Module Analysis

ADZ4777 – SUBJECT: ‘Material Matters’

Scanned Memory

Courtney Suller

 A simplistic, purer and more ethically correct way of life; away from consumption, stress and rigid must-haves – towards favourites and a genuine feeling of well-being.

 In this module, we were tackling digital; digital designs, digital prints, and basically learning all the must know aspects of how to produce work digitally. This is a must-have skill set when it comes to contemporary textiles practises. Continuing on from the work that we produced in the first term, this module was a continuation of sorts, working on how to develop the work that we had created in the first term, and use those influences to inspire and direct the work we were going to be creating.

Starting with selecting a theme that was relevant, and related to the work that I had completed within the first term, I chose the second of the three themes, ‘Scanned Memory’. Having looked at nature within my first term, I found that this theme was the most closely related to the work that I had completed, and would give me the opportunity to continue on and develop my work further. I started by creating a brain-storm of the ideas that I arrived at when thinking about my chosen theme, and from this I created a sort of brief within and brief, that would set me on the right path for the work that I was going to create. At the beginning of the module, I had difficulty thinking within a digital mind set. I couldn’t picture how any of the work that I was supposed to create would look or how I would make them, and I found this quite challenging.

Once I had found the direction that I wanted to take this module in, I started by gathering research relating to my ideas, I looked into the Ethically Fashion Forum, which is a society aimed at the ethical ways in which to produce textiles. I found this information really inspiring because it helped me to establish what kinds of fabric I would want to use and what colours as well. I researched into trend predictions/trend forecasting, as a background to see what was closely linked with my theme and the ideas that I was circulating. Once I got more ideas from the research that I did, I started to gather images so that I could see my ideas before me, in physical form, and make my next decision from there. These were the images that inspired my mood boards.

While creating my mood board, I created quite a few attempts, so that each time I could narrow down my ideas, further and further so that I would end up with a well-refined mood board that expressed my theme and ideas, just through images. While looking at mood boards I also started to research into colour boards, how they would be useful and then different colour scheme I should think about while creating it. For background research at this point I went on the WGSN website, a global fashion and trend forecasting agency, to gather ideas and images that would help me in the creation of my work, as well as helping my ideas to develop further. This was when I reinforced my ideas on using eco-friendly, and ethically correct materials and dyes within the production of my work and through this module.

I liked the access that I was able to have to WGSN and websites like Pinterest, it really helped to backup the ideas that I had been creating through the beginning of the project, and I could use these places to find information on what designs had been created in the past using similar ideas to my own, and I could reflect on these and think of how I could use these influences in my own work. Alexander McQueen used a dragonfly print for one of his fashion collections, Dragonflies where used within Korean Vogue in 2011, and throughout WSGN signs of insects patterns and jewellery inspired from insects where surfacing, again helping me with the ideas that I was working from. I took all of these influences and tried to channel them through my work, as I did with all the images and research I had gathered previously. I used the insects to create designs from and looked at how I could arrange patterns based on works that I had glimpsed on Pinterest.

One of the most difficult things I had to deal with so far was coming to be able to understand and use digital software. Having never used any kind of digital programme to create work on before now, this was all new to me, and not very easy to understand to begin with. To help I ordered books that explained how to use both Photoshop and Illustrator, as well as using the internet for tips and advice on the different tools and how to create different effects and I soon came to be able to use all of these things without have to resort to instructions. As soon as I got to this point the designs I was making were being produced much faster and I could incorporate different elements and different processes together to make one whole design.  I was able to document each different process I learnt through the module within a technical file so that I could access these at any point if I was faced with difficulty, I also made notes during the lessons, again so I could referrer to these should I need to. By the end of this unit I came to really like using digital means of design process, I found that I could explore the programmes with the confidence that I knew how to create what I wanted using the tools available to me.  I was really free to experiment during the concept exploration/develop stage of this module. I was able to open multiple art boards, and then develop my designs using different tools, compositions, layouts, colours and effects, until I had thoroughly researched and refined outcomes.

Once I had created my mood board I was ready to move onto to creating my colour board. Again I gathered research from WGSN and Pinterest, and I worked from the ideas I had created in my mood board. What I strove to create was a more refined mood board, selecting a few images that still summed up the ideas I had been thinking over and experimenting with, to which I would be able to add my colour scheme, along with the Pantone reference numbers. The next step that I took within this module was to start to create design ideas. I started by experimenting with images that I had gathered, and loaded them into either Photoshop or Illustrator and used these as a starting point for where I would take my designs.

All of the work so far had been based around market definition, it was now time to move onto concept exploration. I took the designs that I created and changed different aspects, small changes as well as larger changes to see the effects they had on my designs. From these I analysed the different elements that I had changed or kept the same, weighing the work that I had created and then made informed decisions on which were the best designs to take forward.

When I was able to digitally print the designs I had created, I was really proud by their outcome. I thought back to how at the start of this unit I was unable to use any digital based design programmes and yet only a few short weeks later I had fully completed and thought out designs.  I was able to reflect on what I had made, the choices I had come to and was able to back up my designs with mood and colour boards that show the direction in which I had taken my work. During the printing process I was able to print one of my designs to a larger scale, so that I would have to chance to embellish onto the print with hand printed detail. Having the opportunity to join both digital and hand print together was a great experiment. Instead of creating a design wholly on a computer and having it printed as is, there seems to be something missing from it, whereas a digital print that has been hand embellished has more soul, this experiment has left me with a greater understanding of how to enhance my work.

I really liked the experiments I was able to complete throughout this module, I was able to learn the different aspects of digital design, from idea conception through to design creation and then printing. Through the printing stages I was able to see how the files needs to be saved in different formats for the different ways in which they could be printed, having a design laser cut, it needs to be saved as a different file from the designs that are to be digitally printed.

Once I had completed all of the tasks set so far and completed all of my research and development phases, it was then time to start to choose the designs that I want as my final designs, which will be set up in an exhibition to showcase my work. I went through all the design I had created, in one instance going back to one of my first designs and again going thought the concept development stage so that I had a wholly new design that I could put forward. Along with choosing which designs I wanted to present, I also created a demi Pecha Kucha presentation which I presented to my module tutor, showing the different stages that I had gone through to get to my final outcome. With each final design that I created, I annotated the process of creation, the different steps it took to get to that point, what I thought about the design and how the related to my brief.

Overall I have thoroughly enjoyed this module, having started with not knowing the different between Photoshop and Illustrator I am, now capable in both areas, creating design easily with the tools provided and having the ability to take initiative when it came to design creation. This module has given me a whole new view set on the work that I have observed, whereas beforehand I had always wondered how certain pieces of works have been created,  know I see that they have been made digitally. It has also given me a new insight on how I can create my own work. I will definitely be carrying on with working in Photoshop and Illustrator, developing my skills and abilities within both so that I have a choice in the direction that I want to take any further work that I will create. I also like the combination of joining digital and hand created work and I will again take this forward in to the work that I will be creating from now on.

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