Design Development

Further from Tuesday where I develop my designs from two separated co-ordinates into one co-ordinate collection, I was starting to worry that I wouldn’t actually have enough designs to present in two weeks when we have our formative assessment.

I didn’t realise I had so little time left before my designs actually have to be present which was quite a shock. This made me have to snap out of my little bubble and start to focus more on the parts of my collection that I really don’t have much of a clue about, namely the fabric manipulation. I’ve created a few samples of hand manipulated pieces that I was pleased with but this wasn’t enough development for me to say, yes these are definitely the designs I wanted.

I started searching images of fabric manipulation and found a few which I am pretty sure are just unconventional uses of a pin tuck foot. From here I went on to try and create my own mini sample just for a feel of what it would look like, let me tell you, it’s not easy to pin tuck without a pin tuck foot, things become slightly difficult. Moving on from here after a few problematic tucks, I moved on to experiment with cording, which I quite liked. Both of these mini samples have motivated me to spend my next workshop day in the stitch room creating samples that I will be able to present. If these go well I might even swing for a hand stitched manipulation as well.


With a plan set out for creating samples next week, I moved onto trimming and mounted the samples I do have. Having never mounted more than one sample in a header, this was quite tricky. It didn’t help that I wanted to make these samples more professional than my previous so I decided to stitch the header onto my samples which make them look super amazing! But be warned, it trickier than it looks, the fabric likes to move, a lot…

While labelling these mounted samples, I hand to refer back to the original collection plan that I created, and have seen how I have developed from there. My Colour Spirit collection now hold two separate 3 piece coordinating designs, from a table runner, napkin and placement; Edge Spirit is the same, with my coordinated dendrite napkin and table runner set, hand printed and digital stitched, though I’ve yet to stitch the table runner sample; Formation Spirit is a napkin and coaster set, the napkins coming in four different colours ways which have been changed to show grater variation; and lastly my Ridge Spirit set, which is two (or maybe three) fabric manipulated table cloths.

Overall my plan hasn’t changed too much, just even that I know that I’ve developed from these original ideas, but not enough so that I’ve strayed from my collection plan.


Different Types of textile Designs

During today’s lecture, which was all about the different types of designs that are used within textiles, I started to think more on my collection. Well more on the designs that I thought were completed. While in the lecture there was an image of co-ordinating designs. Each design was completely different but featured the same colours scheme, this is where mine differed. My co-ordinates were the same colours, and the same design, just repeated. So going back to these designs I decided to change them.

Firstly I laid my colour swatches out in Photoshop for ease of access and to know precisely what colours I was going to use within my designs. I started off by using green tones, and selected each colour layer within my original designs to create wholly new digital layers, from these I would be able to change the colour as many time as possible, and manipulate as much as I wanted. I was happy with my second design, I felt there was too much going and for a co-ordinating design, it doesn’t have to be the case, so I selected a small 1cm square from that designs, and used it to create a new, co-ordinating pattern.

Yesterday’s task was to create some paintings/drawings that were influenced by colour. I went back to one of the specialist design techniques I hadn’t used yet, the splatter technique, and create my version of my of the more spotted mineral images I had gathered for my research. I was then able to take this into Photoshop and use it as my third co-ordinating design.

All three of the designs that I have used had been hand painted before being taken in to digital manipulation, where I was able to crop, change colours and turn the images in repeating patterns if needed.

Untitled-3 green

For all three designs I used the same green tines but I felt that there wasn’t enough variation. A lot can be done with just two or three different colours and I don’t think I was using them to their highest ability, so I went back to the drawing board and stated to change them around again. I used blue tones this time, and found that I preferred how the colours complimented each other.


From today’s lecture I have also come to realise that the different colour ways of my Formation Napkins are not varied enough, I’ve changed the colours of the minerals but not the backgrounds. My client needs to have more of chose from the designs that I am creating. I went back to the designs and started to change the colours. I didn’t find it and easy process to find combinations that I really liked, I kept leaning towards light and bright colours but if I keep doing that I’m not showing how my design would look in darker colour ways, so I got over this, and started to use darker backgrounds as well as darker colours in my motifs.


The first week back in university is over and it’s been very productive. On Tuesday we went through a few activities based on colour theory which really was quite interesting. I’ve already done colour theory before but it’s always good to revisit these tasks because they are an essential designer tool. I learnt about discord colours this time around, which I had never touched upon before. This is when the natural order of the colour wheel is reversed; dark colours have white added to them (violet becoming lilac), and light colours have black added (yellow becomes khaki).

On Tuesday we also had individual tutorials, which were again helpful. Sally and I went through the work that I had already completed and I told her about my ideas for my designs and my overall collection, she was pleased with my progress and was able to lend me a book on fabric manipulation which will really help me with the next steps in the creating process.

One part of my collection is based on the design of dendrites. I took these tree-like fissures and arranged them into repeating patterns that could then be printed onto napkins and table runners. I created my designs before I went into the print room on Thursday, and while I was happy with how my design looked, I couldn’t help but think that some parts of it might be too small to work with the screen printing process.

I wanted to try this technique because I want to have one aspect of my collection hand printed. I had created my design on Photoshop so if it didn’t work as a hand-printed design, I would be able to have it digitally printed along with my other digital designs.

I was so pleased when the screen came out and all the small detail was visible. I was then excited to print so it could see the results. it’s safe to say that I don’t have to digitally print these designs,. I wasn’t able to print in the different colours of my collection, along with using puff to add some texture and foil (which didn’t come out too wee). I now have the added technique of hand-printing in my collection, which was a really important part.

With these dendrite patterns, I plan to also have these digitally stitched. I spoke to Maggie during the week to see if this was possible and she said that we would be able to do it, so again, another part of my collection has come together how it should be.



Crafty Activism

I’ve really enjoyed reading about Craftivism this past week.

Craftivism: the art of craft and activism by Betsy Greer is ridiculously interesting. Filled with individual essays, each person has something different to bring to the concept of craftivism. I’ve also enjoyed reading a little book of Craftivism by Sarah Corbett, along with Street Craft by Riikka Kuittinen; which both have the backstory of how Sarah Corbett became an activist, and some of the projects that she has worked on previously.

All three of these books have been able to help me refine the direction of my dissertation proposal, and I have been able to flesh out my information by taking snippets from the other books as well. I’m finding it quite difficult to find what I want on summon, I don’t know if I’m not being specific enough or if I’m being too specific and there isn’t anything helpful about my particular search, but its proving quite annoying,

Having read the proposal form that needs filling in for this terms Constellation, I know what I need to research in order to help me with the actual writing of my dissertation. The overview and bibliography were relatively easy to fill out but I’m, not quite sure how I am supposed to fill out the background reading. So far I have been writing this section as separate essays which is again, really helping to determine the path of my dissertation.

Books and Brainwaves

Having already pieced together a new initial idea for my dissertation, I carried on with researching and looking for more books that will help me in the effort. But before I started to pull out every book that sound like it hold something remotely related to my idea, I set about writing an overview or abstract, of my dissertation.


I outlined that I plan to explore the effect that Craftivism has had on Social Justice throughout the 20th Century, concentrating on the main associates of the craftivist movement from around the modern world. I plan to include groups/individuals such as Sarah Corbett, the founder of the British craftivist group Craftivist Collective; Betsy Greer, who coined the phrase in 2003; the Canadian Revolutionary Knitting Group, founded by Grant Neufeld in 2000 and maybe some historical figures as well, such as Louisa Pesel or Mahatma Ghandi. I want to evaluate how they have used craft as a political statement to achieve Social Justice; my overall argument will be to critically evaluate these crafty protests in terms of how successful they have been at implementing the change they are fighting for.

With this in mind I started to search ‘Craftivism’ on summon and saw that there were a few articles as well as a good handful of books that might be really useful. I also looked through the Craftivist Collective website (I may have ordered A Little Book on Craftivism by Sarah Corbett) , and also went to the website that was created by Betsy Greer, which proved quite interesting as her blog is also linked to the website, so I was able to read quite a bit about historical acts of craftivism.

It’s safe to say that I have spent the day reading through the books that I had gathered from the library, some have quite a bit of useful information and some have just excellent one liners that will all aid in the effort of writing my dissertation.



17061501From the initial dissertation planning form to now, I have been trying to refine my idea so that I have a topic that I will be able to write about at length. My starting point was to look at the subversive role that fabric and crafts have played throughout modern women’s history. I found this idea to be interesting but I wasn’t finding it as exciting as I expected a dissertation subject to be.

Having already read The Subversive Stitch, I was interested in the insubordinate role that textiles has played through history. It was during my meeting with Ashley that I found out about Craftivism. This sparked my interest, and so the journey developed.

After the preliminary google search of the subject I found Sarah Corbett of the Craftivist Collective, and was really inspired by her definition of Craftivism; ‘a true craftivist uses craft as a tool for gentle activism aimed at influencing long-term change’. It’s this idea of Craftivism that really interesting me. The different branches of Craftivism that have cropped up all around the world, and how each face social justices in different ways.

From here I went on to read Craftivism: the art of Craft and Activism by Betsy Greer. I’m very interested in how these two people have used craftivism to implement social change, and so my dissertation idea started to change. I then went on to look at Craftivism in different countried and found an article posted on the Concordia Undergraduate Journal of Art History entitled ‘Feminism and the art of “Craftivism”: knitting for social change under the principles of the arts and crafts movement’ which introduced me to Canadian Craftivist groups.

All of these different paths of craftivism and what I have read have gone on to influence my ideas for my dissertation. I would love to look into the main individual people, like Betsy Greer and Sarah Corbett, who use Craftivism for social justice and to find out which has been most successful, and why.

Gone But Not Forgotten (Reflective Statement) – Sacha Pierre


Over the past four weeks I have been working with Sacha Pierre, a Home Textile Design Company, who has just started to develop their next collection. With the success of their first still hanging in the air, their next collection is full of excitement and fresh ideas which I got to be a part of.

At the beginning of my fours week I was quite nervous to be going into an established company, though this was unnecessary considering how accommodating the team at Sacha Pierre have been.

I came into the office at a great time, with the start of their new collection having just begun. I have been able to help develop the imagery within this new collection by completed many paintings that were either asked of me or that I thought would work well within the collection.

I was given the opportunity to learn about the style of Sacha Pierre and their influences for the next collection by creating their mood-boards; this helped me a lot in trying to understand the style and effect that they were reaching for in their next collection.

There were a few days when I was unhappy in what I was creating or designing, but having experienced this in my last work placement I was well equipped to stop what I was doing, save it and move onto something else. This enabled me to free myself of that certain piece of work, with the possibility of coming back to it or learning that that was the wrong direction, for which I am better off for having discovered.

I was still not as confident in my own work as I should be, I caught myself a few times waiting, before showing what I had creating, not yet ready to hear what they thought. In this aspect I have disappointed myself, I should have been confident or strong enough to say, this is what I have created, let me know how to improve. It’s better than I can learn to do this so that what I am creating doesn’t suffer from not having this critique experience.

As with my last placement I have really enjoyed creating designs. At first I found it a bit shocking when I was told to just play around, but I soon got over it and started to do indeed that. I was able to use my own motifs as well as the teams to create some really interesting designs that I think I linked well with the overall feel of the Sacha Pierre Company and how they represent themselves.

I was asked during the placement whether I was excited that my drawings could potentially end up being printed in the collection; this is when I had to spot myself from squealing with excitement. I am so beyond thrilled at the thought, and how this would look in my portfolio. Again I had the experience of being a designer, and this was brought home to me when I showed the team what I designer and they had liked it. That was a really good day for me, and such a confidence booster.

So my last week with Sacha Pierre came and went but I can honestly tell you that I am so happy for having completed this work placement. I have learnt not only new tools and tricks that will help with my career within textiles but I have learnt about myself also.

Before this placement I was loath to do any sort of drawing or painting. I hated how previously, any attempt at these two techniques has always been rushed and stressful, with myself thinking that I don’t actually have the ability to pull it off, but since being with Sacha Pierre, I’ve learn otherwise. I still don’t like feeling rushed to finish a painting but I no longer think that I can’t do it or that I don’t have the skill, because the work that I have done for Sacha Pierre proves otherwise.

I’m quite sad to be leaving, having spend the first month of the new collection helping out and helping to develop, I’m quite disappointed that I won’t be there to see how the rest of the collection pans out.

I have been invited back and I going to see if I can join them over the Easter break as well as during the summer. I have also been invited on the next photo shoot, which will be for the next collection, where I get to spend some time away learning about yet another different aspect of being a designer.