Wednesday, 27 March 2013

End Of Year Show Ideas

As the end of year show is fast approaching I decided that I wanted to start looking at how I could present my work for the show. As I want to do stationary, including note books, cards, wrapping paper, and also possibly ceramics including mugs and plates I wanted to start looking at how I could possibly combine all these different elements and make them harmonise and work together.

Firstly I started to look at Craig Fellows, who I saw the work of in Stockport Gallery a couple of Christmas' ago. I looked on his blog and thought that he displayed his work really well, he too has a mixture of different items and products on display that included, beautiful silk scarves, poster prints, cards, wrapping paper, cushions, and purses. I think that the reason that his display works so well because the colour palette is subtle and soft, another reason is that he has different groups of items together, such as the scarves and the cushions. Another thing that I think works really well is that he has displayed the items on different levels, he had hung the silk scarves quite high so they delicately drape down the wall, he has then placed items on a table and smaller boxes near the floor, creating lots of layers of interest.

The next artist/designer I looked at for inspiration was Katharine Watson, a print maker who specialises in block printing in particular. The reason the way she presents her work caught my eye was because she creates alot of cards and notebooks, which I thought were quite tricky to present. She has also quite a simple and folky feel about her work, and also looks as if she prints on to natural and rustic papers, which is something that I want to do in my work too. 

I like how the notebooks and cards have been displayed on shelves, not stacked or laid on a table, this means that people can see all the cards as a collection. I am not keen on the vibrant red back ground, I feel in a way it takes something away from the objects on display. 

I also wanted to try and create some wrapping paper to include in the show, however instead of just having sheets of wrapping paper just laid out, I thought it would be more interesting and realistic if I actually wrapped some boxes in the wrapping paper and then maybe tied some ribbon or string around. This would also be really good to photograph and then put in my portfolio too. 

Also one of my tutors gave me a great idea to include in my show, as I am doing work with rubber stamps, (as seen in my work for BMW) and I also want to include this style of working into this brief, it would be a good idea to have stamps laid out and then visitors could use the stamps to either stamp into a sketch book or I could even put blank cards out and they could then use the stamps to create their own card. I thought that this would be a great idea and would really get people involved in the show. I will have to think about this more and create some samples and maybe I could also talk to other people and see what they think, and would they get involved if they saw it in a show. 

V&A London

On the same day I went to the Natural History Museum later I went to the Victoria and Albert Museum because I have always been interested and wanted to go there but had never had the opportunity or time when in London previously. The V&A is the largest museums of decorative arts and design and has a huge collection of over 4.5 million objects. It has objects and artefacts from all over the world and from different centuries and eras, including Victorian, Edwardian, Post- war. And includes fashion, ceramics, furniture, jewellery, metal work, sculpture and textiles.

The first part of the museum I went to was fashion and textiles, I thought it was really interesting how they displayed the dresses and fashion pieces showing really early pieces from the Victorian period and then going through time and era's and had more modern fashion pieces. I loved the prints and the colours of the two dresses above in particular and also the silk scarf below, I thought that the prints were really simple but beautiful. 

As there was so much to look at and such a variety I was surprised as to what I found interesting and was drawn towards. I really loved looking a costumes and theatre design costumes and stage designs. I thought that they were really special and could recognise which show and theatre productions they were from. And the amount of skill and detail that goes into making these costumes. 

This was an exact replica of Kylie Minogue's dressing room, from one of her tours.

There were lots of costumes from both the theatre and pantomimes, including The Lion King, and lots of Shakespeare's plays.  

I was also really surprised that I found the ceramics so interesting, they had a huge selection of ceramics from all over the world and from different era's. These are a couple that I liked the most, the top left are ceramic tiles with one of William Morris' designs on. The other two I thought that the patterns, prints and colours were really beautiful and pretty.

I really enjoyed my afternoon and the V&A and would love to of back and see one of the special exhibitions, as a was a couple of days early to see the David Bowie exhibition, but I think I may be going back to London later in the year, so hopefully I will get the opportunity to go back and see it.

Natural History Museum London

On the last day in London I decided to go to the Natural History Museum, I thought it would be useful and help me in my work as I am looking at animals in particular birds, and I was getting bored of going to the Manchester Museum every time a new project came about, and the animal exhibition was under renovation. I went there mainly to look at the birds, but I also am interested in all different types of animals and insects and found myself wondering around the museum for ages.

I thought that there would be more birds on display, but there was only a small selection that would be suitable for my needs, however I took some photographs that would be suitable for my work. I took photographs of any that I thought would fit into my work, so anything that I thought was a good shape or position, or that resembled a green parrot, (as the story I am working from isn't too specific on what type of parrot it is, just that it is a parrot and it is green) I was also looking at the colours of the birds, how the colours of their feathers blend and mix together and there are no harsh lines or areas where one colour changes into another.

I found this painting in the bird section and thought that the composition was really interesting, although they are all the same type or breed of bird and are all a similar size and the same colour, they all look different and interesting because they are in a different composition or position. I also like how the artist has include the branches, twigs and leaves, I think that this adds more interest and depth.
Like with the photographs I took in Manchester Museum I will use these photographs to sketch and draw from and hopefully they will help me draw some parrots for my designs and patterns for my final project. 

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Erica Wakerly

On the second day in London we went to  meet the designer Erica Wakerly, who specialises in mainly wallpapers. She told us a brief history of where she studied and how she started, she told us that she did a degree in graphics, however she found the process of making and designing more interesting and also liked the idea of printing, so she then did a Masters in Printed Textiles. In 2006 she created the design Angle, which was one of her first big designs and is still probably her most popular to date.

She also told us about the processes she uses to create her works, like how she only likes screen printing and likes the tradition that goes into screen printing, and likes the quality and look that it gives. She also told us how she had tried digital but didn't like the look or effect it gave and went back the the tradition of screen printing. 
She also talked about how she creates the designs for the wallpapers and how she draws them. I thought how she creates the drawings was really interesting, and inspiring and something that I have never though of before. She told us that she creates small sculptures and models and then draws from them, this creates a more three demential drawing, therefore making them more interesting and have more depth. I think that this technique of making small models and sculptures and then drawing from them really translates into the drawings, you can see this in the wallpaper 'houses', where you can see that the houses are not flat they have been drawn from different angles and viewpoints, they have also been drawn with shadows. 

Another process that she uses to create her works was to create a college of different images and photographs and then drawing from this. This creates a more layered and dense image. You can see this process being used in the wallpaper 'homes', where the images collected were all from 1950's magazines and photographs. The drawings have been overlapped and layered on top of one another creating an interesting wallpaper, however it doesn't look too complicated as they are simple line drawings in black and white. 

She also talked about how she has had her wallpaper used, she mentioned how her wallpaper had been used in Topman across the country, also they have been used in bars and restaurants too, as often they want something different, unique and high quality. 
Like the visit to Timorous Beasties the previous day Erica also talked about how she doesn't follow trends, and instead does what she wants too and what inspires herself. I think that it's great that a designer has the courage to step out from the main stream and do what they are inspired to do instead. 

I think from Erica I have learnt not to be afraid of challenge myself and not to give up, I talked to her about my work and how I was finding repeating a pattern difficult and wondered if she had the similar problems when she first started, she told me that she did and it does take a lot of time and practice to get a repeat right. She said that even now it takes her along time, and I think that I was rushing repeats and have realised that they do take a long time to create and master. I have also learnt new techniques and have gotten ideas about drawing, just like when we were in first year and we made hybrid animals from found objects and recycled items, and then used these models to draw from later. 

Timorous Beasties Shop Visit

Last week a few of us from surface design and illustration went to London for a couple of days to meet some designers, and visit some galleries and museums. On the first day we were there we had a trip arranged to see the Timorous Beasties shop near Angel tube station. There we met Kate, who is the shop manager, she runs the shop where people can view and purchase the wallpapers and fabrics. I was really looking forward to this appointment, as I have become really interested in Timorous Beasties over the past few years, since I was first introduced to then in the first year of the degree. And I have found myself writing about them for numerous occasions, for both essays and blog posts, so I felt I had some knowledge of their style, influences and techniques.

Kate told us a brief history of Timorous Beasties and how all three of them had first met when studying at university together, and how they had worked together for a long time.
She also told us about how they don't follow trends, they aren't interested about what is going on in the mainstream textiles industry. I thought that this was really interesting and very brave of them, as most companies follow trends and fashion in interiors because this is most likely to make them more popular and more money. Whereas Timorous Beasties don't follow these trends, they are individual and do whatever they feel passionate about or are inspired by at that particular time.

Kate also told us about some of their new designs including the New York Toile, which I had never seen before and didn't know they that had created a new toile to add to their collection of previous toiles (Glasgow, Edinburgh, and London). Much like their other toiles it depicted images and famous scenery from New York, including people crossing busy roads, the statue of liberty, people sitting in central park, and the famous yellow taxi's. She told us that each of the scenes had been drawn by either Alistair or Paul on various trips to New York. These images and drawings were then turned into small scenes to make up the wallpaper design.

Kate also talked about the process and techniques that Timorous Beasties use to create their beautiful wallpapers and fabrics. She told us how they are still passionate about screen printing, and also keeping the tradition of having everything made and printed in the UK, which I think is really unique and a special tradition to keep alive, as the UK was at the forefront of printing and textiles in the past.
Aswell as the traditional screen printing they also use digital printing as they can introduce much more colour, fine detail and intricacy into their designs, as this couldn't be achieved with screen printing.

Aswell as new deigns such as the New York Toile, they have also been creating beautiful and intricate nets, creating a fresh and interesting take on something that is possibly seen as outdated or old fashioned. The nets are also being produced and made in one of the last lace and net companies in the UK, again they have thought about producing the items in the British tradition.

In the shop there was also a large selection of cushions, mugs, and plates that had a selection of their most famous prints on, such as the bee, a scene from a toile or a butterfly. I really liked the section of ceramics that they had produced and has really inspired me into looking at putting some of my designs onto ceramics for the final show at the end of the year.

I think that one of my favourite collections in the shop was the Ruskin collection, it included lots of different beautiful and interesting exotic birds. 

Overall I really enjoyed meeting Kate and listening and learning from her, and getting an idea of the industry and what it is like to be a designer. I have also learnt that you don't always have to be 'safe' with you designs it's good to step outside the box and don't be afraid to be different and take chances and risks. And to find something that truly inspires you rather than doing it because you feel you have too, because if you produce something that you are interested and passionate about then that passion and interests will translate into your work and designs. I feel that from this visit I have gone away with alot of motivation, and have gone away with a lot of tips and more knowledge on the industry.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Lord Whitney

A while ago we had a visit from Lord Whitney, who set us an small and interesting brief. I know the illustrators have been given briefs and worked with Lord Whitney before, but it was something new for the surface designers. The brief they gave us said that we could spend as much or as little time on it as we wanted, it could be only a couple of hours or a few days, also it wasnt meant to be thought and fussed about too much, it was meant to be a sort of escape from our final project, which I thought was a good idea, as sometimes you can become too wrapped up in your current work and just need to get away and take some time away and then come back to it later on. I think that the illustrators have had similar briefs in the past, were they only last for a couple of days or so, however it was a first for the surface designers, so I wasn't sure how I would react and work on this brief as I have a tendency to sometimes over think and plan things too much. 
The brief said that we should illustrate any of Edward Lear's nonsense poems, the poem I chose was;

There was an old man of Dumbree,
Who taught little owls to drink tea;
For he said, 'To eat mice,
Is not proper or nice'
That amiable man of Dumbree.
I started by drawing the cups, mugs and teapots using a black fineliner. 

I then decided to make the owls, I stated by cutting out basic owl shapes from found paper, then drew on top using black fine-liner. I wanted each to have their own personality and to each look different from one another, so some are cute and friendly where as other look moody or sleepy. 

I then stated to draw the mouse, I ripped a piece of grey paper and then drew the basic mouse shape and some cheese using fine liner. I drew his happy because he's meant to be safe from the owls. I think the mouse is my favourite element.

I then had to find away of combining all the different elements together, so I jumped on photoshop, scanned in my drawings and then layered and combined them together, and this was the end result. 

Overall I really liked the outcome, I think there could have been a few things to improve on, such as the drawing style and using different materials and techniques to draw with, however because it was only over a couple of days I'm proud of it. I think it has shown me how much work I can actually produce in only a couple of days. I also think it has helped me to have more freedom in my work and not plan out and over think too much.