Reflections

Third year has been the best year for me by far. I’ve felt happier and more creative. My designs have developed, and my university work has felt so much easier, as if I finally found the way I design, the way I think and what style I like. 

It all began in subject when I realised I loved using urban inspirations to design for the male market, due to the angular shapes and gritty subject matter, and I haven’t looked back, deciding to take this through to field. I love the moody colours, and even the bright ones, and I like that my designs are more masculine in nature; they seem to fit me better than what I’d created in the last two years. I’m a city girl, and I don’t know why I thought my designs would be influenced by anything else.

After determining what inspires me; black and white with a little 80’s thrown in there, I started looking on WGSN for the next trend to work with. I came across Youth Tonic, and therein, Slactivist Slogans, which is when I decided to put the theory of my dissertation into practice; using my craft as a medium for message. I’ve really enjoyed this topic and being able to design and create textiles that satisfy my love for creating with a deeper purpose.

Slactivist slogans is a transitional sub trend for autumn/winter 2018 inspired by bold graphics and political ideals. It has a bright colour scheme but it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t get in there some dark colours, so I included a dark grey and a dark purple. I am much more passionate about social ideals than political, especially when it comes to the welfare of people, and one group of people that really tug at my heart strings are the homeless. Living in a city I understand just how much money gets thrown away on useless things, I do it myself. I also understand how horrible it can be to be in a city, and I have a home and friends and people to protect me, the homeless don’t have those things. They are abused, ignored and treated as less than human because they are unfortunate enough not to have enough money to live on, let alone spend on unnecessities.

This is what I wanted to convey in my collection. That homeless people should not be treated as lepers because they’ve fallen into a difficult situation, or because they are living in a way that is contradictory to what ‘normal’ people consider living. Linking urban designs with homelessness wasn’t difficult, it was finding a design idea that was new and unusual that took a bit of time. I’ve seen a lot of collections/designs that are based on homeless people, and that was when I decided that I wanted to focus on what homeless people see, as opposed to looking at the homeless. I went to Cardiff city centre in the early morning, when most of the homeless have disappeared off the streets, and sat on the floor, and looked. The homeless people I see, more often than not, sit on the floor, which is a completely different perspective from almost everyone else who is in and out of the city centre each day. What I saw most of was the ground, and I started to look at the different markings and paint on the tiles, slabs, and manhole covers, and I found the inspiration for my designs. 

The first few weeks of designing difficult. Instead of thinking about designs surfaces I was too focused on designing my garments. While I was still experimenting with hand dying and screen printing, I wasn’t playing with designs or having fun with them because I had tunnel vision which only let me see my finished products. After I realised what I was doing, my designing got easier. I started to play with fabric manipulation, and laser cutting, I went back to mark making and turning the shapes and marks I found on the floor into designs. When I got to printing, I had some trouble with choosing the right colours to print on top of my coloured fabric. I’m used to working with black and white but I was so inspired by the colour scheme of Youth Tonic that I wanted a collection full of bold bright colours that would snatch and hold people’s attention.

I love fabric dying. I hadn’t practiced any since my first year, and I honestly don’t know why. I adore mixing and creating colours and then manipulating natural fabrics into a colour that I envisaged. I love having control of my designs from that very first step. It means that I can create something which has a part of me in it, which is so much more powerful that if I’d bought fabric that was as close to my chosen colour as possible. Each and everyone one of my designs I created from start to finish. I methodically created each piece all the while thinking of how these samples, these ideas could impact the change I’m striving for with my collection.

All in all this year I’ve learnt what I am comfortable with; fabric dying, screen printing and creating visual aides, and what I need help with, which is to not overthink and make sure that while I invest my time into my work, that I find a balance between relaxing and creating, meaning I’m able to think clearly, enjoy what I am doing and get involved in every part of the creating process.

I’ve also learnt that it is important to ask for and to thoughtfully consider others opinions this year instead of going full steam ahead. I’ve found it useful to have a team (even if it’s a team of friends) to give opinions to help me view my work with a critical eye and through this feedback, and helping others, my creative output, and my work has greatly improved for the better.

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Big Screen Lies

More screen printing! I’ve pretty much done a repeat of that I did last week, dye then print, then stare at the samples, happy dance, and repeat.

This week I was working mostly with orange and purple fabrics and I was trying to pair up the colours in my palette in a way that wasn’t boring or didn’t have much of an impact. While a lot of my samples are brightly colours with bold prints, I did want some more subdued samples should we say, just to balance it out. After all, not everyone bright orange, with some brilliant white and bright red, crazy right?

With my screen printing I’m trying to bring in the idea of layer. Sow when thinking about my jackets, I wanted to amore sure they would be warm, which means that needed layer, and what the model would wear, quite a few layers and just in general, when its cold you wear layers. Homeless people have many layers because lets face it, on the street, it ain’t warm.

So these are the ideas I was trying to bring into my samples. I have 6 designs on my screen, some I printed just on there own, but others I started to mix and match until something new arrived on the scene. Something cool and colourful and layered.

SAMPLES


A Design For Life

Both Monday and yesterday were dedicated to garment production; cutting pattern species, attempting to sew seams, more pattern cutting. I made the body and sleeves of my first jacket, but since I don’t have the level of skill to put in sleeves, that’s something that will have to wait for another day.

Yesterday evening however, was dedicated to making a few new designs that I could then take into print and experiment with for the rest of the week. i decided to be a bit experimental with my designs, using a piece of charcoal, I took some of the shapes from my original photographs and turned them into quick marks, along with translating a bit of knit which was on my board, into a a few curved marks, which turned out to be quite interesting. I then spent the night scanning these in and turning them in designs/patterns. I’m looking forward to experimenting with these designs in print, especially using Devore.


Fake Plastic Grids

Having used the white silicone that I had around the house to create a few samples grids., I then went about experimenting with painting them. One I sprayed black, but the paint, once dried, flaked off easily. On the next I tired using a primer, which was more hard wearing than the black paint, but once I sprayed the black onto, it became flaky again. I like how the paints flaked, it was really interesting but it doesn’t half make a mess.


Sealed With a Grid

After speaking with Irene on Tuesday, she told me to look into using silicone to make the back piece of my jacket from. My idea is to have a sprite grid as an overlay on the back of my first jacket. I had been experimenting with laser-cutting which is a bit flat and very fragile, so the suggestion of using silicone was quite interesting. Plus I was worried that the size of the laser-cutting that I would need wouldn’t have fit into the machine.

I made a trial grid last night out of silicone which was really messy and a bit wobbly, but I twas really cool and it was super easy to imagine it much neater, painted and affixed to my jacket and I really like how all that sounds! I just need to practice.

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Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft

After my feedback I was a bit overwhelmed by the amount of things I need to get on top of, and one of the things that I really liked the idea of is bringing in some subrates that make the collection feel warmer, so I started to think about knit, and popped into the Craft Sew and Sew to pick up a few wools in colours that are in my scheme.

I then needed to learn how to knit, not a big ask, I suppose.

This called for reinforcements, in the form of my mum. Master knitted extraordinaire (maybe I’m exaggerating but if you see how fast she can knit, you’d think so too). I’ve spend the afternoon learning how to knit, and I can tell you, I haven’t felt so cack-handed in years!

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Trying to figure out how to hold the needles right!

I love knitted stuff, big chunky jumpers, tightly knitted socks, massive blankets! They exude warms that cosy-ness which is something that would slot perfectly into my collection. So on I went with trying to knit, I started with some wool I has lying around the house, and made 20 stitches so I was just making a small sample patch. I don’t know what I did wrong but a one point I ended up with 28 stitches and by then end there were a few wholes where I’d dropped some. Needless to say that I got my mum to make me a samples with the threads that matched my colour scheme.

Using three different needled sizes, 10mm, 7mm and 4mm, I’ve got samples of different size, different colour and of varying degrees of skill! I do however really like the idea of adding knit into my collection, especially as a really cozy jumper that can be layered under my jacket and reinforces the idea of warms and protection.

(I’m not against buying a jumper and dying it the colour I want either!)

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In My Time of Dying

Today I spend the day testing fabric dying times and the strengths of the dyes. I was looking to make a grey to dye my fabric, and using the dye that I experimented with when I made my last dye samples, I set out trying to gauge the different shades available to me. However, I have no idea why, the dye decided to be blue today, instead of grey. I was hoping that they would dry greyer, they didn’t, but I now have a better idea of how much dye and for how long I need to soak the fabric for.

Tomorrow I plan to start mixing in other dyes in order to neutralise the blue and get to a more black/grey.