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Structures, sheds and fences research and experiments

I continued in my sketchbook by exploring structures that the animals would encounter, maybe sleep in, along their way. This started with stone walls that I see in the mountains, or some wooden fences with barbed wire that I thought would be encountered regularly. I added annotation about how I thought these experiments went in my book, basically explaining that I could try some patterns with the walls as a stripe but I would like my patterns to remain interesting and pretty with the species in mind when I design all of them. I thought about adding foliage and flowers to the walls or fences to make them prettier too which I think I could take forward and try in Procreate.

The rest of the pages focused on the sheds and buildings and the textures I pulled from them. I think some of these will be interesting to explore more in some markmaking in Procreate, I explained in my annotation why some others I feel like did not work at all for the woodland purpose, such as the corrugated metal sheds.


Natural Felting

I had done a little bit of felting with the wool tops I had, but thought about a more natural colour to try and use. I went for a walk around my field and in the woodlands and managed to find sheep wool on trees and fences, so I collected a ball and brought it home. As this was just a sample to try, I was not too concerned with washing it, I would have to research what to do if I wanted to turn this wool into something that would not smell or be a little dirty from mud or trees.

I did a close up of the wool to show the texture, it obviously gets wet and dries a lot from a sheep and being just out in nature, which is the start of the felting process anyway. But the next step is to pull the wool apart into thin strands and lay it down on some bubble wrap, first doing a layer of it facing one way, then a layer of it on top facing the other way. A horizontal layer and a vertical layer, keep going it depends on what thickness you want the felt to turn out like. I did about three to four layers which will produce a thin sample here, which I thought would work better for producing a nice bonded sample.

This is what it looks like when the layers are stacked up, try and make it into the best kind of shape you want to produce.

Next, add some soapy warm water into a jar or something and pour a little onto the felt, then fold the bubblewrap over on top of it and start rubbing it with circular motions, this will start to bond the layers together and fuse the fibres.

This is a long task, sometimes I will keep going for 15-20 minutes if I want a really well fused piece, if you want more holey results then do it for less time. If you want to try and achieve neat edges, fold all the little straggly bits over using the bubblewrap and rub those edges particularly to fuse those together. I usually then pick it up in my hands and rub it together with my palms, again making sure the edges are sorted.

You then rinse it under cold water, which I learnt ‘shocks’ the felt, and lay it out to dry.

Animal Embroidery Experiments

The main kind of fabric samples I wanted to try were large applique pieces that gave a good sense of detail to the animal faces and textures. I started with the hedgehog, then the hare, then the squirrel and finally the dormouse, and they all turned out looking better than the last one as I managed to get the hang of getting the details in the right places to make it look more realistic.

With the hare, I added wool tops fur into it as I was stitching so it would have a more soft appearance where it actually looks soft and feels it too. I added the squirrel’s tail in the fur as well but did the rest of the body with just a variety of stitches which I think turned out quite well.

I also tried adding some applique to the squirrel piece to create an interesting green overlay of leaves. I used fabric that I had dyed myself too so it was quite a natural colour, but I think I will it had gone a little brighter. The hedgehog was interesting and I added the linework around it, I think these is a nice experiment but I do not really see it going any further than this. I think with the digital printing, the essence of it is to make sure the printed design is how I want it and using the stitch to improve it, not to build it.

Fabric Painting Experiments

I started painting onto fabric to try and colour the fabric without adding applique adding more bulk and layers to it. I think this worked well as an experiment and I would like to try this using animals as the subject maybe to see what these end up looking like.

The dormouse went well but the paint did run a little into the weave of the fabric, so I think maybe trying a different type of paint may be useful to try and contain that a little more. I think this would have been a lot better if it had stayed in the lines. This was watercolour, so I think try something thicker next I think.

Applique Plants

I wanted to work with applique and I thought about how to make the plants actually more interesting.

I tried out some plain green and pink fabrics and also a light patterned one which I thought would work well on the pale background. I think I prefer the bold effects of the greens and pinks and the thin lined method of attaching them to the fabric, I think this lends itself to real applique type of style.

I also tried some more linear drawings onto plain fabrics which I went went okay but I prefer the colour behind it.

The hedgehog and the dormouse has turned out quite cute but not in the kind of realistic style that I wanted. I think the plants outlines are okay but better with the applique behind them or drawn with something else. I could try some painting too but I think the fabric ones just will not have the impact that I want overall.

Developing my Press Pack

The first thing that I wanted to do was work on the business cards because I had a tutorial with Suzanne last week and we discussed how to improve these, I was not happy with them and I just could not figure out how to improve them. The solution ended up being simple, or rather making them more simple. I thought I needed to include a lot more on there that I think it needed, and when we cut down on this, the designs turned out a lot better.

I am much happier with this design, I was using an older pattern from my insect collection, a pink background with green leaves over the top, however I was noticing things about it that I would have liked to change, so I decided to use some motifs from a newer pattern and create a newer version of this. I like this pattern and the dots add an interesting kind of texture to it as well. The front is much more simpler, with my name clearly on the front with my small little title, we discussed removing this too but I wanted to brand myself as a surface pattern designer, as usually the business cards are used in the exhibition so its a given that this would be the same title for nearly everyone in the room, however I am thinking ahead for having potential orders on products and would like to have that title. The back again is simple and includes the key information, of my website, my email and my instagram handle, important ways to be able to contact me now.

I moved on to my CV and after chatting with Naeem in the careers service, he suggested some improvements I could make there, which included removing the photo (Some employers like them and some do not) and other things such as combining my work experience and employment and giving more detail on the skills I have described.

I also worked on a template for a postcard, which I would like to put two more patterns onto once I have created more in this style, whether this comes from my final Exposure collection, a pattern contest or even just creating them for the branding, as I think they do reflect my love of natural things well.

It is hard to tell in the actual digital images but the difference between the two drafts I created were the borders, the one had a white border around ti and the other one did not. When I printed these out I think I do prefer the one without a border, it makes for a more impactful design and bares the resemblance to my business cards as well then where my name and description are dark on the white background rectangle.

I also created a couple of templates for the personal statement to go on, which I suspect will be done a little later once I have had more time to start working on an actual pattern collection as I think I need to reflect a little in my personal statement. Again I tried a simple design similar to the business cards which I think works, but I do waste a little more room on it with my name where it is. The second design I love because of the transparency to the pattern behind, but still would make a good clear surface to write on. I also like the positioning of my name roughly as it will look more like I have signed it and I think this could be played with more when I have more of the writing down. I know this was a little different but keeping with the main pattern will tie in it nicely and allow for the layout to be changed slightly. I also thought about other documents, such as ‘Thank you for ordering’ cards, or little memos, that could carry on with these aesthetic too so it would not be the only thing like that. To be fair the CV is a little difference without the pattern, but for a more professional image I stuck to plain coloured squares and little watermark type motifs, although I think this does work because I think a pattern would make it far too busy, and I am able to add writing to the plain green box on it.

Mock Up Folder

Finally I had a go at a mock up of a folder, putting the personal statement, CV and postcard in the one side, and originally creating that little pocket on the only side for the business card, but I prefer the business card where it is now, just obviously it would be cut with better quality. I think we are supposed to add some more pattern designs into these, so I stuck them inside the little pocket instead, but I think a better way of doing this would be to add them to the background of the inside left bit and the outside of the folder too, then add a transparent box and a little welcome message instead.

Finished Cover

So this is what the final product looked like, using the same kind of pattern on the front, but this could definitely be an coordinating pattern, with a dark band and my logo holding it closed. I thought this did look good and I can definitely use this as a template in the future now for when I have more patterns and designs to choose from. This is by no means up to a professional standard, everything was printed onto plain printer paper and stuck together just to give me an idea of what I am working with. I am happy with the results and can not wait to develop this further.

Spoonflower Contest – Ice Cream Truck

I decided to start a little early on my spoonflower contest design this week, I have been sewing and making all week and my hands were hurting. The theme was ice cream truck, which was exciting and I started to collect inspiration images of ice creams and lolly pops, and I came across a tutorial for making fruit frozen into ice lollies, which I thought looked very cool, and avoided the obvious kind of branded lollies and ice creams. Although I do plan on revisiting the idea of ice cream and confectionery again because I enjoyed using the bright colours and challenging myself.

Hero Design

I created the hero design using a range of motifs of the lollies, which I created on Procreate on the Ipad using a lot of layers, and I also wanted to use the fruits as motifs too because there is quite a bit of shading and detail in them and the transparency of the ‘iced’ lollies covers up the brightness of the colour too. I also took the shape of the pips and seeds in the kiwi and watermelons and used this as a little texture detail in the background. I think these do look a little like ice cream sprinkles too, and I think that these would have worked too because I was thinking of adding ice cream, but this could definitely be another sister collection or something.

I created a couple of ice lolly secondaries basically just experimenting with different colorways and how the colours worked together, I particularly think the purple and yellow, this is a colour scheme I tried in my first year and never really revisited until now, basically anything with the yellow did turn out better than I expected, it was bold and bright.

I decided to have a go at some repeats just using the fruit motifs as like I said, they were quite bright and I wanted to try and make the most of these designs. Aain I found some nice mixes of colours such as the red and purple and the yellow and purple, and the others were focused more on phrases, ‘lemon and lime’ and ‘oranges and lemons’ are known taste combinations, I am not so sure about the others, not sure I would eat a grape and a lemon together!

Finally I created some blenders just simply using the seed idea and combining it with a lot of colourways. I think this could be used more and a lot more colour combinations used and combined, but I stopped at four to show the overall effect of it.

Lockdown Your Career Workshop

Today I attended another careers service workshop, called Lockdown your Career, which basically focused on what we could be doing now to further ourselves professionally during this time of being stuck at home. It was described as being productive rather than just binge watching Netflix, but my problem is that I am very much still in the middle of my final module. I have over a month or maybe even two left before my deadline, which by that point could leave me in a place where the world is opening up around me while I am still indoors doing my work.

I am enjoying my work at the moment, my final module based on woodland creatures is something I enjoy drawing and stitching, trying to make it as realistic or pleasing as possible at the moment. Although this really is not leaving me a lot of time to do anything else, so I am hoping that I do get some more spare time after this to work on myself in the aspects that the workshop covers.

We spoke about doing a SWOT analysis, I usually do one of these at least one a year, and did one I think at the start of this module in January, before I thought I was not going to do it this year. We were also told to consider what skills are missing, for me I believe this could be something like illustrator and in-design, because I struggled with patterns in general until this year, when I finally was able to create them on photoshop I did not look back. Illustrator does run really slowly on my laptop, but this is something I would like to have a go at and learn about more on Skillshare, because it is clearly a skill needed in the area I want to go into.

We were also told about opportunities on Methub and other websites, and how to find them. Since jobs are a worry right now, we were also told about a variety of courses that we could do to further our education and qualifications, such as a Microsoft course and other free things about at the moment. I suppose a positive on the pandemic is that is much is online right now, and so much is free as well because a lot of people are sat at home needing things to do.

I am enjoying engaging with the careers team at the moment because I think it is helping my professional practice, I want to take opportunities like this and learn more about job searching, and how to improve myself to employers. I am also working on my CV to make sure that it is good to use for actual job applications when the time comes.

Mushrooms Research and Studies

I managed to get a couple of my own photos of mushrooms, but generally these were not the easiest things to find in my own garden despite all the places I thought I might find them. I did find some lovely second hand sources though so I decided to start some drawings and markmaking off of this.

I worked from the images and created some studies, using some watercolour styles, linear styles, and looking particularly at the textures that I wanted to explore. I think the mushrooms have provided some of the more interesting textures so far with the underside of them and the various patterns they can develop depending on what variety they are from.

I think I have shown a good range of techniques here, some worked, and others did not, but I think I decided basically the ideas that I would like to take away from these and actually make use of in my final collection designs.

LinkedIn Workshop

The Cardiff Met career service has been offering a range of workshops since lockdown started, and I always put them off because I was working on my module work so much, but this week I decided to go for it, it is almost the end of term and I do not want to miss out further.

I saw a LinkedIn workshop which I thought would be really useful because I still only feel halfway done on there building my account, and actually no idea how to use it effectively as well.

The webinar covered a range of points and examples of accounts to show the rights and wrongs of building the accounts and then how to use them to stand out and be noticed in your industry.

My profile shows a picture of myself, which is a basic need to help engagement, I also added my tagline and the kind of opportunities I am open to. I have also added a bulk of my work experience and education so it services as a CV, with links to my website which also has a CV page too. I added one of my patterns to the top header photo to show what I do, but I may change this to more updated designs as I create more as well.

The main thing I took away from it was posting, I have been meaning to start for a while after watching some Careercake videos for the Cardiff Met Award but I made a start today posting some of my recent pattern designs in the spoonflower contest, Large Birds.

I also took part in a webinar online today for Instagram Marketing, which was quite interesting, and definitely something I will look into further on Skillshare or something.