I went on holiday to Valencia over summer and loved the ceramics over there (I'm a bit obsessed with ceramics at the moment anyway.) So I bought a couple of items as alternatives to regular souvenirs; but I would love to make my own pottery for fun again, as I did it when I was younger, but feel I'd get much more out of it now. We also visited a huge aquarium which also had lots of wetland birds which have great quirks and character - perfect for my current drawing project!
Over the summer, we were asked to produce three boards of research to inspire our third year work, along with a research file and to start drawing. My theme is loosely based around flight, looking at hot air balloons, birds and planes, in many different ways. This year I really want to develop a way of working with a combination of hand and digital processes, adding elements of metallics and texture. All of my work will be aimed towards the domestic interiors market in a variety of forms, but I really want to hold onto the fun and playful style I developed last year, as I feel it works well for me and I enjoy doing it.
I've done a lot of dressmaking before, and yes I can make a cushion, but not how my Mum makes them - they turn out beautiful. So i asked her to show me her technique and wanted to make my own with some lovely Sanderson fabric from the 50's collection, in particular, Park Life. I want to start slowly building up my soft furnishing making skills to a high standard, to go alongside my design skills, as I feel this will help my design work and may prove useful in the future.
A few weeks ago I went on a photography course with my mum, having the aim to get off auto, as I had a great camera for my 21st but haven't used it to its full potential. The day was a lot to take in, but I've learnt some really great techniques that I will continue to use. I think photography could be a really great hobby to have as a sideline to my textile work. Here are some of the photos, none of which are great, but they were all (but the last one) experiments at Snowshill Manor on the day.
I completed my three week work placement with Dixon Turner (UK name) or Newmor (International name) a couple of weeks ago now, but have been too busy since to blog about it! It's amazing how such a big contract wallcoverings company can be tucked away in little old Welshpool! The experience was definitely quite a contrast to working at Timorous Beasties (see the blog post here ) as it has so many departments and you have to think how things would look in hotels, offices and public spaces instead of homes.
I was shown around the factory on the first day which illustrates just how vast the production is! All of the wallcoverings are vinyl based and embossed to give hard wearing, textured finishes. All of the design work is done by just a handful of designers, which can be hand drawn or worked on a programme called AVA, which is digitally printed to test the results and then sent through to the Colourists at the proof press. The Colourists mix up the dyes by hand to give the same overall feeling as the digital sample, this is then sent to production. The company also do 'specials' for companies such as John Lewis, and 'You Chooses' where clients ask for a specific design and colour combination - so they are definitely kept on their toes!
Newmor Design Studio
Whilst at the company, one of my main tasks was to conduct a sales analysis and produce a display board to present the findings. Using my findings, I was then asked to re-colour one of the plain shade cards, 'Matrix,' taking off irrelevant colours, rearranging the palette and introducing new colours to update it. I did this using a programme called AVA which is quite complex but very useful, and the digital printer. This task involved many stages and reviews but was very satisfying when I could see the results.
One of my sales analysis boards
The digital printer for sampling
Amongst other tasks, I spent three days with the colourists, where I was asked to colour match digital samples for the new domestic range. I really enjoyed this as it was very hands on and messy! However, it was also great to see another aspect of the company and get to grips with the machinery and raw materials. It was also exciting to see how my own colours turned out as each layer of the design built up. I'm hoping I may see one of my colourways in the final cut!
Colourist Ann and the dye mixing bench
The dye bench
Russel and the proof press
I had a great experience at Newmor, learnt so much and can't thank everyone enough for welcoming me and helping me soak up lots of knowledge! Take a look at the Newmor website.
(I haven't put too many photos of the work I undertook here as much of it is yet to be released and I'd hate to ruin the surprise!)