, I felt I needed to be refreshed by what I had accomplished over my time at University therefore I took some time to go through my first and second year folders. I was re-inspired by my first year workshop samples in shibori dyeing and some of the stitch speed dating techniques I had almost forgotten about. I took this all into consideration when I writing my brief, I wanted to be ambitious yet realistic in order to challenge my workshop application and development yet to consider my organisation and time management also.

My initial sketch book work stemmed from my Cornish imagery, my large body of photographs are either in a photo album which are sorted by the least favourite but still important, my smallest sketchbook with what I would consider ‘the best’ and then my inspiration board which combine fifteen plus images that cover different perspectives. I experimented with a range of drawing and marking making techniques, some of which were done using the projector to enhance the detailing and to layer drawings on top of one another. There was a point in the project where I felt undecided and lost on where to go next with my concept of pollution. That same week I came across a poster, looking for volunteers to help with a beach clean at Ogmore beach, Wales. I signed up, it was a step in the right direction to help me narrow down my ideas and it also triggered some ideas for my degree show space when coming across a lot of washed up driftwood.

In short, the whole dye process has been a challenging yet exciting journey for me. It has enabled me to understand a variety of fabrics as well considering colour, both of which are very important. Whilst in the dye lab I came across some issues involving my colour palette, I wasn’t able to create all colours from my initial palette therefore decided to create a new ‘dye lab colour palette’ these being all different tones and hues of blues. In order to create all my designs by hand I needed to be very organised with what fabric I was dying,  timings and the shibori technique required depending on the ‘family’ it belonged to.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being in the dye room, I’ve gained so much knowledge in such a short time and it’s a technique I’d love to re-visit.

Due to my collection being aimed towards the higher market area, my designs needed to be unique and bespoke. I divided the collection into three families and translated the names into Cornish. These are: 1) Arnewa meaning ‘storm’ which revolves around the dramatic rolling waves that are seen regularly over the winter months. I choose to wrap, tie and twist the fabric in order to produce unpredictable marks underlining the idea of ‘movement’. The retrained shibori marks were then adorned with free-hand machine embroidery with the use of textured yarns to add depth. Gwastya meaning ‘waste’ explores the ‘unwanted’ and ‘found’ elements on the sea shore. Some dye methods involved the use of found materials, for example I wrapped fabric around a plastic bottle, it only dyed parts of the fabric due to it floating on the surface creating some beautiful marks .I’ve incorporated found fish net and pieces of rope into my designs to suggest a hidden aspect of recycling. ;3) Gnasek meaning ‘natural’ relies on the beauty of the sea and what can come from it. For example I’ve collected shells and tied them into the fabric creating interesting abstract marks, this then decorated with free hand machine embroidery and various textured yarns. I’ve also used digital stitch for some of my designs to display exact repeats and showcase my other workshop skills. The main aim of this collection is to challenge the viewers’ initial perceptions but, with closer inspection, reveals a hidden story behind each bespoke design.

During the Easter break I went on a study trip to China with fourteen other students for eight days – I have included a blog post containing more information and imagery about my time there. The trip did take away ten days from my schedule, which had an effect on my additional consultancy work therefore I made the decision to stick with my formative grade and focus solely on the final major project. On the return flight home, I was in discussion with first year product design student James Morris about a collaborative project to have in my show, a driftwood table. I acted as James’ client, we met every Thursday leading up to the show to see the progression of the final piece, I had given him a deadline to work to and he delivered it to my show with no issues. This was an added extra to my show; it fits perfectly with my theme. This demonstrates my ability to ‘make connections’, outsource products, organisational skills and professionalism.

The handmade approach to my overall collection was also reflected in my final exhibition space, even to the last detail. I’ve used new and existing skills in the process of building my show. I have made my own wooden arms and shelf from found driftwood pieces, with the help of Nigel in the wood workshop. My logo design was created on illustrator, and then laser cut onto individual driftwood circles to be displayed on my hangers. The driftwood postcard/business card holder was made with the help from my boyfriend, the two candle holders were made by hand.  I drilled into found sea glass pieces to make buttons with a demonstration from Martin Burnell first. These buttons were displayed on my cushion, placed in my press packs as gifts and I intend to sell some when the show opens. I have really enjoyed learning new areas; I would consider myself to be an open minded and versatile person because of this.

Overall this final project has enabled me to understand and develop my own personal language as a textile designer. I’ve have come to terms with my key strengths as a designer and accepted my weaknesses, some of which can be developed after university. I have relished on setting myself challenges throughout my final project and I can honestly say I have thoroughly enjoyed this last project in so many ways. I am so proud of how far I’ve come through the three years and this is only the beginning.

 


Collaborative Project – James Morris

After my recent trip to Beijing with CSAD, I had been fortunate enough to meet many new students from other disciplines. On the return flight home I was in conversation with first year product design student James Morris about the idea of a collaborative project. We had got onto the conversation when discussing my degree show space when James suggested the idea of making a table or chair to fit my ‘sea’ theme.

We began drawing up some ideas whilst on the plane and had agreed to stay in contact over the Easter Holidays.

During the Easter break James had found a large piece of driftwood from his local beach, and sent me a picture. As you can see it stands on its own and has an interesting unique shape to it. This took about a week to dry due to it being water logged by the sea.

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We organised a brief meeting again at uni so I could gauge the size of the piece. We also discussed what type of top it would have either round, rectangular, glass, plastic or wood. Whilst cleaning it out, James was beginning to find some beautiful natural grooves inside the wood and we were able to appreciate its natural quality.

This was the last time I was going to meet with James before the deadline I had set him. Still a work in progress however James had assured me that It will be ready for the show and it was just a case of putting the top on.

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THE FINAL PIECE

James has worked incredibly hard on this piece in such a short time frame and alongside his other commitments. As his client he has shown me his professionalism, design ideas and development along the way and his ability to work towards a deadline. This has been very important to ‘make connections’ within the design world. This has helped James in many ways in preparation for his next two years at CSAD and has helped me to understand how to outsource products in order to fit a ‘theme’.  I am very pleased with the final outcome, it fits perfectly in my exhibition space.

There was one added extra towards the end, applying two coats of wood stain so that the chipboard matched the driftwood base and as you can see it made quite a big difference.

 

 


Laser cut logo

In the early stages of this project we had a professional practice lecture with Kirsty, one of the things she said was to ‘give yourself an identity’ to design a logo that reflects you as a designer. There are many things to consider whilst making one, that this will be become your ‘tag’ or ‘brand’, think about colour combinations , font , logo name and to be easy to read.

My logo design was created using my initials L.M , I practiced several times in my sketchbook before I was happy with the ‘final’ one. I transferred this design over to illustrator and played around with the line and shape of the logo until I was happy with it.

 

experimenting on illustrator with my scanned in design.

 

The final design – transferred to a CS2 file for the laser cutter programme. I wanted to my wooden hangers to be unique, to reflect that handmade quality just like my collection. I laser cut my logo design onto individually sliced driftwood circles from a piece I’d found on the beach . I had 48 pieces in total just incase some went wrong.

 

 

I took the best 30 logo tags and stuck them onto my hangers with wood glue, this whole process took me an entire day however I felt it was worth it as they all look professional and this idea has started to bring the entire collection together.

Below is an enlarged 35cmX35cm  logo design to be displayed in my final exhibition space.

I have developed good knowledge of the laser cutter from my consultancy project and have brought this skill into my degree show project which has expanded my skill set.

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Press packs

IMG_6763These are my finished press packs! Inside I’ve is my business card, my postcard, usb stick, curriculum vitae, logo sticker, my personal statement and a small gift that includes two handmade sea glass buttons. I wanted the whole press pack to reflect me as a designer and to include a ‘taste’ of my collection, which I think I’ve done successfully!

 


Study Trip to China

 

IMG_4500Around the beginning of February I expressed an email of interest for a study trip offered go to Beijing, China with the University which wrote,

I’m writing to express my keen interest in visiting and experiencing China.I feel this would be a once-in a-lifetime opportunity, one which would enable me to broaden my textiles knowledge and allow me to experience, first-hand, such an interesting culture.Being able to go to Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology will, like my trip to Morocco in 2015, enhance my creative approach to personal projects and provide me with  a new source of inspiration and enlightenment to ongoing and future projects.

Fortunately I was one of the lucky fifteen students that got a place. I received an email confirmation on Friday afternoon and needed to pay my deposit by Monday 9 am. This was such an amazing opportunity however I  also needed to consider my final major project and how it would effect my organisation. I thought this opportunity was too good to turn down and decided to go for it.

I’ll post a few images from each day, to give an idea of what I got up to.

Day 1

  • National Museum of China
  • Tiananmen Square
  • Street Food
  • Temple of Heavan – Tiatan Park

 

Day 2

  • Summer Palace
  • Group lunch at whole life resturant (Chinese food)
  • 798 Art District

Day 3

  • Welcome Ceremony with all students, tutors and professors
  • Ice breaker with BIFT buddies.
  • Visit the Ethnic Costume Museum
  • Visit Tiangong Workshop
  • Welcoming evening meal

Day 4

  • Hand drawing class
  • Visit the Forbidden City
  • Street Market for food and souvenirs

Day 5

  • Tie Dyeing Workshop
  • Fashion Show – Mirco to Wave
  • Olympic Stadium (the birds nest)
  • Traditional Chinese hotpot

Day 6

  • Enamel process workshop
  • Making and tasting traditional Chinese dumplings
  • Drinks in the evening

Day 7

  • Great Wall of China
  • Cardiff Met exhibition
  • Closing Ceremony
  • Farewell dinner

Day 8

  • Last full day in Beijing
  • Shopping at the silk markets
  • Street food market

 

This post is just a brief summary of my time in china, I found it incredibly hard to narrow down my photographs to express the highlights of my trip without posting them all. My favourite part of the whole trip was climbing The Great Wall, it was a truly amazing feeling and the views were just indescribable. It was really nice getting to know new people from different courses and the buddy system set in place couldn’t have gone better.

I’m still in contact with my buddy li yu xuan and hope to meet up with her June this year as she is coming to England to do a Masters at Tee side University .Although we were only in china for a short time, I felt we built a strong friendship and will continue to keep in touch.

I’ve been inspired in so many ways from my trip, for me the dye workshop was very influential as we were shown how they produce natural dyes and how to do unique shibori and batik designs. This area links to my degree show project, I was able to dye my own fabric which is something I’d like to add to my research folder. Not only this but when we visited the Great Wall we found a dye haus in the village, I was memorised by the beautiful drapes of dyed fabric hanging outside and overwhelmed by their exhibition inside. I’ve taken inspiration from the draped fabric and I’ve included something similar in my degree show space.

Another great thing that has come from this trip has been a collaborative project. On the flight home from China I was in discussion with first year product design student James Morris, we were talking about my degree show space and what I’d like it to look like. James came up with an idea for him to design and make me a driftwood table to be displayed in my final show, I was very keen on the idea so email Kieriene to ask if this would be okay to pursue.

to find out more visit @morrisjames1 on wordpress.

Overall it was an amazing trip, I’m really glad I had the opportunity to go, I’ve made so many memories and taken plenty of inspiration from this experience.

 

 

 

 


Quality time in the dye room …

Over the past five weeks excluding the Easter holidays I’ve been spending quality time in the dye lab. I hadn’t done any experimentation in dyeing since Level 4 so I knew this was going to be a challenge. Since looking through my first year technical folders I felt further inspired by some of my shibori samples, that for me was the starting point in this project.

After having a dye lab refresher with Steve, I was then able to set up the baths on my own every day. This included bleaching them, thoroughly cleaning them and preparing the chemicals. The first three weeks were spent creating colour recipes from my palette onto various fabrics, this was to find out what worked best with different types of dyes and fabric.

Firstly I experimented with procian and dyrect dyes using natural fabrics (for interior soft furnishings) these were linen, heavy linen, bark weave, cotton, textured cotton and moleskin. I set up three dye baths to suit my colour pallet, one with procian indigo navy, another procian raspberry and a dyrect sky blue. For each dye bath I set myself a timer for 5 minutes, 10 minutes and 25 minutes this was to find out how the dyes reacted with the fabrics, if they matched my colour pallet in the process and finding recording the different tones. From this, I found that the dyrect sky blue worked well with all fabrics chosen, the procian indigo navy matched the light blue in my pallet however the procian raspberry came out too pale. Just from one day in the dye room I was able to find out a lot about the dyes and figure out what fabrics I think will work the best  in my final collection.

After having my interim critique with  Sally and Kieriene, Sally suggested that I incorporate silks into my collection for interior sheer curtains or cushions. This was the next stage in my development and a turning point in the dye process, exploring acid dyes onto various sheer fabrics like silk habotai (light weight & medium weight) , silk bamboo, an unknown silk and synthetic silk. The synthetic silk didn’t dye as well as I thought, the shades were very light after 10 minutes and the sheen on the surface of the fabric wasn’t what I was after. The light weight habotai dyed well however the fabric was too thin to handle especially if I intend to stitch into my final samples. All in all I felt the medium silk  habotai and the silk bamboo worked the best and I’ll include both in the final collection. As well as dyeing the silks in acid dyes, I also put in some natural cellulose fabrics mentioned before which were bark weave and moleskin. The results were surprising, the colour picked up well on both fabrics and I’d like to experiment with acid dyes further.

On a different day, I went back to experimenting with procian and dyrect dyes but this time I decided to mix dyes together, this was a good decision as I was able to produce a dye bath and add more of another dye if need be. For this experiment I stuck to dyeing using different tones of blue as these colours make up the majority of my colour pallet. I produced a light blue using dyrect sky blue and a separate bath with dyrect royal blue, not all dyed fabrics matched my pallet exactly although this is all part of the process and the majority of the time I was faced with happy accidents.

I set up and recorded my experiments everyday by marking the top of each piece of paper with what fabric it was and  down the side how many minutes I dyed it for, this kept me organised which  made it easier for me to transfer my research into my sketchbook at the end of the day.

Not everything ran smoothly whilst in the dye room, especially when it came to making a new colour and then testing it onto my five final fabrics which were silk habotai meduim weight, silk bamboo, cotton sateen, bark weave and moleskin.

It was time to choose a different colour from my palette so I choose green, I mixed procian brilliant emerald with a small amount of dyrect pea green and rust brown and after a few experiments in my sketchbook I got the right colour…. or so I thought. I put barkweave, moleskin and cotton sateen in as these fabrics work best with the dyes used however after 5 minutes they came out orange? After producing the right green onto paper, I was shocked with it coming out orange onto fabric but after-all paper is a material and the dye either works with or against certain fibres. I added a few silk habotai and silk bamboo samples to this dye bath and the silks picked up the green I was looking for – this was another shock as the dyes used weren’t meant for silks. I added more procian emerald green to balance out the colour until I got the green I wanted using my original fabrics. Luckily orange is in my pallet so if I need to refer back to a recipe this will help. This just proves that what you see isn’t what you get. This whole experience producing dyes is proving to be more difficult than I first thought however I’m enjoying the challenge.

Above are some samples using acid dyes using varoius techniques.

At this stage in my dye lab journey, I was finally getting results that worked on all my fabrics by using acid dyes recipes. I had a break through one day when I set up three different dye baths containing dark blue, teal green and pink and they all came out beautifully onto all fabrics. With only a week until the Easter holidays and the China trip coming up it was a good decision to stick to certain recipes and to embrace the different hues and tones using all fabrics. After all my collection is meant to be bespoke and abstract as mentioned in my brief and therefore I decided the colours created in the dye lab will all ctontain various blues to then be stitched into using my exact colour pallet gunold threads.

Above is my colour pallet that matches my threads exactly. The middle image displays silk bamboo and bark weave for ten minutes each in the same dye bath.The image on the right shows my design development where I’ve tied found rope and fishing wire around silk and dyed it.

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Before the Easter holidays Steve put through a Kemtex dye order with some dyes I’d kindly asked him for however these have only just been delivered to the university and unfortunately it’s too late for me to experiment with them with the deadline in three weeks. I’d really like to come back into the dye lab after the final hand in and do some more dying using these, I could then add this as further experimentation in my portfolio for new designers. This blog post is just a snippet of what I’ve learnt using dyes and new fabrics and if I were to become an expert in dying it would take me years.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the whole process and I think that’s the most important thing I’ve take away from this final major project.

 

 


Updated mood board

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Formative feedback suggestions included: revising my market competitors to include some bespoke artists to broaden my market.

My market competitors originally had two images that displayed ‘next’ and ‘M&S’,  instead I’ve got two bespoke artist/companies called cape cod shibori and Dye haus. These are both relevant as they relate to my target market area, more information on these artists can be found in my research folder.