Saturday, 6 December 2014

Contextual references - Mixed Media

Genevieve Bennett is my first contextual reference, she is a freelance designer for many companies including habitat. She also has her own company designing leather panels by using laser cutting, laser etching and embossing. Her work has really influenced me because of the detail within in. I like how her shapes are so simple yet make the whole finished piece look so complex. I think the detail in the leaves on the image below is similar to the detail In some of my work, specifically the drawings l have produced of trees.

Lynne Maclachlan is another person who’s work l really like. She produces intricate 3D laser cut jewellery, lots of her pieces are using white acrylic, which are glued together and she then fills in with resin. Her work inspires me because of the way everything is fixed together, it gives me lots of new ideas on how l could piece together my work differently.


Elena Manferdini is the founder of Atelier Manferni design studios. They specialise in laser cutting, focusing on architecture, fashion and product design. They have a wide range of products which l really like, they don’t just focus on one design, and they have many ideas. I also like to have lots of ideas and designs and not just focus on one thing. The idea that influenced me most was the stainless steel tray folded into bowls. I am currently starting to think about materials in my own work and experimenting to try and find out what will work and what wont, as l think getting the right material for what you are aiming for is really important. I’d never thought to use stainless steel before now but it’s something for me to consider. The company uses lots of complex surfaces and creates light effects by using mirrored materials to create shadows, I like this technique and l will let this influence me. In particular l also really love the large installation 'marlett' as this is lace inspired and l love the intricate patterns!


The next artist to influence my work is a mixed media textile artist called Carolyn Saxby, l mainly love the colours she uses within her work and the complexity of it. It’s so busy and there’s so much texture within it. I'd like to think of a way that l can incorporate her way of working into my 3D designs. She uses lots of lovely fabrics like chiffon and silk, I like the idea of chiffon and silk draping to create something 3d. At the moment I’m still exploring lots of different ideas, which is something that I’m going to think about over the next few days before my laser cutting session on Wednesday. 


My final artist l began to look at is Pippa Andrews. In this particular three dimensional wall piece she has used a beading technique called right angle weave. She has created a 3d quilt using old newspaper rolled and made into beads then joined together with nylon fishing line. Bead weaving is definitely something I’m eager to try although l don’t quite know how it would fit into my work at the moment. I take inspiration from the bends and construction of her piece. I like the simplicity of it and I just think the whole design idea is really clever.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Mixed media - Week 2

This week it has been all about making sure l was prepared and organised ready for laser cutting. I scanned all my drawings in on the computer, and then began to be selective in choosing which drawings l was going to work further with. After id decided l then needed to use adobe illustrator to trace all the line in my drawings so they stood alone and had no background. This was very time consuming and was the bit in particular that l personally struggled with. At first I just couldn’t get the hang of it and l still now get confused whilst l work with it, but it is definitely something that will improve over time and is a good skill to have.

I decided to focus mainly on the subject trees, as they stood out most to me on my journey to the museum. I love the structure and intricate detail within the branches. I’m focusing on drawings I’ve made of five different trees. Four of them have highly decorative patterns inside them that represent things l photographed on my way to the museum. I really like this idea and I’m pleased with how they appear on the page. I have come up with some different ideas on what context they could be used for, I’m thinking of using the trees to make a clock or sculptural wall art.

After all the images were on illustrator they then needed putting on to a programme called coral draw. This was so that they were ready to be put on to the laser cutting machine. This was quite simple to do, you just had to make sure all the lines were hairline, adjust the size on coral draw to the size of the material l was using, then highlight the image and change the particular selection of colour. You had to change it to red for cut and blue for etching. I found that if this isn’t done beforehand then it delays things when you get into the laser room. As this week’s lesson was only an hour and a half and l didn’t really know what to expect, l wasn’t as prepared as l should have been. So it is vital that illustrator and coral draw is done beforehand as it is quite a slow process.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Mixed Media - Week 1

This week I started a new rotation – mixed media 3D design. The first task we were asked to do on Tuesday morning was to photocopy a few pages of our favourite pages from our sketchbooks and pin them on the walls around the room next to our name. this was so other students and tutors could walk round and see were each other was at and how the weekend task for the feedback week had gone. It was nice to see other people’s ideas and views on visual research. 

The second task was taking sheets of plain white copier paper and manipulating them to make 3D shapes and designs influenced by ideas from my visual research and my sketchbook. We also got gave a verb list which was useful because it gave me my inspiration when my mind had gone blank. Some of the words for example were, to bundle, to bend and to crumple. These helped me to be more experimental and creative when l was stuck for ideas. I think the verb list will be something l continue to use throughout my sampling project. I felt restricted at first in the lack of materials we were allowed to use but quickly got the hang of it.

I went on to completing 100 drawings that were really simple and relevant to the project. I was surprised with myself as when I initially head 100 I thought it was near impossible, but l actually manage to complete the task and was happy with the majority of them, there is some strong drawings that I can see myself working further with.  

3D isn’t really an easy task for me as l don’t usually work in this way, so l am enjoying being more experimental and learning how to work in this new way. I have been asked to start thinking about the context of my work, who it is for or where is it for etc. I have quite a few ideas but nothing is clear to me yet. I am thinking maybe a 3D wall hanging or sculptural piece, or maybe even an advert for the museum. I definitely want to focus on something interior based rather than fashion directed. Maybe I will incorporate some weave into my samples and see where that leads me.  

On Friday drawing day we tried to continue making more 3D sculptures, by bringing things off the page and to life using lots of different papers and materials such as wire. I have also tried to layer some different papers to give different effects; I found that a craft knife is essential when working in this way.

We also were taught how to use illustrator and l was sure to make many notes for my technical file so I was sure not to forget anything I had learnt. I have never really enjoyed working with illustrator before as I never really knew properly what I was doing and I’m not very computer based, I prefer to be more hands on and doing or making. However, after the lesson I really found that I enjoyed it more than l thought I would. I am going to continue experimenting with my drawings using it. Then l will take the images further into laser cutting. I’m looking forward to learning how to laser cut next week and etch my images on to different materials by sampling. I think this will give me more of an indication in which direction I want to take my project.

Task For Feedback Week

During feedback week we have been given a weeklong task to visit the Holden gallery, the visual resource centre and Manchester museum. The task was to gather visual research to make a start on our mixed media unit.

I decided to capture photographs of every pattern, design, shape and texture that l found on the journey to and from the museum. For example, things like bricks, trees, doorways, buildings, pavements and peoples clothing etc. I have then gone on to develop these further by doing lots of sketches and studies incorporating some different techniques and media. I made some visual lists, graphs and maps with information I have gathered based on my journey. I have came up with some new innovative ideas to visually express my journey in interesting ways. I have never looked at maps and journeys in this way before so I found it experimental.

The visit to the museum was extensive; there was a huge variety of things exhibited. I found that l was drawn to all the rocks and crystals, as well as the shells, eggs and butterflies. I liked all the delicate detail of patterns and textures amongst these objects. The animals were something I chose to look at too because of all the patterns within their fur.

In our sketchbook, we were asked to work in black and white and keep it neutral with monochrome colours, so we were ready for our rotation into mixed media. This felt like l was limited a little as l love working in colour but l embraced it and actually really enjoyed working in this way.

Visiting the Holden gallery was also a good experience, there is some work based on patterns which l have noted that influenced me. There was also a piece of art called (dis)order - A compulsion to collect, which was made up of DIY and household equipment such as a lawnmower, sewing machine, radio, drill, power tool, hairdryer. This was all wired up to lots of different sockets and it shown how each of the objects worked at different times for a few seconds, it was all put together with some sort of clever sequence circuit. I thought this was an interesting way of collecting objects/data and displaying them in this group list form.

Finally after visiting the visual resource centre were thousands of slides are held and displayed, it made me realise that all these slides alone in the filing cabinets and wallets were actually data collections. They are kept in a clever organised list form. This was a useful way of storing them and they all had their own category and numbers, which made it easier when searching for a particular slide. Some were organised into lists for projecting lessons. Which id never really thought of being a list form before now. So l feel like my eyes are being opened to all sorts of different ways of working and gathering information.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Contextual Reference - Construct

My chosen contextual reference for construct is Malhia Kent. I found their work to be very creatively inspiring and full of ideas to help me develop my time in weave. Their way of working is very fun and colourful which l really like; it reminds me a lot like the way I work. The company specialises in luxury traditional fabrics that are ready to wear. They have more than 2000 fabrics produced per season and are 100% made in France in a mansion, which includes their showroom and hands on workshops! They also have a style team scattered all over the world. After several years of collaborating with Coco Channel, Michele Sorano founded Malhia Kent in 1987. The more l research into their work the more interesting l find it! They have an in-house creative team that fabricates woven fabrics for haute couture and top of the range women’s-wear.

The fabrics they use include fancy tweeds, open-work fabrics, sequined materials and Jacquards, Also adding lots of ribbons, fancy trims, mohair, feathers, glitter, raphia, lace and haberdashery. The Company’s range has various sources of inspiration including animal fur, blurred landscapes, extravagant mixtures, raffia, graphic design, hand-woven crafts and used metal. I tried to use lots of different coloured, textured and glittery yarns in my weaves, but in seeing Malhia’s work I will go on to being more experimental. I will maybe incorporate various fancy fabrics, haberdashery, paper and glittery finds in to them!

The way they add different materials and yarns into their weaves are simple yet visually effective; it makes the weaves appear more complex than they probably are. They’ve been known to print over the top of chunky weaves which l find particularly interesting and would like to develop my weaves further by doing this! She also uses lots of marks, patterns and lines like l have tried to use in mine to represent my drawings.

On their website they say ‘creativity is our only goal’ which l think sums up their work, it’s very unique. I love everything about the work, from the texture, to the colours to the fuss of all the different materials they incorporate.  

Reference: (

Monday, 3 November 2014

Origins Evaluation

During my 6 weeks studying Origins, I have produced a collection of work from Friday Drawing Day, Embroidery and Construct. I firstly focused on my 10 chosen objects from home and produced a body of drawings from them; I then used these drawings to feed my project by producing samples based on the objects. I have completed samples in each of the relevant areas.

I favoured machine stitch whilst being in embroidery, l felt as though at times hand stitch was very time consuming and the overall result wasn’t as great. Towards the last week studying embroidery l focused particularly on one chosen object which was a decorative wooden box that was bought for me as a present by my friend whilst she was travelling in Australia. This has been a significant object in my project throughout due to the patterns and colours within it. It ties in well with the library exhibition that l visited and enjoyed – Material Matters, It also ties in with our Monday lecture with Alison which is also looking at materials and objects. I think because the object is precious to me l really focused on it more and l produced better work because of the sentimental reason behind it. I did produce some work in my sketchbook on the exhibition and selected out some images that interested me.

After our first three weeks rotation from embroidery, we started in construct. I was slightly disappointed that in construct we were only allowed to do either knit or weave and that we didn’t get the choice of which, but I did understand that it was just not possible in the time scale we had. However I was very pleased that I was timetabled onto weave and that I had the opportunity to learn how to do it. Weave is something I’ve never done before but always wanted to have a go at, l really enjoyed it and it has enabled me to develop new ideas. I learnt how to weave on an 8 shaft loom exploring with different weave sequences. I made certain that I used a particular colour pallet that was relevant to my objects, which fed my practical work well, yarn wrappings also helped these developments.

I do believe there is a clear connection between my drawings and sample pieces, for example the 20 timed and descriptive sentences drawings, that l did onto squares really influenced my weave samples. In my weave samples you can see where I tried to recreate the patterns, curves and loops.

I tested and explored with a wide range of materials, media and techniques. I used lots of different yarns, cottons, threads, fabrics, paints, pencils, oil bars, inks, pens and papers. I think Friday drawing day was very important as primary research as that was the starting point for all of my sample work. I chose to also look at Margo Selby and have selected some images of his work for my sketch book,  I think it links in with my style of work because of the patterns.

If I was to look back and think critically I would have liked to have used a more neutral colour pallet. This is because my drawings were quite neutral and I like the simplicity of it. Sometimes it got too fussy because there were too many colours. If I were to push my work and develop it further I would have maybe used techniques in both embroidery and weaving together. I would have also liked to have produced a few more strong drawings to feed my sample work because l felt like l lacked in this area.

Overall I have found the origins unit a real learning curve and very enjoyable, because I have learnt so many new techniques that I didn’t know about before. 

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Connection between drawing and embroidery

I firstly selected patterns out of my highly decorative chosen object. These patterns then gave me something to focus on. They influenced me and l produced a selection of drawings for Friday drawing day. I picked out certain colours and shapes and developed them further into some colour/pattern studies. I used gouache and watercolour but preferred the flat colour of gouache, as it gave me bright vivid colours. 

I was then given a task by Kate to develop the drawings further by making a linked textiles piece. There were some rules and restrictions, We had to incorporate Bonding techniques, Machine stitch and/or hand embroidery. Whilst taking influences from my drawings. I think the connection between drawing and embroidery is a very close one. I would have never been able to produce my textiles sample if l hadn’t worked from my drawings first-hand, as they were what gave me ideas and inspiration. We were given approximately four hours to complete the sample, with use of a limited colour palette associated with your drawings. However you could use any fabrics or threads that you wished to choose. I would have preferred a longer timescale as l felt like l was under pressure and l wasn’t happy with my sample all that much, I didn’t think it was as good as it could have been. 


We were then asked to go on and produce two more samples. I thought the second two that l made were much better. I thought limiting myself to even less colours on one of them was much better and less fussy. I also preferred to use machine stitch rather than hand stitch as l think it gives a more professional finish. I especially loved free machine stitching as l could create the shapes that l wanted too, I even incorporated some text like we did in our drawings, using the words that we think of when we look at the object. I selected the drawings I chose to make the sample from because there’s so much detail which l thought would be good to work with. I chose to use bright fabrics, It didn’t really matter to me what materials l chose, I was just being experimental. I chose lots of different types like Calico, Hessian, Mesh, Organza, and Felt. I used patchwork and bonded different fabrics together to create some interesting backgrounds to work on. I tried to use mark making in both my drawings and textiles samples. I could have made them better by choosing fabrics and threads more carefully and maybe sketched out a few ideas beforehand. 

Monday, 20 October 2014

Embroidery Practice

Upon starting university four weeks ago and studying the ‘origins’ unit for three weeks l feel like l have learnt lots. It has been a real learning journey specialising in embroidery. My experience so far has been enjoyable and lm relatively happy with the samples that l have produced. I have developed my hand stitching and machine stitching skills further. I am getting more familiar with the different types and varieties of fabrics and threads, and l have had fun experimenting with them to find out which works best for which sample. I loved experimenting in colour and texture and I particularly enjoyed producing and developing work on the sewing machine. You can get a completely different outcome by using the sewing machines as oppose to hand stitch and it is so much faster.

We were inducted on to the Pfaff machine, Steam irons, Steam bed, Heat press and the Bernina sewing machine. I thought the Pfaff was a very clever machine and would like to work with it more when l have the opportunity. I’ve also learnt in lectures about how fibres are made and were they come from which l found particularly interesting.
I produced a technical file which will help me to never forget some of the stitching techniques that l have learnt, producing a technical file is something l have never done before as lm used to sketchbook work so that was new for me.

I did however find the unit a little difficult in Lynn’s lesson in particular to produce so many samples. Each week we were asked to produce six hand-stitched samples as homework and l felt like they weren’t always as good as they could have been because we had to complete so many of them, along with other homework. I felt like it became quantity rather than quality. At times l felt like there wasn’t really a purpose to the samples, no project or theme, However I quickly got used to the fast paced way of working and I was pleased with how many great samples I managed to produce in the time we were given. Overall I loved embroidery and it is something I would like to specialise in.