After my tutorial with Keireine yesterday, I thought it was a good time for a check-in and to see where I feel like I am at. Keireine did raise looking closely at the brief to ensure that I am hitting points, and this seemed like a good place to start last night after I finished the hare collection. I am planning on going house-hunting tomorrow too so just reviewing and making an action plan for the week next week will be a good fresh start.
So the brief gives the main points we are required to do, including a written document which explains the rationale behind your work with a critical evaluation.
Rationale – a set of reasons or a logical basis for a course of action or belief. (oxford languages definition)
Critical Evaluation – To ‘critically evaluate‘, you must provide your opinion or verdict on whether an argument, or set of research findings, is accurate. This should be done in as critical a manner as possible. Provide your opinion on the extent to which a statement or research finding is true. (Oxbridgeessays.com)
I think understand exactly what is being asked is a key point to this, so my written document should explain my reasons for taking some of the key decisions in my work to reach that final point, comparing this to what I had set out to do in the beginning and whether this had been met, being critical of every decision along the way.
The three main points (no longer 4 with the group publicity campaign scrapped due to covid) are:
– the production of a substantial design collection arising from your own self set brief and timetable (Meaning that your own response to your own brief will be looked at, so if aims are not met this could be a downfall as these were aims written by myself to undertake)
– presentation of that work including viva, sketchbooks, technical files, samples (Making a note here that I would like to add my mockup creations into my technical file as I get to that stage)
-the generation of a final professional exhibition/professional practice (translating due to covid to professional presentation of my work, for which I have prepared a website for, and am continuing to promote my own work on my Instagram and LinkedIn)
I also looked at the learning outcomes, and wanted to make sure I was hitting some points in these and what I could do to improve on this:
– The establishment of refined aesthetic judgement – for me this was adding dots and textures to my work which are quite on trend now and give my work a modern element, also making colour decisions, like adding in that blue late to create a collection that had some difference within it across the four mini-collections. Definitely need to work on editing and trying to look past my personal tastes to something that could be commercially viable, while sticking to my style.
– Communication skills – I think this has got me more practised with blog writing and also learning how to better practice captioning on my Instagram to increase engagement and become more confident with myself in this way. Maybe work on communication of my morals and messages through my patterns and things too, especially since it is a theme that means a lot to me and has an environmental side of it.
– Extensive body of research – I think I covered this well, I enjoy researching and I covered a range of topics, this can always be expanded on, and I plan to carry out more research as I carry on with my work.
– Contemporary culture – Looking at designs for on trend products, such as hair bands and scrunchies, and also looking at colour trends too. I think I could definitely try and push this further by researching some new emerging products that I could design for.
–Establish highly creative, innovative and dynamic ideas – I stared at this line for a long time, I have always enjoyed my idea of going further than just ‘animals’ to endangered ones, to endangered woodlands animals that have a personal link to me, but I am not sure I would describe these as innovative. I will describe some further ideas I have had that I need to spend some time looking into when I start talking about my own brief, and I thought about some innovative ideas to meet some of my objectives better.
– Demonstrate a personal and ambitious vision for public display – This relates more to before covid obviously, but I would really love to make a little mock up of a desk with some products on there. My problem is that I live in an old house, with coloured walls, dark rooms and cluttered corners, so I may not be able to get professional clean images, but I will definitely try my best and try and work through any problems I experience here.
I looked at some of the helpful considerations later on in the brief, and I think answering some of these will help me to evaluate my self-set brief and how I can better respond to it.
What kind of abilities do I wish to demonstrate?
I want to demonstrate my evolving pattern creation abilities definitely, taking part in the Spoonflower contests have got me really understanding more about scale and repeats and colour balance, which I think have definitely worked out well and helped me a lot, so I was actually very excited to get to the point of pattern making for my final collection. I did not want to lose my realism in my work, in consultancy to make pattern I decided to go really graphic and simple with my designs, focusing on colour to avoid using my patternwork motifs that would not have a lot of colour onto them. At this point I did not have a great deal of confidence in my pattern abilities, but they were getting better and better. I did feel a little like I was losing myself in this new style, but throughout this module I have been adapting, adding more of my realism into my work and enjoying it. The adaptation of my realism into digital work is something I wanted to demonstrate too, as I think it is important to show I am keeping my style going.
Am I interested in a particular topic or issue?
The endangered animals was a huge part of this module for me, living in a rural area I have always been interested in animals but I think living in Cardiff for the majority of three years had made me lose some appreciation for the countryside a little, so getting back here for lockdown has been quite nice to get me reinspired by the species that I like to see here and the habitats that they live in. I think endangered animals are an important issue that people do care about, and if something as simple as buying a product was to be a helpful little push for a species then I think people would be more likely to be engaged with it, so coming up with some innovative ways to raise awareness is important.
Are the resources available and do I have the skills to produce work to the quality required?
At home I have had some limitations with my resources, I enjoy using the traditional darkroom materials in my work and I have found this hard to produce any kind of similar results to this although I have tried. Even something as simple as lino printing was hard because I cannot afford to spend a great deal of money on the equipment, so I did what I could with my materials, but it was clear I would not be able to take this much further. In terms of digital design, I have been working on my Skillshare classes to get the best out of Procreate designs and then my pattern making skills as well. So I am confident now that I have the ability to create designs and patterns that are up to the standard that I want to be able to. I use Photoshop to create my patterns, I do have some experience with illustrator and designing on it, I have tried patterns but found it harder and also my laptop seems to get a lot slower with using illustrator too. I think I will work on learning illustrator through Skillshare at the moment, and then maybe when I get a new laptop at some point I can put this into better practice. I think I have good enough photography skills that I can use to create my own mockup images, and also construction skills to actually make the products in the first place. I hate using mockup images found online, they are often very poor quality if they are free and I just like being able to create little collections in my images and position things the way that I want to. This worked great for my giftwrap collection images in Consultancy, so I would be keen to do this again with more ambitious products, and if I can continue to make them I could print off my fabric and make good use of it creating these products. I suppose the part I think I need to work on and experiment with is the in-situ kind of mock ups, as I think a lot of setup would be required to try and get a crisp clean image, it might mean building a setup with some old plasterboards and doing it up like a little exhibition space.
I wrote my self-set brief way back in January, this was when I thought I was going to be doing the module, but due to illness I was not able to start it at that point, but it was there ready and waiting for what I thought was going to be next year. I was surprised when I first looked at it again at how much I had to change, I think I was being unrealistic at that point in my aims and objectives in the timeframe, so this was the first thing I tackled, and the thing that I want to evaluate now and see what I need to do.
So my first section was an overall aim of the brief and textiles collection, where I state the aim of the collection was to raise awareness of endangered species in the UK. Raising awareness primarily means to spread knowledge of the issue and cause, and for animals I think ways to help out is an excellent source of knowledge to spread, so at this point I sat down and just thought about what I could do, and actually came up with some interesting ideas.
– After doing the hare design as a corner border placement, I thought about this in the bottom left, another pretty one in the top right, and some graphic placement to create a list of information in the middle of the page then. So for hedgehogs, it would be ‘check your bonfires, buy us food, leave out water’, a fun little way to show the various ways you could help, which I gathered information for when looking at the charities and interviewing National Trust.
-Adding facts and project links to my Instagram posts and Pinterest pins, informing people mostly my own age.
-Creating tags with facts and statements on them, where a simple fact about the animal, its habitat, its decline, and then a website for a charity or information about conservation projects could raise awareness. I was not even aware of red squirrel work so close to me, so I think this is something that people tend to miss out on in the fast-paced world, learning about your local conservation is actually very interesting. I also thought about adding custom kind of facts that relate to the patterns, like ‘There are 300 dots in this pattern, this is how many acres of woodland are removed each month’, or ‘There’s 40 leaves here on this pencil case, this is how many million hares are left in the UK, this may seem like a lot, but three years ago it was this’. Obviously figures and facts need to be current and checked, I made up those two on the spot but I can see the idea working, its just controlling how many leaves/dots etc are on each product that would be difficult, as if I was making these for real I would not be using the exact same bit of pattern each time. I think this idea creates a visual impact however which I think works well for awareness.
In terms of tags, I thought about innovation, what could I do completely out of the box that relates to this project, what if when the products were delivered, the tag could be put in the garden for a hedgehog, mouse or bird to eat? I brainstormed this idea for a while because it would need to be something that I could write or print on, unless I made use of some stickers or something instead. I thought about the idea of adding seeds with the tags, you could then plant them. Also thinking about the boxes, could you then use them as little planters? This promotes the idea of growing and encouraging a garden friendly to animals and species, like including seeds that were particularly good plants for some of these endangered species.
Another idea I developed to was creating a tag out of seeds somehow, so I need to research into this, so you could hang it out in the garden for the birds, while not targeting exact species, it is still helping animals in the garden and a fun little gift to have with the products that make me unique and memorable. I think I will have a go at seeing what I could do with this, using different seeds and substrates to create the tag shape, then I think I would have to package it and add a sticker to the outside of that instead.
Going back to the brief, I think overall I have met my objectives, I made a few little notes about improvements I could make overall to meet a point better, like the points I made about my research trips. I had planned to go to Skomer island which is famous for puffins, as this was a potential animal I was going to look into but due to travel restrictions this could not happen. I also considered Folly Farm, just to see a variety of animals and behaviours and habitats, however again due to lockdown going on much longer than I really thought, I could not do this either. I did compromise on this with the widlife camera in the garden, which allowed me to learna lot more about animals and their night time activity and habits in my very own garden. I made a note that I need to properly write up the responses that I got back from doing National Trust surveys, I thought this would be easier than it was, but because a lot of staff were furloughed they were no longer able to help with work-related questions like the ones I was asking.
An objective I had was to work out a suitable colour scheme to cover the range of species I want to focus on, this was when I had a lot of species and ideas in my head, which expanded from woodland, to the coast, to the skies and seas, so trying to find a colour scheme to cover all of this was going to be hard. However when I decided on woodlands I built my colour scheme, and then made that decision to add the blue into it which gave quite an interesting difference between the four mini-collections planned.
I also wanted to explore drawing and mark-making thoroughly, which I think I did a lot better on than previous years here. Again being home in lockdown was good in the way that I had all day to work on things with less responsibilities and distractions, and if I liked a technique I worked on adapting it and taking it as far as I could, sometimes all the way to fabrics.
I then went through my proposal and found some points I made that I wanted to cover that I had probably forgotten about:
Exploring adding stitch to final designs – I tried this with some animal digital prints but I think I could definitely try this better with the actual patterns, and see whether adding some texture and stitch into them improve them, experiment with it as I said. I also wanted to try foiling and embossing again, I need to carry on researching if I can do foiling at home on paper products, and embossing I would like to order some gold and pink powder to go alone better with the colour scheme.
In terms of research, I think I hit a lot of points that I wanted to, including videos and sounds from angles that the animal would see, but exploring this at night when a lot of the animals prefer to be out is definitely on the to-do list. I also noted that I could have made better use of the library resources online but I think the range of wildlife books that I found at home were useful helping me to identify different plants and some birds that I was catching on the wildlife camera.
In terms of Publicity, I noted that I wanted to use social media to promote my work as it develops, my Instagram has been used and I have gained followers and engagement as I have been posting regularly. I also post my work on LinkedIn and use this to apply for jobs and roles too, I am achieving more reach on this too which is great to see. I stated that I wanted to show my collection to chairites etc, and with them on furlough this may need to be a future plan. My boyfriend has contacts in the National Trust and could help me reach out to local locations. I also lan to research into local craft fairs and shops, research which ones could be best for me and find what I want to do, this could apply to professional practice as well.
Finally, my timetable is up to date at the moment, I did not print my business cards when I wanted to because I wanted to show them to a tutor again, but I would like to just get them printed now and I am happy with the design. I also have not done the personal statement for my presspack yet, it seems like something I should be doing with more for of the collection completed and more of my awareness ideas explored.