Entry 029: Samples and developments

The series of images in this post shows all of my small samples and embellishment ideas to date, which is pretty much what I have been working on for the last 2 weeks solid! Although a lot of them might look quite small and insignificant at the stage, I have mostly just been trialling really intricate and detailed beading/embellishment techniques. This obviously takes time and resources, so doing small samples means I can test out lots of techniques, to see if they will actually work first, and then I have the small samples as records, to remember how the technique was done, before developing it further or doing it larger scale or on a larger surface area. 

Some of the techniques I have been trialling below include: 

  • Lots of bead/sequin stacking- trying a multitude of ways that I can build sequin or bead stacks to create 3d surfaces and effects and build height into my samples. Dependant of which beads/ sequins I used and there size and shape, determined the overall effect of the stack. Also trialled looping and curving the stacks.
  • Lots of trials hand cutting fabrics, sequin film and plastics. - trying different ways these could then be folded/ looped and twisted.
  • Folded sequin techniques - again similar to the bead stacks, this differs dependant on the size of sequin and the way in which it is folded, and there are lots of different ways this simple technique can be used. 
  • Using components to create bead patterns.
  • Some initial simple digital embroidery trials. Very simple shapes and colours at this stage but again this was to trial using the digital embroidery machine to generate a volume of components - essentially stitching my own sequins/embellishments - that can be hand cut and built up in the same way as the sequins and used to create some really interesting, really 3 dimensional forms.
  • folding/ sculpting and forming 3d petals from embroidered shapes or from fabrics.

(Note to Self!: need to start putting together a technical file! Using all my small samples, I'll create a folder recording each of the processes and techniques I've tried and how I did them.)

Overall I'm really happy with all these samples as a starting point. I think there are some that have come out better than others, but overall I think they have all be fairly successful and its been a really good exercise to go through, to get back into beading and start thinking in an innovative way, about how the beads and sequins can be used away from the norm. I think I can definitely still push the innovation much more though, definitely by incorporating more of the embroidered components. I think I need to revisit my drawing and really explore more surface textural qualaties to inspire stitch - so far the digital embroidery aspects have been very simple and this needs to be pushed much further to make this more interesting and make it more of an integral part of the design, rather than it just being something that could be interchangeable with cut fabric shapes- the embroidery needs to be justified in its own right. I also need to try more ideas cutting and sculpting the plastics, fabrics and sequin film, as a way to generate my own handmade embellishments. I think at this stage its very much still a case of playing and trialling. There are some of the more successful ideas that I think ill start to develop further, and start looking back at my photography and some of my existing drawings to influence composition and shape.  

Some final notes for this post from my tutorial with Sean: 

  • Briefly discussed Hand and Lock prize / also organising a possible tour of the Atelier.
  • We also spoke briefly about the possibility of being able to do a lecture or some small tutorial groups with first or second years as I really want to start getting some lecturing experience. Hopefully going to speak to Debbie and Tina about this. 
  • We also spoke a bit about some potential collaboration ideas; I've hopefully got a connection that I may be able to collab with on a garment or 2, but I also mentioned how keen I was to perhaps do some embellished shoes. Hopefully Sean may be able to send me the information of some contacts at Dr. Martins to maybe work on a conceptual collaboration for some really highly embellished docs. 
  • We talked a lot about some potential ideas I've got to develop my samples and discussed the idea of multifunctional accessory/ jewellery pieces that almost work with the garment- e.g embellished patches that can be moved and repositioned on the body using magnets for example.
  • Lastly we discussed 2d portfolio development and a bit about what I hope to have by the end of the year. As I aim to do a real mixture of stuff when I complete my MA we discussed what It might be good to have, e.g.;
  1. A portfolio of flat sketchbooks, drawings, mood boards and swatches/ samples of 2D A2 portfolio boards that I could take for interviews as I hope to expand my freelance portfolio. I also think this will showcase a range of my skills and my understanding of the design process to show at interviews for lecturing positions. 
  2. A2 Boxes for some special 3D drawings/ collage pieces.
  3. Boxes for 3D textile samples and swatches. 
  4. A collection of perhaps up to 10 pieces including jewellery, accessory or garment outcomes that will be displayed at my end of year show and can later be shown to buyers/ retailers as I plan to expand my business and stockist base- particularly focusing on a more high end, luxury sector. I will need to consider how these will be transported/ presented e.g in boxes printed with my logo?
  5. Produce a magazine/ look book or trend zine sort of thing, filled with beautiful photography of my work, including photography of jewellery/ accessories and garments on a model. This will be handed in as part of my final submission but would also be taken for interviews and I could perhaps produce a smaller, paper back almost leaflet style version to send out with CV.
  6. An updated, highly creative CV.
  7. Project proposal, professionally printed with a similar look/ feel to look book - again to hand in with final submission. 
  8. An updated, clearly branded website- As I already have a website this is a great start, I think it will simply be a case of updating some of the images/ graphics and maybe questioning my name/ logo and if these are still relevant or if they need to be updated also?