My experience within field this year have undoubtedly affected both me and my work. For both modules I decided to undertake work placement, which turned out to be the best part of the academic year for me.
For two months out of this year I was able to work with professionals, designing and collaborating on different projects. I was able to have quite significant input within both of my placements, which was thrilling, with the prospect that my designs could be featured with their own collections.
From these two experiences I have been able to learn new skills from these people that have affected my methods of creating/designing – I am now more proficient with Photoshop, which has played a great part in my workings. I have developed my hand drawings and paintings skills which an invaluable tool, helping me grow in my own abilities as well as helping me to grow in confidence.
Not only have I developed in my creative skills but I have also learnt about myself, my influences and the way in which I prefer to work.
My time with Richard Weston enabled me to learn more digital designs skills, and gain valuable knowledge on what it is like to design to specific client specification. It was very nerve-wracking and rewarding at the same time. I experienced what it was like to work on a real life brief, which included regular critiques — which has helped me to grow more confident in my abilities — along with learning how to conduct myself professionally.
It was also very challenging to work with someone whose taste different drastically from mine. I had to learn how to think more in terms of what they were looking for from my designs, instead of what I wanted to give in my designs.
My time at Sacha Pierre was very freeing. I was under a less strict brief and was left to find my own place within the designing of their collection. I was able to find my own inspiration from a wide range of ideas/themes that they were working with, letting me further develop my designing process. Again I had to learn how to conduct myself professionally, but in a different way from when I was working with Richard – I was part of the team in Sacha Pierre as opposed to working for a client.
With the freedom I was afforded within Sacha Pierre I gained confidence in my painting and designing skills — which I have been able to take forwards into different aspects of my work — and learnt what it is like to be in a real life working environment. I’ve also learnt that this is the kind of area, and atmosphere I want to work in.
During my first field term I looked into so many designers and completed so much research, trying to push myself to further my ideas; the only problem was that I wasn’t happy with the direction my collection was going in. However, I put this from my mind and tried to immerse myself in field, trying to get the best experience possible.
Working with Richard, I was able to see natural elements at such an intimate level; seeing inside stones and crystals and minerals, to find the wonders inside. They were beautiful, but I couldn’t figure out how I would be able to combine them with my collection. While at Richards, he received a book about the French sculptures Claude and Francois-Xavier Lalanne. It was while looking through this book that I decided, if I couldn’t fit this new, gorgeous inspiration into my current collection, then the collection needed to be changed. The natural influences that are so clearly evident in the work by Lalanne, were stunning. As soon as I saw them, I fell in love and wanted to create a collection that could be used alongside their cutlery set; this is how I came to be designing tableware. It wasn’t until my formative feedback that I swapped this into a wholly napkin collection.
My designs were now influenced by minerals, the structures, formation and colours; what could compliment cutlery inspired by nature more than nature inspired napkins? However, minerals are perfect as there are, so how would I be able to use these within my designs? I decided that my designs were going to be much more abstract that what I had been experimenting with already, the colours and shapes and layers would be evident, but the result would be a designs not trying to mimic a minerals, just utterly influenced by them.
My first field placement managed to change the influence and direction of my collection complete, to a point where I was enjoying the creation of the collection again. – My second placement, afforded me the skills to create these designs with much more ease. Using Photoshop became much easier, and I was confident in my drawing skills so I knew that I could draw up my own motifs when the inspiration struct. It was because of the freedom that I had while working in Sacha Pierre, that I was very free with my explorations of techniques during the creation of my final designs. I didn’t limit myself to any one process, instead chose to use multiple to try and show the many depth of the minerals I had found during my time with Richard. They way in which the team at Sacha Pierre laid out their ideas for their collection clearly, helped me to do the same without in my own collection, making the collection much more cohesive. My designs now complimented each other, and showed a range of skills and techniques that i wouldn’t have been able to experience if i hadn’t spent my time with Sacha Pierre.
Over the past four weeks I have been working with Richard Weston, an architect, who has recently been working with minerals. I came across Richard because of his work with Liberty London. His designs were based around highly magnified images of minerals.
At the start of the four weeks I was told about three current projects that Richard was working on that I would be able to help with; creating patterns from Mica images, patterns from mineralised drawings of cats and dogs, and helping with an app that he was currently creating that was aimed at children.
At the beginning of this placement I was quite nervous as I didn’t know what to expect; I was also aware of my lacking Photoshop skills and how different my tastes were from Richard’s. I was very self-conscious and found it quite challenging to sit back and try and think of these designs I was creating in the way that Richard was. There were days when I was really unhappy with what I was creating and found it really challenging to find inspiration and relevant, but I didn’t let this stop me from creating what was asked of me. I came back day after day, ready to embrace the challenge before me.
As the weeks progressed I was able to work more freely and loosen up in myself. I gained more confidence in myself as a designer and in the work that I was creating because I knew that it was matching up to my client’s ideas. My skills with Photoshop have grown, as has my ability to converse with people better. I tend to feel quite uncomfortable in new places, with new people and I think I tackled this very well over the last few weeks. I’ve had to voice my ideas and opinions, which is quite a nerve-racking thing, as these creation, while made from design others have crafted, became personal to me, and were then put up for scrutiny; as such that has made me grow in confidence.
I have enjoyed developing and creating designs, I’ve found it very rewarding to see a finished design come to life. I was thoroughly pleased when Richard had my patterns printed out, and it was then when I felt truly like a designer.
This was further realised when Richard asked if I would be interested in designing patterns that could be used as part of his app and also in stationary he is working on, for which I would be paid.
I’ve realised that I am extremely influenced and inspired by nature and natural forms. I worry that because the inspiration for a lot of my work comes from nature, that my design will seem repetitive. Working with these minerals however, makes me realise that there are so many different areas of nature that I could create hundreds of designs based on nature and not one could be the same.
Within my subject I have been looking at future trend within 2017 in aid of the collection I am creating. Within my chosen trend I had briefly touched upon minerals before starting my work placement, since I have developed the direction of my collection so that it features more prominently the minerals that I have been looking at. My work has markedly been influenced by my time with Richard Weston, I’m extremely grateful because he has made me love the collection I’m creating.
I suppose this day was going to come, the day where I was to post my penultimate blog post about my time spent with Richard Weston, architect and master mineraliser. I’ve really enjoyed my time with Richard, I’ve learn a lot about Photoshop, minerals and the whole ‘designing business’ that I don’t think I would have if I’d been in university; but enough serious talk, I’ll save that for my last post.
This week I was to battle dragons, and no there isn’t a whole Game of Thrones thing going on, my dragons were in the virtual world, and created by an eight year old, not very terrifying. I’m quite impressed with the drawings Sam created on Photoshop, I can’t even draw on Photoshop, I have to switch over to Illustrator. Anyway, since I had completed all my designs that should hopefully be winging there way over to John Lewis sometime in the future, I was free to help develop the app, and to create new patterns for a little boy with big skills.
The idea was Richard’s, because he loved what Sam had drawn so much he decided that he was going to make wrapping paper for him, but not any wrapping paper, paper with his own creations on. Once again, this is where I came in. I set about creating a tile so that Sam’s dragons could potentially be repeated forever, but the first one I started I couldn’t connect with, I wasn’t feeling the love and I was finding it increasingly more difficult to change and modify. I then decided, maybe it would be better if I made one massive design that would cover the whole sheet that was to be printed, but then I wasn’t feeling the love there either. I closed everything down, it was time to start fresh. I again went back to creating a tile, but this time I was looser and not so focused on getting every one of Sam’s drawings onto the tile, but creating something that would repeat, without looking like structured pattern, and something and eight year old boy would love.
I had struck gold. I was into this design completely, ideas for the placement of dragons was coming at me from every angle, I fitted in the planets he wanted and even managed to cram about half a galaxy of stars in there too. I was so pleased with my design that I suggested to Richard that maybe we could translate it onto a card as well, Richard loved the idea so much that we made a postcard too.
In the moment I’m disheartened when I can’t connect with what I’m making, it’s those times when I just want to throw up my hand and go take a week long bath, but when I look back on them, I see how I’m able to manoeuvre around these issues and I’m really proud of myself. It’s not always going to be easy designing for someone else, I’m not always going to connect straight away. That’s when I need to step away, and start fresh.
Once the dragon design was completed it was back to transforming images for the app, except this time I was working with squeezed paint images instead of minerals. These were much more colourful and in your face, and Richard really thinks that they would work excellently within his app, and I have to agree, some of the paint images work really well inverted, and it’s my job to find them all.
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.
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.