Reflection: Final Major Project

My collection ‘Table Manners’ was inspired by my life at home, where I have grown up around relatives with a knowledge and career in kitchen design. I’ve had an interest in this area for a few years now, but feel more inspired by the décor and styling of a kitchen, rather than the design of the kitchen itself. I chose kitchenware because there is always room for these products on the interior market, which as a Textile designer I have a strong interest in. My theme for this collection included utensils and foodstuffs that are typically associated with a kitchen space. As previously stated in my brief, I’ve aimed at the middle to low end market, for an age group of around 30-60 years and my colour palette is influenced by the WGSN forecasted trends for Spring/Summer 2017. I feel that my mix of warm and cool colours, along with the neutral brown and off white are a great combination for the designs I have created. Further research into kitchen trends and the domestic interior market helped me consider costings, co-ordinates, products and competitors for my collection. I am a bit worried that my body of research is quite small, though I’ve covered everything I feel that I need, and didn’t want to risk being marked down for unnecessary research.

As this is my last University project, I wanted to make the most of my strengths in relation to my Textile practice. Regarding experimentation, mark making is a strength and is something which features in a majority of my work. It is something I enjoy doing and holds a strong element in my initial development work for this project, continuing through to the final design collection. I started my development work with mark making, and plenty of it, using kitchen utensils and foods as my tools, instead of the usual brushes. These techniques provided me with some interesting and unique textures, which I took into Photoshop, to combine and finalise my designs.

It was around the time of my Interim critique in term two that I hit my ‘creative wall’. I got totally stuck on ideas, even though I had tried out some different stitch and print techniques. I had some designs I wasn’t satisfied with them, as they seemed very flat and not ‘me’. I felt like my collection wasn’t developing and my formative feedback left me feeling very lost and disappointed. I was advised to ‘take risks’ with my experimentation and ‘consider the theoretical underpinning’ to my ideas. This completely threw me, I just couldn’t understand how I could do this, and it really stressed me out! Luckily, a tutorial and a bit of reassurance sorted out my problems. After adding to my research, I realised that continuous line stitching was the technique I needed. I looked into mark making as a form of art therapy, and one of the techniques was ‘drawing with your eyes closed’. This is when I started both drawing and stitching without looking at the page/fabric, which left me with some great abstract images. This encouraged me to keep going, and I went away for the Easter break with plenty of fresh ideas.

It was during my Easter break that I began stitching out the motifs I had already been using, and scanning them in so I could get the stitched effect on my digital designs. I used Photoshop to enhance the lines further. Once I started with this, my collection developed instantly, and I returned from the Easter break with plenty of work to show.

I was assisted by the tutors to sort my designs into three families; Storage, Tableware and Food Prep. It was much easier to spot what was missing from the collection once these families were arranged, giving me a chance to consider products and fabrics for my show. After ordering my colour atlas’, the last touches to my designs were borders and placement motifs, as I have designed for tea towels and aprons. Sending my designs off to be printed at the end of the first week back gave me plenty of time to sort out everything else, such as press packs, annotating and sorting out my files.

Preparations for the show set up went smoothly, and I was lucky to have a very helpful buddy to assist me with anything I needed. My digitally printed designs were delivered from Bags of Love with plenty of time to spare. It was lucky that I left this time as there was a flaw with two of my samples and a bank holiday weekend to consider, but thankfully I got all my stuff prepared in time, and I am so happy with the results, especially the products I made. Seeing my tea towels, table cloth and apron finished is a great feeling and I’m proud of myself for being able to make them all, despite a few issues with a jammed sewing machine. After a lot of fiddling around, I’m confident that my display for the show looks organised and professional. The only thing I’m not too confident about at this stage is my CAD visuals. They look professional now that they are framed and up on my wall, but these are something that I feel will always need further work, no matter how many I do. I guess practice makes perfect!

So, after a long, busy, expensive but exciting and challenging few months, it’s all finally over (almost!). This project has been a very up and down process for me, but overall I have really enjoyed it, and I’m thoroughly happy with the way my final collection has turned out. Over the last few months I’ve learnt a lot, not only through my research but about myself as a designer. I think we all underestimated how much work this project actually required, but I feel that I’ve really tried my best and given it my all, I’m happy with my work and just hope all my hard work pays off!


Little extras

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As my collection is aimed at kitchens, I wanted to add a little extra to my press pack. These are some magnets I had printed at Zazzle. I’m really happy with them, and although they are slightly darker than I imagined, I think they are a good extra to make my press pack more personal.


Show prep..

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Preparations for the show are in full swing and today I was lucky enough to have some help with preparing my tables and shelves for the display. Looking a bit bare here, but I think I’ll be on track for next week!


CV and Artist statement

I’m happy with my CV and Artist statement which are now all ready to be printed onto A5 card for my press packs. I tried to keep my designs here simple, as I didn’t want it to look too busy. I had a little help from Esyllt, who has now asked permission to use my CV as an example for future students. This makes me confident that my CV has all the information it needs.


Sample delivery

So my samples got delivered today from Bags of Love, and even though I’d like to say everything was perfect, there was unfortunately 2 little problems with my order! One sample, printed on Cotton Satin wasn’t the right colour and had come back a lot lighter than expected. It appeared to be a grey/blue rather than the light blue which appeared on my screen!

The other problem which I was more disappointed with was one of my tea towels, printed on Portobello Canvas got chopped, after I double checked that none of my designs were outside the ‘safety’ area on the order page. From what I can see, the fabric roll had come to an end, causing one of my tea towel borders to be printed on the next sheet!

Even though this wasn’t my fault, I have paid for the new order already as with the bank holiday weekend, it would be too much of a risk to contact Bags of Love, complain and wait for a response. I just hope the new one comes back as I would like it. As I ordered the replacement of this one on Portobello Canvas, I decided to change the other sample which discoloured to Portobello also, as I knew the colours would be right and I didn’t have to fuss around with changing colour saturations on Photoshop. This won’t effect my collection, as the design on this sample is suited to either of my 3 fabrics.

Thankfully, apart from those minor issues, everything else was perfectly fine and I am ready to start overlocking and preparing my headers this week. Feeling organised!


Alternative colourways

ALTERNATIVE COLOUR PALETTES TO PRINT 3I put alternative colourways in my self set brief for this project as I was under the impression that I could use the colours in my colour palette and just arrange them in different ways. Unfortunately I was wrong, so instead had to find 2 other colour palettes, forecasted for Spring/Summer 2017 that were completely different to mine. The image above shows my original colour palette (top row) and 3 others. At first I was going to use the first 3 palettes shown here, but after doing the designs realised that palette number 2 was just too similar to my original:

So, here are the designs I decided on:

At first, I wasn’t keen on these designs at all, but I guess I’ve got used to them now that I’ve looked at them as part of my collection, and I look forward to seeing them on fabric when my samples get delivered next week. Finally, I now know how to do alternative colourways correctly!


Final designs.. SENT!

So, slightly later than planned due to one of my fabrics being discontinued and replaced with another, my final designs have finally been sent off to be digitally printed by Bags of Love, and at a much lower price than I originally expected… Yay!

Here is my final collection, split into three families, containing co-ordinates, alternative colourways, borders, repeats and placement motif designs. I can’t wait to see them, it all seems real now… the end is in sight!

FAMILY 1: STORAGE. I named my families based on which motif stands out most. For this one, it’s jars.

FAMILY 2: TABLEWARE. Main motif: cutlery, and marks/texture created using cutlery.

FAMILY 3: FOOD PREP. This collection is created with marks made with food, and utensils used to prepare food within the kitchen.