I cannot believe that there is only one week left of my work placement, the time has flown by. Earlier in the week Richard had the Mineralised Animal and Mica gift wrap patterns printed. Oh but, oh boy! was that exciting. There they were, right in front of me, my designs printed onto paper, looking great. It’s safe to say that it still makes me excited, even though tis been three days.
Richard though that the animals on the Mineralised animal gift wrap were too big, this is where I come in. after sorting through some more mineral images that could go into the app for inverting, I set about making the animals smaller. I created two more sizes; one that was only slightly smaller which would be the medium sized print, and then one that was half as small as the original, the small print. I was with how these patterns looked on the computer, but then you don’t really know until they’ve been printed.
Richard has been working with a boy called Sam; only eight years old and probably better at Photoshop than I am, Sam has been creating dragons. Much like the cats and dogs that Richard asked me to put into patterns, he wants to do the same with Sam’s dragons. Which is the task I shall be tackling next week! I’m looking forward.
In terms of the three weeks, I feel as If the first two have been more productive, I was creating many different designs but I suppose having completed all the patterns he wanted me to create, this week was going to be much more focused on making sure the app worked. I feel like I have been quite helpful in making sure the app is running smoothly, which is quite a nice thought. I’m happy to have had this experience of putting my thoughts and opinions across, and being able to assist in the creation of something that could potentially be spread worldwide.
Being inspired is great; it’s all you can think about, so many new doors open, ideas come flooding in, as does the need to do something! It never takes me long after I’ve been inspired to throw myself into a new creation, and this time isn’t any different. Plucked out of the many ideas fighting to be completed first, I decided that I wanted to test out a mineral print. I really like the idea of using minerals as abstract imagery, so I wanted to take each layer within the mineral and print them separately, layering them up until I’ve created a really beautiful abstract print. I think this is the direction in which I am going to take my collection.
Not having a screen or printing facility nearby, I decided to use lino. Lino prints are known for their simplistic style and layers, which is perfect for what I was experimenting with. I already had a picture of the mineral I was going to mimic, so all that was left to do was gather supplies and start! I printed onto paper purely because at this moment I didn’t want to be bogged down trying to find the right fabric to complement, I just wanted to experiment, which I did; with different colours, different paint and with the addition foil and glitter I added.
A new collection deserves a new set of boards; inspiration, colour palette, client profile and competitors. I feel really good about this new direction. Whereas last term I was trying to cram too many different aspects into one collection, I feel that with the new narrower direction I can really concentrate on the quality of what I’m creating, without worrying how I’m going to manage it.
During my field term I looked into loads of designers, completed masses of research, and pushed myself to try and further my ideas; the only problem? I wasn’t happy with the direction my collection was going in. It wasn’t until almost the end of the first term that I realised that I really wasn’t happy with the designs I was creating, or the influences working from. However I put this from my mind and started to focus on my field project.
As you may have read I’ve been working with Richard Weston for the past three weeks, an architect that has been studying minerals for quite a few years now. With a successful collection of mineral scarfs at Liberty London, Richard moved on to working with children. He’s creating an app that lets children draw, and then paint with mineral colours and patterns. You can also take photos, and then fill them with a mineral. Anyway, when working with minerals you realise that there is no way in which you can change these stunning works of nature to make them better; so changing them I won’t do.
While at my placement, Richard received a delivery of a book he had ordered about the French sculptures Claude and Francois-Xavier Lalanne. It was while looking through this book an idea hit me. If I don’t like the work that I had been creating in the first term, why not change it?
This cutlery set is what sparked my inspiration. The natural influences that can so clearly be seen in these metal works of arts are gorgeous. As soon as I saw these I fell in love, and was striving for an idea on how I could incorporate these into my collection. Yet the more I thought about it, I started to think, how I could make a collection that could compliment these pieces, which is how I arrived at table linen.
Influenced by minerals, what would complement this set more completely than table linen that is equally inspired by natural forms? As I said you can’t change minerals because they are so perfect in and of themselves that there is no need, but what I can do is take inspiration from them. When looking at a mineral service or insides, there are layers and layers of different colours and materials that form very abstract images, I’m thinking that I could take this influence into printing. Building up layer after layer of colour to create beautiful abstract table linen.
Monday, Tuesday, Happy Days, Thursday, Friday, Happy Days … It’s that time again, another start of another week and another day of tasks to complete.
Over the weekend I took some photos around town, gathered some old images, and sorted through them to find ones that I thought would work well with the app. Armed and ready, I made my way into the wilderness once again, looking forward to experimenting with the inverted mineral paints within the app. I really like that I’m being included in these initial phases of the app development process. Being included in these processes really makes me feel that my knowledge is invaluable. It’s really great experience being involved in the inception of this app; I’ve been able to learn about the different processes involved in refining the different aspects, I’ve had input in what minerals are going to be used within the app, and have been able to discuss aspects that need changing or altering.
After a quick round of playing with the app, it was time to start working on the Mica patterns again. With these designs I am again working to the specifications of my client. I feel as if I am gaining really valuable knowledge on how to interact with said ‘client’, how to express my ideas while still making accommodations for theirs. With Richard I am given the freedom to create designs that, while admittedly are limited in there scope, have an essence of myself in them. I’m really happy with how my work placement is unfolding so far.
Today I was pleased to have been included within the app building process once again. Richard asked me to go through all the minerals that have been saved onto the MAC and choose which would work best when inverted, so as to be used within the app.
I’m really impressed with how I have been able to extent my Photoshop skills so far within this placement. From having completed a digital project last year, I have had little to do with Photoshop since and as such had to start as a beginner again. I have been able to create pattern tiles that can be applied to all sized Photoshop documents; learnt how to fill certain colours in patterns with a completely different image; and with the help of YouTube and digital designs books, I have been able to create repeating patterns from single images, without jarring lines between each one. I still think I have more learning to do to be able to work with Photoshop to be able to keep up with what Richard creates.
What I find most difficult is when I’m asked to complete a task which I don’t know, or can’t remember how to do; I feel that I should know these things and that it’s showing my inexperience to have to ask Richard how I preform these tasks. This just shows how much more I need to learn, and shows how much I can gain while on this work placement. I’m also aware of where I am lacking in ability, Today Richard asked if I’m any good at hand drawings, because he was toying with the idea that I could design some images for the app, I was quite disappointed to admit that I don’t have good drawing skills and that my skills lie elsewhere. I was able to express my abilities with typography, and while this is different from his original idea, Richard seem quite interested in using this skill for his app.
What I’m really excited about is having my design printed. I do have small worries about what the designs will look like once they have actually been printed, but overall I’m more excited than worried.
End of week two, and jeeze Louise hasn’t time flown?!
Far from making patterns with minerals today, I was working with the app. Trying out different images and drawings to see what worked with the app and what might need changing.
The app has two different modes, the first is that drawings can be uploaded, or chosen from the drawings supplied by the app, and coloured in using mineral paints; the second is that you can take a photo, change the threshold so that its completely black and white, and then add in a mineral. The mineral is inverted on the second colour (these can be flipped) and creates an interestingly complimentary image.
I was able to take loads of photos, experiment with which type worked best, silhouettes work really well, as do patterns and strangely enough Picasso drawings. Complete pictures or images have to be used, otherwise the colour will bleed into the background, which effectively takes you into the drawing mode, where you can no longer have inverted mineral pictures.
I quite liked working with the app today; it was interesting to see what potentials it held. Further from this I have been asked to go through the different minerals on Richard computer, and see which would be suitable as mineral paints and for inverting. I’m looking forwards to having an active role in working with the production of this app.
Overall this week has been quite a change; from the difficulties I faced at the beginning in the week, not feeling confident enough to be able to succeed the tasks given me; through to being inspired by one project into considering a new one. I’m really happy with the way I handled the challenges of this week, facing them directly and freeing myself up to being inspired.
Next week I look forward to creating repeating patterns from Mica clusters and linear Agate images. I believe that next week I will also have the change to visit the student from St Cyres Art, Design and Technology department and see how minerals have inspired the work they are creating.
Today was a much better day on my design/work experience path! I’m convinced that it was down to the extra hour in bed this morning. Any who, as I was saying, today was a much better day. What I found really challenging yesterday I was able to let roll off my back; I wasn’t daunted by the idea that I wouldn’t be able to find animal shaped Mica clusters, I didn’t even let the thought enter my mind. While scrolling through the endless depth of the one particular Mica that Richard wanted me to use, I found quite a few shapes that I arranged into a tightly packed design.
Once this top layer of my overall pattern was completed, I started to think about a background, but I couldn’t find a single colour which complimented the minerals in front of me. This was when I started to look at microscopic images of different minerals. Before I would be able to find one specific mineral for the background I selected many and set each as backgrounds that I can keep coming back to until I find the right one.
While creating one of the backgrounds, Richard and I edited a small cropped section of a Mica image, layered it and inverted the colours, and came up with a beautiful image that needs no added layers. I expressed an idea that this edited mineral would be another really interesting collection, which Richard agreed with emphatically. I plan to experiment with different minerals, namely Agate because of its linear formation. With the help of a pattern design book which I forget the name of, I was able to create an endlessly repeating pattern from the Mica tile, which I will now use again and again while created other repeating mineral patterns.
While I was looking through the different mineral images that Richard has taken, I was able to finish one of the design that I started yesterday, which I showed to Richard. I created this pattern with the 1951 Festival of Briton patterns in mind, though I didn’t think that it was exactly what Richard was looking for. I was pleasantly surprised when Richard declared that he like my design, expressing that it was elegant and subdued compared to the bright bold colours we had been working with in the previous Mica pattern.
The more I work with these minerals the more I can connect with them on an inspirational level. Last week I was having difficulty with connecting to designs that I hadn’t created, so I didn’t feel as if I was designing to the best of my ability. Today I feel like I was more involved with the design process and so I was able to put more of my taste into each pattern. I still don’t have the freedom to create whatever I want, but that’s one of the drawbacks of working with a client. That being said, that could also be a plus; not having the whole world of design open to you can help you to really focus and refine on the designs you’re creating.
Today was much more difficult than yesterday.
Having completed three designs for the ‘by children, for children’ collection, it was time to start making Mica patterns. This is where things got difficult. Richard showed me four of his favourite Mica images and asked me to make some patterns from them. Not just any patterns, but patterns that are in the style of those created during the 1951 Festival of Briton. Having never heard of this festival I started by looking these up; the designs are a collection of sciences meets art in a very old fashioned design setting. With this in mind I selected a few of the Mica images that I liked and started to create designs; started being the operative word.
I started quite a few design but I couldn’t seem finish them. I’ve saved them away, in case inspiration strikes and I can work on them some more, but I really seem to have a mental block on this morning. One thing I found really difficult was connecting with the Mica, in particular the Mica that Richard wanted me to use. The colours within these Mica were gold, florescent yellow and a luminous red; colours I really don’t like, so finding pieces within these minerals to cut and take into a pattern was a real challenge.
Firstly I chose little sections from different Mica images that looked like red and orange leaves and started to make a tile on Photoshop, which could be used as a repeat pattern. When I showed this to Richard he couldn’t find a link between this pattern and the patterns from the Festival of Briton, so it was back to the drawing board. I decided to take inspiration from the top right festival pattern, using circular pieces of the Mica mineral to create a revolving design. I thought that this was much more in line with the festival designs, yet it still wasn’t matching up to Richard’s ideas, this is where I found my day becoming much more difficult, my mental block was frustrating and I was finding it really impossible to try and picture how these design would look through Richards eyes.
In the end Richard found a single Mica image and asked me to find interesting shapes, shapes that portrayed animals, and create a pattern that was similar to those I created with the mineralised children’s drawings. I manged to find a few interesting collections within the Mica image which I translated onto a Photoshop tile. As yet I’m still working on this tile and will be tomorrow as well. Further from this Richard has asked me to create four of these designs, to match up to the four that he has of the mineralised children’s patterns. At this time I’m finding the idea quite daunting because of the difficulty I’m having creating just one.