I can’t believe It’s actually come to an end. However, it’s safe to say it didn’t go as smoothly as I would have hoped, today especially. I was aware that my drape wire was bowing slightly, however I had to prioritise, and having to make my cushion a second time had already set me back 2 hours this morning which was the last thing I needed. I told Keireine I was concerned that I wouldn’t have a chance to put the extra bracket up to hold the wire, and she reassured me not to worry and it would be fine. However, 2 o clock came, and I was told that the extra bracket needed to go up. Needless to say this was the last thing I needed to hear 2 hours before my final deadline. The next hour and a half consisted of about 5 or 6 level 5’s trying either to help me put up the bracket, or stop me panicking about whether or not I’d get everything done in time. There were a lot of tears and hyperventilation on my part, but we got there in the end. Safe to say I wouldn’t have been able to help if it weren’t for the support of my friends and the level 5’s along with Helen and Keireine. Without a doubt the most stressful day of my entire life. 4 o clock came, and the overwhelming build up of emotions from the stress of the day lead to us all being in tears, happy mostly. I can honestly say I’ve never been more proud of work that I’ve produced, throughout school, foundation and three years here at Cardiff Met, I never thought I’d reach the standard with my designs as I have, and proves that the work I’ve put in over the years has all been worth it.
Safe to say these past two weeks would have been a lot more stressful if it weren’t for my level 5 buddy, Adele. I couldn’t be more grateful for the help she’s given me in the run up to the degree show. I know a few of the girls have had certain issues with their buddy’s not coming in every day, not being available for them, and sometimes complaining about the jobs they had to do. Adele on the other hand came in every day, willing to help with whatever needed doing, never complained once, and worked solidly on whatever task it was that I gave her to do. Even when it comes to things that she had never done properly before, like steaming my drapes and stitching the headers onto my designs. I cannot praise her enough for how hard she’s worked, and I’m really pleased that we had been paired together.
I’d also like to give special mention to the tutors and technicians for the support they’ve given throughout my time here. Without their guidance and help I wouldn’t have developed into the designer that I am today. I had a quick chat with Helen, post panic attack this afternoon. Helen mentioned the fact that I’m not a ‘small, motif designer’, and being from a fine art background it just isn’t me. I couldn’t agree more, and it’s nice to see that I’m understood as a designer, and that I’m recognised as being different to a lot of the other girls on the course. It’s really heartwarming to know that my tutors understand who I am and how I work, and I’d like to think that they would also agree that this is my most successful body of work to date. While the tutors have overseen my projects and ideas, and how they develop, it’s Steve and Maggie that have really spurred who I am as a designer. Though I’m not a stitcher, Maggie has given me a tremendous amount of help over the past month especially, until now I wouldn’t have had a clue how to fit a zip, or back a drape, and though I know my products aren’t perfect and without fault, I’m proud to have produced what I have, and I wouldn’t have been able to do so without her guidance. Steve on the other hand has helped me a huge amount throughout my entire time here as a student, I’ve always been more of a printer, be it from screen printing, or experimenting with dye techniques, and without Steves knowledge and guidance I wouldn’t have discovered certain techniques that are now processes that I use often within my work, so I’m incredibly grateful for all the help and guidance that I’ve received throughout my time as a textiles student, from academics, to technicians.
Lastly, it’s safe to say I wouldn’t have been able to survive these three years if it wasn’t for our close group of friends. The support that we’ve given to each other over the past year especially can not go un-noticed. Be it from helping with certain techniques, ideas, or even picking eachother up when one of us was down. I’ve come away from uni with a group of girls that I look at more as family than friends. We’ve spent so much time together recently that we seem to be more of a family unit than friends, and it’s this that I’m more grateful for than anything else.
When I was in second year helping last years’ graduates set up their degree show, I’d thought about how I doubted I’d ever get to the standard that their work seemed to be. However, at the end of my third year, 2 days until my deadline, I’m amazed at how far I’ve come in terms of design this year. I’m confident in saying this is the best collection of work that I’ve ever submitted, throughout uni, foundation and school. This is the work I’m most proud of.
Most people will be thinking to themselves ‘well yeah, end of third year, it should be the highest standard of work to date’, which is true. However this is not only the highest standard of work that I’ve ever produced, but it’s also the work that I’m most proud of. I feel as though I finally found myself as a designer, and realised I didn’t have to compromise my love of fine art, for my love of textiles.
Having focused on fashion textiles last year, I decided for my final Major to focus on the interiors market. Having visited mid and North Wales over Christmas, and Northern Ireland in January, I decided to use these areas as the inspiration for my project. Both Wales and Northern Ireland pride themselves on being naturally beautiful. I wanted to capture this beauty in my designs. However, rather than focusing on conventional landscapes I decided to go more eyecatching and modern, and turn these conventional landscapes into abstract textiles. I did this by experimenting with watercolour paints and inks, then photographing these paintings and digitally manipulating them into large scale, bold designs. Though, previously my work has been more dye, I decided to go more digital with this work as I was getting some really lovely effects with the watercolour paints. However it must not go unsaid that I have spent a few weeks in the dye lab, experimenting with various techniques, dyes and ways of getting the watercolour effect on fabric. After analysing what was best for my work, and what was working the most effectively, it made sense to stick to what was working, and what was giving my work the atmosphere that I wanted it to have.
The colour Pallette has developed naturally due to the nature of my work. Each individual family is based on a different British Landscape, and the colours are representing the different ares, from the dark greys and blues of the giants causeway, the greens and browns of Slieve Donard, the greens, whites and blues of Snowdonia, and the dark purples and navies of Twilight hours, and landscapes after dark.
For this project I’ve done something that not many people thought to do, and aim it at the contractual market, allowing me to work oon a bigger scale. Mainly aiming at hotels and bars, that would typically have large scale drapes hanging from the ceiling, and large luxurious cushions spread throughout the furniture.
Initially I was concerned with whether or not my idea and thought process behind my work was too simple, or that my approach to my theme wasn’t the right way to go, but looking at my work today I’m convinced that I made the right decisions in heading down the path that I did. Though I’m a textile designer, I wanted my designs to have the same effect that looking at a large painting would have. The bold, eye catching paintings that would hang proudly in a gallery, is what I want my designs to be for the interior market. Though I’ve hit certain obstacles, especially within the last couple of weeks, I’m confident in saying I’ve managed to overcome the majority of them. Such as what designs work the best together as a display, the best way to display my work ready for exhibition, and these past few weeks have shown me that if you stick to yourself as a designer, and stay true to what you want your work to represent, then you can’t go wrong.
It’s also safe to say these past couple of months have tested my adversity, in overcoming obstacles, testing my patience, and sticking with what I firmly believed to be the most successful way of producing my pieces. As a result of this, I’m even more proud knowing that I’ve produced the work that I have at the end of third year. And I’m sure the same could be said for everyone.
I believe my three years at university have lead me up to where I am today, and it’s afe to say I could not be more proud, and happy with what I have produced. From my press packs, to my samples and onto my products. However, the work has definitely developed since the beginning of this project, for the better, that is. Making the decision to print my work on larger scale prints than everyone else, though costly, was absolutely worth it. Looking back, my designs wouldn’t be as effective on a small scale, which I believe proves I’ve made the right deicision in terms of market and client. I’m absolutely thrilled that my work has turned out the way it has, and couldn’t be leaving university on a lighter note.
A great way to finish off my time at university.
Now that my designs are all finished in regards to headers, overlocking, stickers put on, on the hangers, and ready to be set up. Adele and I can finally start setting up the final exhibition. However I’ve hit snag after snag when trying to figure out the best way of suspending my drapes. Initially I had wanted to suspend them from the ceiling, but that wouldn’t have been appropriate. My next idea was to buy triple tracking so I’d have a way of layering them behind one and other. However when I went to look at the tracking over the weekend, i realised the fittings weren’t wide enough to hold my drapes, and thus they wouldn’t have hung properly. My last idea is to hopefully be able to buy fishing wire and fittings this evening from IKEA and suspend them thusly. Hopefully this will work. Other than that I’m starting to run out of jobs for Adele to do, which is proof of how hard she’s been working. Any job I give her she flies through, which is great, especially considering the standard doesn’t drop even with the pace that she’s working at. I can’t praise her enough for everything she’s doing for me, and hopefully that will continue until the end of the week. (I have no doubt it will.)
I’ve only met Adele once so as of yet I don’t know a lot about how she works, whether she’s a stitcher or a print maker, or even if she’s in every day. So the next week will be interesting, however I have every faith that she’ll be a hard worker as a buddy. Fortunately my designs have arrived already, which puts us in great stead for the next week. I couldn’t be more thrilled with how they’ve come back, and means that myself and Adele can get to work with putting the finishing touched on them, like overlocking, trimming and headers. The fact that they’ve arrived already gives us the advantage of not having to panic at the last minute to get everything put together. Hopefully the next two weeks will go swimmingly.
Due to the nature of my designs, when I sent them off I was concerned about pixelation because of the scale, and the way I’ve had to blow the designs up from small paintings. Initially I was too scared to open them, until Steph came in, by which point the anticipation was too much and I decided to open them. Though I had sent a sample off and it had come back perfect, I was concerned about my drapes, because of the scale of them, being 3 times longer than my sample sizes. However now they’re here, I can safely say I had nothing to worry about and couldn’t be happier with the results. They’ve all come back just as I wanted, and had pictured. Time to get ready for the show!
Now that my student loan has come in, I can start thinking about sending my designs off to the printers. Though I’m outsourcing, it’s a good job they do student discount, as over the weekend I priced everything up in the sizes and fabrics that I wanted, and it comes to over 350 Pound! WITH student discount, so if there was no discount I’d be well and truly up the creek without a paddle.
I’ve spoken through my designs with Helen, including my drapes and cushion designs, just to check if they were suitable. Luckily, Helen seemed to really like my designs, so I take that as the green light to send my designs off, so as of this afternoon, they’ll officially be my collection for the degree show!
I was concerned with how my designs would look on my chosen fabrics, especially being the size that they are. However, this morning I collected my sample from the post office, and once I’d opened it, was almost at the point of crying with happiness. It’s come back perfect, and has come to the point now where everything seems real, and its setting in that I only have a few weeks left as a textiles student, until i graduate as a designer.