Design a site like this with
Get started

Starting the Squirrel Collection

After my completion of the first kind of draft of my dormouse collection on Saturday, I took a break on Sunday (Probably my first day off in over three months!) and then got back into it today. My first job was drawing up the motifs and performing colourways of the different motifs that I was going to use around it. As I mentioned previously, there is a slight change in the colours from one mini collection to the next, simply using a different combination of the four key colours, pink, green, blue and yellow. The red squirrel was done using warm browns, as to not take it too far on the bright red spectrum, and then the other colours were pink, blue and yellow for this little collection.

I always complete a range of motifs to choose from in a variety of colours. The worst thing I encounter is when I am halfway through a pattern, think that I just need a little pink space filler here, and then actually see that I have a blue one and a yellow on and no pink, so I have to do back to drawing. So now I always make sure I have a lot of different colours, shapes, and combinations of motifs to get through the hero and beyond.

I tried out some hero designs here using the squirrel motifs, and I do not know quite what I wanted to do here because something just seems off with it.

I put them into repeat but I knew I wanted to adapt the tile into a half drop anyway, but first I wanted to be happier with the actual hero design.

I created a second hero design here and just used more of a pink and blue majorly over the yellow in this one. I liked this a lot more I think it just looked like a better balance with the colour and less crowded with the colours, not the motifs, the pattern is busy and I very much think that is my style.

I now went into the half drop building from this tile and I am happy with the end result of this, I actually think I like the white one because the motifs seem to stand out a lot more from the background. The dots have been very useful in my designs to fill some space and also make some designs look a little more modern. They also bring some of the key colours into the design again in a more blocky way which I like.

The repeat is probably more of a small scale than I would have liked it but overall I am quite happy with it and the colour balance. The squirrel motifs look how I wanted them to and the different poses have given quite an interesting variety.

From the motifs in the hero and more colours and styles of it, I decided to start some patterns that go along with the hero I had created. So I knew I had blue and pink in my mind but I wanted to be mindful of using enough of the yellow too. I created some colourways of a couple of these designs too. I particularly like the first multi-coloured design on the white as the motifs really stand out against the white background.

I think I am getting the hang of using blender designs better, I think they are still a little busier than I have seen before but I definitely gravitate towards this busy style and I think if done on a very small scale, the busyness works as a blender too. I do like the dots again, this seems to be a nice idea to combine my colours, and I can quickly give this a few different colour options in the background, and maybe changing the dots once or two and ending up with a complex and busy dot design.

I did a poll on my design instagram, and came up with the faded dot design being voted the best one, so I went with this again and I think it has worked well here too. Overall the colour scheme of the little collection was pink, blue and yellow, I mainly used blue and yellow and white for backgrounds in this collection as I knew the pink was quite dominant in the dormouse collection and I wanted to avoid it being bold in all of the collections, except the one where it does not feature in as I think it would just look like too much of it if the three with pink were all heavy on the pink and the one wasn’t, I want the designs to flow and have that similarity between them, almost like it isnt obvious that one is missing one of four colours each time.

Squirrel Pattern Board

I created the pattern board here to tie together my designs and figure out which ones of them I wanted to use, I have colourways for most of these which I think I could incorporate into a later board, but for now, this shows the blue, yellow and pink squirrel board.

Dormouse board

Compared to the dormouse board, the pink and yellow flow through it but the blue has given it a different look, and thats what I hope for when I continue into the hare and the hedgehog with the colour schemes working like that.


Hero Design Creation

The main task I wanted to do today was creating the hero design, or at least some ideas for it so I have something prepared for a tutorial. The idea for the hero was to make sure that there was a variety of poses in the dormouse so there was variation to look at across the pattern. I also wanted to design a placement piece of the animal as I thought it could be quite interesting for the front of a notebook or something like that. I think this would be quite effective as long as it is well drawn and bold.

I created a variety of poses for the dormouse, I think particularly the bright eyes made it look good. Overall I think these worked well in terms of colouring and shapes too because there is a lot of difference in the shapes and forms with the tail especially.

I first created this full drop repeat tile, using all the different dormouse poses that I could. I started with a white design which I think does look good and makes the colours stand out, I know I have some options in the secondaries and blenders I have already done that are white as well but I think my hero needed to be colourful. I tried pink as it is a main colour in this part of the collection, I also tried the green and I think the natural dormouse colourings stood out from this a lot better. I then rolled with this and added some dots, and then also some blobs in the background which call back to experimenting with texture. I tried this in a yellow too because this is also a key colour in this part of the collection, although I think is it used a little less than the green and pink.

On the note of colourings, my idea for the collection at the moment is that I want to add a few shades of blue to the colour scheme, which will help me to differ between the various animal collectives within this large collection. I thought about maybe making one colour each be the obvious dominant colour for each animal, but I just felt like this was quite restrictive, so by adding blue to the scheme I could use three dominant colours for each little animal collection. So actually each colour will be in three out of four of the collections, so they all will tie together, but the mixture of the three colours in each set will set it a little apart from the other animals.

So the dormouse is green, pink and yellow. Looking at the motifs and what types of things I want to include in each, I put the hare down as green, yellow and blue (lighter shades of blue to keep the green as the dark powerful one) and then the squirrel with pink, yellow and blue (blue in darker shades to be the powerful dark colour here) and then finally the hedgehog in green, pink and blue, which I think will be really interesting.

I put them into repeat here to get the idea of them and I think they are cute, I think because the animals are the main point of it, they do stand out a little in the repeat. I thought about trying a half drop for the hero design because it is an important one and the repeat being less obvious I think would be better.

I went through the half drop process from my full drop tile and shown here is a larger scale and a smaller scale design. I think these look quite fun and shows a variety of the dormice and a good colour balance across them.

I used some of my favourite motifs here to create some fun secondary designs. I can see these working really well on the stationary ideas that I have and also fabric products such as giftware, a makeup pouch or a pencil case. I also think these designs do look modern, in my tutorial before I started any real designing we discussed my target market being 25-30 year olds and I was advised to maybe age it up a little because they may turn out as quite classic designs, which I think I understood if I had gone with a natural colour palette completely like I did with some of the fabric stitched experiments. I think these do suit the age group that I was aiming for though with the inclusion of the bright colours and the dots seem to make it more modern looking too. I like busy designs and I think this is definitely my kind of handwriting with design. Throughout my Spoonflower challenges too you can see I go for a busy design and I think these have worked well for me.

Finally today I experimented with a placement design, that I imagine on a notebook or even an art print. I think if I was going for a print I would keep it very minimal or maybe go with one of the borders, however for a notebook I also think the faded dotty design behind the dormouse is a cute one that would work well. I thought the leaf trails around it in the corners would work but they do just look just disjointed from the design and I prefer the dots that tie it into the rest of the collection by using the colours, as the white background here is different to the hero but does tie in with some white backgrounds I used throughout my little collection.

On the subject of borders I did try out some border designs, I imagined it going down the side of a notebook page or even on a cover.

I do quite like the effect of these and I will look into doing more of these throughout the other collections I do.

So on the note of other things to try, I think a proper stripe would be interesting and different, and some other border designs, like maybe a two sided one that would rotate and form a circle in the middle. I think I could also use this dot idea to form a stripe too.

Professional Practice Progress and Self-Check-In

I have been steadily working towards what I know I need to do for professional practice, just looking at what my cohort have already completed and talking to my friend and housemate, Elin. I spent some time a few days ago looking through the module handbook and trying to find as much resources as I can for professional practice, honestly to not much luck.

I made myself a little list of things I would include in my last presentation of action I have already taken and things that I want to do as I did find out that essentially professional practice is an action, what do I intend to do next after uni?

This is a difficult question for me in a number of ways, first of all, my health. I have not been able to consistently do what I need to every day, one day I could feel fine and manage to even drive a good distance, but other days I could be very anxious and not leave my workroom, but work and my patterns and art has been a good outlet for me. I could focus on them for hours and then suddenly the day is nearly over and I can go to bed and try again tomorrow. However, this means I could not see myself coping well with a job right now, the isolation also does not help and I feel anxious around people, so I have started going to shops and going out more to try and get back into society and try and solve some of these issues as I want to keep the option of a job open for myself. Because of my health also, I went part-time on the course for a short time which meant my next year would be spent finishing off the course, so my next steps towards my future were not as pressing as they are right now that I am finishing the course this year. And finally, Covid-19, the graduate job market has been affected, the housing market has been affected, so these were things that I wanted to work around in my plan, and have a plan essentially that I could put into action no matter what is happening or where I end up.

So the first thing I thought about was my press pack, I have been working on my business cards and I think they are ready to go after my tutorial a few weeks ago with Suzanna. I would like to show these to someone one more time for some feedback before I send them to print because that is very final. I think I then managed to insert the kind of formula that I wanted and made quite a cohesive collection including a postcard, personal statement, CV etc. I think I will expand this to include ‘Thank you for ordering’ cards, maybe think about an email signature and continue to expand my CV and skills to go onto it and my LinkedIn profile, which I have started actively posting some of my work on.

I think I will also talk about my portfolio website that I created, I think this is important as the handbook mentions ‘exampe of professional web presence’ so I think this represents this well, as well as my LinkedIn and business Instagram page, and also covers a digital portfolio of my work which I cannot wait to put my graduate collection on too.

I also want to cover workshops I have done, I need to keep a list of these as I have taken a few since lockdown, with the University, with the careers service and also workshops and classes on Skillshare and Careercake. I have also taken a few free workshops with the General Assembly and some small businesses I have seen on various design social media sites.

I have also actively been taking part in contests, particularly the Spoonflower contests, which I think most importantly has shown me how to make things more marketable and attractive to the general public. The contests are judged by likes and it is encouraging to see a general rise in my number of likes I get per week, with my jellyfish one doing well, then my Canadian Wildlife one doing well, and currently my Ice Cream Truck design getting about forty likes today which is really great to see. I also entered an OhhDeer pillow contest and will try to do their new contest now for the box design, hopefully I think have some time!

Next I think I need to cover what actually happens next? What can I actually do with the presspacks?

So I think my main options would be:

– Further study

– My own business

– A job or internship

I have looked into further study before and it seems like the only place I can actually do a Surface Pattern Design masters is in Swansea, which may be an option next year, I do not think I could dive straight back into education now, especially after finishing so late in the summer. I would get a couple of weeks free and then have to jump straight in again, and things are very different now with the virus, I would consider doing a remote degree because I have coped well with this situation now and become very independent as a designer. I think my next step in this aspect would be to talk to the careers service to discuss my options at Cardiff Met as Textiles does not have a page dedicated to a masters but I thought past students said about doing it, so this is something I would like to find out, I did want to do the Cardiff Met Award’s Entrepreneurship extension too.

In terms of starting my business, I have created a business plan now. I think with my business ideas there is a lot going on, and I think keeping the costs down right now is important, but I have been looking at grants and bursaries for this and will continue to research these.

I have also applied for a couple of remote working jobs in the design industry, this is something I would definitely have a go at, remote working as I have said seems to suit me and I am being through a lot of work at the moment. I do struggle a little with my work-life balance and work usually takes over, but with a paid job this is something I could work on a lot better. I have also reached out and contacted a couple of design companies that I liked the look of and offered them my website link as a portfolio to have a look at.

I think finally I will add a slide that illustrates some researc into craft fairs and exhibitions in the future, this could be especially useful if I decide to go in my own business direction as it would be a good way to market myself. I think I should also include the last slide about the effect of Covid-19 on my work and my life and plans. Ultimately I think Covid-19 has shown me what is important, one main thing I would like to do next in life is move in with my boyfriend, who I know would be very supportive of my business. I think the most important thing that has come out of Covid-19 is that it is okay to be uncertain, it has been a stressful, scary year and a little break to just explore my options and create things that I like is also an option that should not be overlooked.

I think actually getting this down in writing has shown me what needs to be done still and what progress I have made, I also want to make a note for myself that there needs to be a reflective statement written for Professional Practice as well.

Berry, Foliage and Flower Patterns

I moved on today to some berry patterns, using just the berries and related foliage here. I did make a point of separating these for the sake of creating these mini collections but once I do a proper hero design I will then work from there and perhaps combine some of the berry and mushrooms and things like that.

These show some quite busy designs that I would maybe call heroes or busy secondaries, I found with these that having a kind of half drop motif throughout it catches the eye but all the smaller ones helps to distract from this. The top one too with the colours on the background is interesting as it means I do not have to have a solid colour in the background.

These I would say are the busier kind of blenders on such a large scale or secondaries. I actually really like the colours against the white background and I think both of them work well together. The other one looks maybe a little muted but the colours do look nice together.

These I would say are much more blender feeling, although I think the scale of these could be put down an awful lot to make them a lot smaller. I reused the two right hand patterns and just made them more simple, I think the top one works well and the bottom one is nice but I think I prefer it with the dots as welll. The instant response I got from the left hand ones were ‘Jellybeans’, so I do not think this translated well, especially in that size, maybe if they were smaller scale they would look different but I think the more random dot designs I have done work nicely.

I tried some designs based on some of the foliage motifs I had started to create. The first image I think shows some nice examples in the left hand ones, I like the scale of these as well. The next photo shows some more blender or secondary type designs, which I think work but do not excite me very much.

I had this idea for blenders at around 5am when I woke up in the awful heat, just alternating the size of the dots for a more interesting dot effect. I think the three colourways work well too and I think these could work well with the hero kind of designs so I am happy with these.

Lastly today I tried some flower designs, I did not expect great thing from these by themselves as I struggled with the aromatherapy contest in this way. I think overall the dark experiments actually turned out a lot better, which is weird as I do not use a great deal of dark backgrounds in my work. I think the light green one (which looks a little light blue in the yellow lit room I took the picture in) looks almost christmassy, which is definitely something that I want to avoid. I think the white flowers are interesting and both colourways work well, but I am not sure how these fit in with the rest of the collection, so this is something I would have to check while I am picking the final kind of results.

Making the Mushrooms into Patterns

I began working with the mushrooms and found that they were very fun to work with and I kept just finding other ideas to work with. I explored texture with the mushrooms, particularly the kind of weird uneven patterns on the top, and some that were spotted, and this was something I knew I wanted to work more with this.

I wanted to make these quite bright and fun patterns and experimented a lot with scales and colourways, backing textures and motif sizes. I had a lot of fun with these and just carried on finding new little things to do and I wanted to give myself a lot of choice because these will probably only represent one or two patterns out of the whole 30 part collection. Although like my Spoonflower collections, I only need to make one pattern but giving myself that little challenge of going further and creating a whole little set from it is good practice for me. I also want to set a lot of time apart to edit my collection and really decide what I want for the best possible combination and representation of my work.

I also created a set of blenders, using the textures that I was taking from the mushrooms in a number of different colourways and combinations within this. I quite enjoyed doing these too as I think they do look pretty and I could picture them working well with other designs.

Finally I printed these out to check the colours because my laptop looks so so different than printed or even my ipad. I think this is important to make sure I like the colours. I considered that my greens are a little bright, but I know I also liked muted colours, and I have been surprising myself lately with brighter colours and how much I actually like them.

I printed them out and had quite the collection here of blenders, secondaries and a couple of possible heroes for the mushrooms. I think it would depend on where I wanted the mushrooms to be represented in the collection as to what kind of pattern I will use from these sets eventually, or whether I develop even more from these.

I wanted to explore colourways a lot and these show a few examples of this, just showing some of the main background colours changing and how they look with each one and seeing how the colours work together. Sometimes I would change the colours of the dots or squiggles too but primarily I used these to add some contrast back into the work too, so a green background pattern with yellow and green mushrooms would have pink dots.

I also experimented with different backgrounds by trying different sizes of dots and squiggles, looking at regular repeats and seeing what these looked like, I do not like the ones with the even repeats behind them as I think they just look textured. I prefer the uneven dots that I add in myself with even pattern, the same with the little squiggles.

Lastly, the main experiment was scale where I went from the actual tile I used to make the seamless repeat, then a large scale repeat and a smaller scale repeat. I think these worked well actually in the different scales. If I had to choose what scale to use to put it on something maybe like a small pencil case I would probably use the middle one for wanting to see the different motifs. But I do think the bottom one would work too as more of a coloured pattern to look busier.

Mushrooms and Berries Motifs

I wanted to start some patterns now, and I thought taking some of the elements that I wanted to play around with as motifs in the animal patterns would be a good place to start, while I slowly draw the more complex dormouse images.

I have been developing my motif style as time as gone on while working on Spoonflower contests, where my style has slowly adapted while I have been learning how to do things in Procreate and make more detailed motifs without them looking too realistic. I also made sure to include a few colours for the motifs because sometimes when in a pattern I found I needed more of a certain colour to balance it out, then realised that I had originally drawn everything in the one colour and it was hard to change. Another thing I have learnt how to do better on Procreate.

My pattern contests can be found here:

Natural Dyeing and Non-Natural Dyeing

As I am working from home and sometimes limited with my choices in fabrics, I wanted to try and dye my own using my garden materials. My garden had been such an influence on my designs that I thought it would be a great idea to try and use the natural materials there to create the dyes. I wanted to create greens especially because I could not really find any berries or anything that would create a pink colour. So I tried a nettle pot, and a grass pot too, which did not really go too well.

The nettle one smelt awful, and even after a good few days I could not really get the colour out of it to make any difference to the fabric, the same happened with the grass, the water got a little coloured but did not impact on the plain linen at all.

I added more nettles and boiled for longer, tried a few things, I was not very precise with the original recipe so this may have had an impact on it. I ordered a dylon packet anyway in a lovely natural colour so I decided to give this a go instead.

The colour produced was quite a natural earthy green which I do like, but also my collection is a little brighter than this so maybe I should have tried a more tropical kind of green too to see the difference, which I think I would have done if I had more time with this project. I did try out some tie dye techniques however to test the idea of the texture into the cloth, and I think I could work with bleach and how it reacts to the newly dyed surface as well.

Flowers Research and Drawing

I cannot believe that I forgot to properly cover flowers in my book, I did a couple of them and then I rearranged my photos, put them safe and forgot about fifty flower photographs that I had tucked away. I decided to start some markmaking and studies from them in my secondary book and explore the shapes and colours from the photographs that I took mostly in my own garden.

I enjoyed the watercolour experiments and playing with shade and contrast, although I think I preferred doing the things like the mushrooms and the berries. I do not think the flowers would be a huge part of the designs, just a small elements of some of them. So I think I am ready to take some ideas forward to Procreate now and see how things work there.

Spoonflower Contest – Aromatherapy

This week’s Spoonflower contest was aromatherapy, I do not know much about aromatherapy besides lavender supposedly helps with calmness and sleep, which is why I buy a lot of things with that scent. While I was researching I learnt more about the different essential oils and uses that can help with a lot of different things. I thought about what kind of smells I like, and started looking a few up, as I did not actually know what a lot of them looked like before they were put into the little oil bottles.

I started noticing quite a lot of flowers and decided maybe this was the way to go, I work with a lot of natural elements like foliage and branches and leaves, but I actually have not done too much with flowers and I do need to practice some because wildflowers are included in my graduate collection in some patterns I think. So I settled on Chamomile, Geranium and Yarrow, as I thought they were the most interesting and fun ones to do. I tried a really busy repeat where the background just wasn’t seen at all but I thought it looked way too much and busy.

So I tried a busy ish one here where there was not a huge amount of background left, but the negative space was used around each motif, and dots used to break it up a little. I also created this secondary design in the blue which was far more simple, I like this one too but I just did not feel the want to carry on creating patterns out of this and I wanted to move back on to my module work. I still feel like I could do more from my ice cream truck contest and I would like to expand this into some related themes too.

Bleaching Leaves on Fabrics

I enjoyed playing around with the leaves and bleaching them onto fabric, I think it worked even better than doing it on paper, more like doing it on tissue paper and removing that colour. I created a dyed green fabric and decided to bleach this back and see if it just removes the colour.

The method for this is to use a SYNTHETIC brush (I learnt my lesson after my natural bristle brush ended up without any bristles left) and paint the back of the leaves using bleach, I have used bleach and a bleach-water mixture, they both seemed to do the same just I think some fabrics could not handle the undiluted bleach. I then printed these leaves onto the dyed fabrics and flattened it with a book to get an even spread. Then removed the leaf and watched it develop. They actually turned quite orange which I did not expect but the effect of it is good.