This academic year has been tough. Over the summer I spend a lot of time in a hospital with my dad. My dad had a very strong character and a strong sense of fashion, he always wore bright, lively colours which suited his persona very much. Seeing him ill and wearing a boring washed out hospital gown made me feel like he was losing himself and his bright character. That’s when I decided to design hospital gowns which lighten up peoples’ days, I was always interested in children’s fashion so I have created a collection filled with animals and bright colours for children aged two to eleven.
I have started this project with excitement and a lot of great ideas, then my dad passed away and I lost all the excitement and motivation. When I came back after a long break I found it hard to get back in to textiles, lectures and designing for a while. The idea of creating a whole project in only just few weeks scared me a lot but I got a good help from the university staff, specially the stitch technician Maggie. She has always helped me with the technical stuff but also sat down with me and just talk on daily basis.
After a wide market research and writing a brief I decided to use animals as motifs for my patterns for the hospital gowns. As part of my primary research I went to Bristol Zoo to create visual documentation of the animals. Using photography and sketches I created a body of work which then helped me to create my final twelve designs. I used the library to find books to researched more in to animal illustration as I wanted the animals to look friendly and welcoming for the children. This has helped me to make the animal motifs look more realising and proportionally right and at the same time pleasant for the children. I have also done a wide magazine research on how different patterns work on different surfaces.
I then worked on my professional practise skills. I experimented with gouache paint to a create colour wheel, grey scales with primary colour bias, tints and shades, complementary colours, mixture bands, harmonies colours, true and not true contrasts, discordant colours and warm and cold colours. This has helped me in understanding the colours more and how to mix the paint right to get the colour I want. I then went on to understanding repeating and pattern making more. Using different layout techniques to create quick croquis has helped me experiment with mirror, scale, stripe, tossed, overlay, 3D, negative space and boarder techniques which I then translated in to Photoshop and Illustrator repeat pattern making skills. I also used one of my market research companies, Sanderson to order samples from them to learn more about different colourways. This has helped me to understand that different motifs work well in different colours. What I have especially enjoyed learning was how to create repeated patterns by hand using grids and tracing paper. It is a time-consuming process but very rewarding and valued skills to have as a designer.
Looking through technical files from last year I have been using and experimenting with Photoshop and Illustrator again for this project. Last year I had a set task to create 2 outcomes in Photoshop and 4 in Illustrator but this term I was free to use any media I wanted which I enjoyed more. I transferred my motifs in to Illustrator to create the outline and then went on to working on repeating patterns in Photoshop. I had an issue with my Photoshop as every time I wanted to change the colour of a specific area the colours would mix, if I had a yellow frog and I wanted to change it to blue the frog would turn green. This was very annoying especially when I wanted to experiment with colours and create different colourways.
After creating Photoshop repeat patterns I then went on transferring them on to fabric. I wanted my designs to be unique even by the techniques I was using however, I run out of time and decided to print and stitch them digitally which as the time seemed the quickest to me. Using the digital machine was great, as I mentioned before I spend days with Maggie in the stitch room. She explained to me how to use the Easy Design and all the machines in detail. This allowed me to use the machines on my own which made me feel very independent, also my course mates started asking me for help which as some point got a bit overwhelming as I just wanted to finish my work. As a whole I enjoyed digital stitch and I definitely be using it in future.
I then went on using the digital printer with Steve. It takes a couple of days to print, steam out and wash so I decided to allow enough time for my samples to be ready. Seeing others peoples samples the colour was fading after the steaming and washing which made me very worried about my outcomes. I didn’t want to print my designs and waste fabrics and paint so I decided to print a colour atlas first. As I knew other people before me had issues with colour fading I decided to test different tones of my colour board. By that time Steve has fixed the digital printer and the colours came out as vibrant as on the computer, I was very happy. Some of the darker colours bleed in to other colours a little bit. I also printed different colourways for my presentation.
In digital stitch, I have created patches with animals and text on them in different shapes and sizes and next term I would like to transfer them in to a bigger range and put them on pockets. I also want to work on my sketches and designs to make them look more professional.
Over all this project has been very challenging for me. I feel like I have rushed this project a lot and I think I could do a lot better. I am very proud of myself because I did finish it without needing an extension but I am glad that this is just a formative deadline and that I will be able to go back and work on it.