Thursday, 30 October 2014

Patternmash Designer Spotlight

Over the past few months I have been working on creating prints for Patternmash, which has really helped me to practice working quickly and efficiently to create prints for different briefs, and expanded my repeat print skills. The challenge of creating prints for themes I wouldn't have chosen has pushed me to experiment with my work and given me the confidence to design on a quick turnaround, even though I do not necessarily always personally like what I have produced.

I was recently picked for the site's Designer Spotlight feature, and the process of being interviewed led me to reflect retrospectively on my work, helping me to see how my body of work as a designer is viewed by the outside world. This has fed back into my practice as I have learnt the importance of stepping back and seeing how my project works as a whole. 

Tuesday, 14 October 2014


As I have been visiting different museums to collect imagery for my 'heritage' theme, I have come to realise that it is not necessarily the objects themselves that I am usually interested in, but the way they have been displayed. The pattern-maker side of me has been drawn to the way objects are laid out - I found it interesting to see how objects are displayed in a museum as opposed to how the exact same items would be displayed in a personal collection. After conversations in tutorials I have decided that I want my theme to focus on the 'collecting' side rather than just objects of age, as I think this will give me more of an interesting concept.

Manchester Museum (own image)

Now that I have chosen to focus on collections, I thought it was important to start putting motifs together to see how they look collectively. I was inspired by Sarah Cwynar's photography to order objects by colour, and although I like how the different shades of one colour reflect off each other, I think I need to find a way to make my work look less flat, as I feel it currently looks very uninspiring and expected.

Left: Sarah Cywnar, Right: (design work)

Sunday, 12 October 2014


One of the things I wanted to tackle first from my learning agreement was making myself be more experimental with my techniques, as I often get stuck in a rut of fineliner pen, watercolours and drawing on a small scale. As I really got into collaging over the summer, I decided to combine this technique with one of my old favourites, using sheets of watercolour painted paper and stitch to create a textured image. I also tried to work slightly bigger than usual (this piece is around A3) which I found very freeing as I could be looser - I really want to push this further in the project and do more with scale. 

I received a graphics tablet over the summer, and using this to draw straight onto my laptop has totally changed the way I work. I decided to push my new found technique to try and draw something hyper-realistic, copying museum items and also making my own objects from images of real animals (such as the horses above) which I think worked especially well in my depiction of this Staffordshire ceramic dog, as the soft brushes give a very realistic glaze effect. 

Friday, 10 October 2014

Heritage and heirlooms

I found it hard over the summer trying to come up with a project theme as I knew I would have to stick with it throughout this long project - I don't want to risk getting bored. I picked 'Heritage and Heirlooms' as I always find old objects inspiring to work from, and I have always found the past brings me lots of things to work from. Writing the first draft of my learning agreement has been an interesting task as it is quite daunting planning an entire project to last for several months: I will be intrigued to see how my work and ideas develop over the course of the project.

It was really useful creating the boards for the initial hand in after the summer, as it helped me summarise visually what I want to achieve, and I realised that I actually have a strong idea of what I want to create. I'm looking forward to getting stuck into the creativity of responding to my visual research, and my first aim from the learning agreement is to play and experiment with my techniques so that I am pushing myself from the very beginning.