Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy New Year to all

Corona imperialis and Butterfly fabrics

Insectivorous plants and Insect fabrics

Pomegranate and Pomegranate cross-section fabrics
I have just come on line to post a greeting wishing all my viewers a "Happy New Year". At the same time I thought that I would try again to upload pics of my latest designs that I did to accompany the bespoke  botanical pieces that I posted earlier. I am delighted to say that this time I have been more successful . Hope you like them so far but I might experiment with different colourways.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

New Collections

A lot of the last week of term was spent trying to digitally print my Angiosperm fabrics onto linen. This proved difficult, mainly because the fibres off the material kept blocking the printer heads. Eventually I abandoned the linen and successfully printed all four onto quite a heavy cotton. This worked really well and I'm pleased with the results.
I did however find some time to respond to Trisha's suggestion that I develop a collection of fabrics and wallpapers to accompany each of the botanical printed pieces that I posted last week and these are the ones I have completed so far.

Unfortunately I got a "Server Rejected" message when I went to upload the pics. According to the help forum this is quite common with the newer "Post Editor" so I followed their recommendations to change my settings and select the old one. i did this but still no success so for now I will have to keep you in suspense!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Snowy Weather


View of our back garden
Week 10 has been a bit of a disaster weather wise but it does look pretty.
 I did manage to get into college on Tuesday to find that I was the only one from my group and we had a power cut mid-morning, which meant no network, photocopiers, digital printers etc. Luckily it didn't last too long and I managed to get 3 new designs printed onto fabric in the afternoon. This was despite getting to within a few centimeters from the end the first time when the fabric jammed because of creases on the roll - ugh! I had to choose a different fabric but  I am really pleased with the result. It also means that over Christmas I can embroider into them to get 3 bespoke textile pieces

Corona Imperialis

Pomegranate plant

Insectiverous plants

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Collection complete

Angiosperm IV
Week 9 and I have now completed the Angiosperm (which simply means flowering plant) collection - although i might have to rename it after the strange reactions it has prompted from some.This final design, in repeat, was based on my drawings of the Bird of Paradise plant I saw in Darwin's greenhouse combined with an endangered species known as Eye of the Crocodile as well as other early flowering plants such as the Camellia and Magnolia. The colour palette was inspired by one I saw in Bev's Texitura colours and trends book  called New Byzantine.
 Two of the designs were digitally printed onto linen on Tuesday and two more are scheduled for tomorrow. That's progress!

Friday, 19 November 2010

Angiosperm III

Angiosperm III
featuring lotus buds and floral diagram
New colour way and layout for Angiosperm II
Week 8 started off frustratingly slowly as I experimented with changing Angiosperm II and it proved more difficult than I expected - but I did end up with a better layout and a new colour pallette. Things then got much better as I went on to design my third repeat furnishing fabric which features the Lotus flower in a bright and on trend colourway.

Dan Bennett

I recently followed up a link in my regular In the Loop newsletter from Coats Crafts and discovered a new designer called Dan Bennett who has created a collection of fabrics for Rowan. There are 17 designs and they look amazing. The inspiration comes from his interest in ancient geometric symbols carved in stone by prehistoric man but they actually remind me of some of my own drawings of the under surface of jellyfish and other microscopic sea creatures like diatoms and desmids.
A selection of my drawings of marine creatures

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Angiosperm II

Week 7 has been and gone and I now have one more design for a furnishing fabric in repeat. Once again I used my drawings of ancient flowering plants i.e. lilies but combined them with genetically significant sweet peas, which Gregor Mendel studied in the Nineteenth century.This time I have gone for much more muted colours that were inspired by a design I saw in the summer at Chelsea Harbour called Bruges by Watts of Westminster.
Angiosperm II
I'm not sure if I have pulled it off and so would appreciate any comments.

Dollykits pays a visit to Harrogate

Priya-Winter Woolies

Complete kit

Priya Trendy Tunic

Priya -Serious Shopper

Those of you who don't know me well might be wondering what Dollykits is all about. Well it is a small venture that I set up in 2007 when i was doing my Professional Studies module with Jayne Hemmins. We were required to write a report on an area of textile and surface design where we thought our future career might lie. For someone who had just retired it was a little bazaar but I thought what the heck  and went on to look into becoming a designer-maker. At that time my daughter and her friends were all starting families and I had been shopping for gifts and realised the popularity of hand knitted soft toys. I could have bought patterns but decided to design a knitted doll myself. i experimented with size and shape and came up with Priya, a cute little doll about 30cm tall dressed for the winter in her yoked cardigan and woolly dress.


Ruby-Girl About Town

Ruby Ballerina
Ruby-Parisian Chic

Millie-Stylish student
Millie-Striped Sensation

Inspired by her popularity I went on to design her another outfit consisting of a trendy tunic and leggings and with the help of my daughter we typed up the patterns so they looked pretty professional and I set about making up kits to accompany them. These were ready in time to be taken by college to the Embroidery and Stitching show at Harrogate in the October and on the same day I launched the Dollykits website to allow potential buyers to purchase on line with their Pay Pal account. Both designs sold really well and I used the profit to buy more materials and so by the Pins and Needles show in Newcastle the following spring I had designed another outfit for Priya and introduced Priya's friend Ruby who had three collections of clothes. I also received two commissions to design dolls to look like their future owners and dressed in replica outfits. I loved the challenge but quite frankly realised that what ever I charged it wouldn't cover the cost of the time I spent designing and knitting them and so I have continued to stick to patterns and kits and Priya and Ruby now have a new friend called Millie. If you are going to the Knitting and Stitch show in Harrogate between 25th and 28th November look out for them on the CCAD stand E7 or follow the link to the Dollykits website.



Sunday, 7 November 2010

Madeira sponsorship

All of my goodies have now arrived from Madeira, who very generously awarded me a £100 sponsorship. I ordered embroidery materials and some sparkly crochet yarn (that will very useful for Ruby Ballerina's tights which I will tell you about later).
The cosmic microwave background left over from the Big Bang

Tracks formed when a negative kaon strikes
a proton in a bubble chamber
The embroidery threads were all bright and metallic and should be ideal for some cushion designs I have in mind for later. These will be based on the evolution of the universe including galaxies, supernova and particle tracks in bubble chambers - if everything goes to plan.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Angiosperms 1

These two drawings are of orchids
we had as pot plants

Drawing of a Passionflower at the
 Botanic Gardens in Cambridge

34cm x 32cm repeat
I though that people might like to see some of the drawings that I used and the final pattern repeat.

Week 6 of FMP

I have decided that, for now, I have sufficient drawing sheets to get started with my design development. I began this on Tuesday in college and made the brave decision to forget arranging photocopies of my drawings, to get some idea of a repeat layout, and to go straight into CAD. I will leave the screen printing for later when the full timers will have handed in their Minor Project and hopefully the print rooms will be a bit quieter.
I was a bit apprehensive at first as I felt that I had forgotten everything I ever Knew about Photoshop and doing pattern repeats but once I got started I really enjoyed producing my first design for an interior fabric with a 34cm x 32cm repeat which I am calling Angiosperm 1 for now. It is a riot of orchid and passionflower heads in colours that I selected from Mix trends forecast Botanics for Autumn/Winter 2011/2012.
I can't wait to get it digitally printed!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair

I recently visited the GNCCF with fellow students from my course at Cleveland College of Art and Design and, besides being a great opportunity to do some market research, I found the whole experience truly inspirational. There are certainly some very talented people out there and I was delighted to find specialists in lampshades as this is an area I plan to design for in my Final Major Project. Check out the printed designs of Laura Slater, the delicate cut work of Hannah Nunn and the very different wooden shades of Jane Blease.
As I have a passion for knitting and have produced my own patterns for soft toys I found it interesting to speak to Suzie Johnson about her knitting business in Somerset.
Suzie Johnson

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Visual Research

The hunt began in June with a trip to the Natural History Museum and its' renound collections of both plants and animals and their fossils, some dating back millions of years.
A collection of ammonites fossils at the Natural History Museum

One of the many insectivorous plants in Darwin's greenhouse at Down House
A Blue Footed Booby on North Seymore Island in the Galapagos

While staying in London we took a trip to Down House, the home of Charles Darwin, as my husband had wanted to do this from being a boy. He and my son had already indulged their passion for all things Darwinian when they visited the Galapagos Islands.
Another must visit was Kew Gardens to look for rare and exotic plants. I discovered that ferns and ginkgos, as well as having iconic shaped leaves with loads of decorative potential,dated back to the Devonian period 410 - 350 million years ago. Flowering plants came much later, a mere 150 million years ago. The earliest of these were water lilies, magnolias and orchids - how perfect is that for designers of interior fabrics to work from!

More about my concept

As I am very much a physicist and not a biologist my inspiration for that side of things came from this poster my husband had from the Open University. I decided that over the summer hols I needed to get up to scratch on this side of the evolutionary process whilst looking for design potential in the vast biodiversity that has evolved from the primitive protozoa and algae from the early stages of life on earth.

Final Major Project

Well at last at the age of 61 I have a blog!
The reason for this is to keep friends, fellow students and the rest of the world up to date with how the last year of my degree is going. I am working on my FMP which is to design fabrics, wallpapers and accessories for the interiors market.
This shows the universe from the start of time and matter
15 - 20 billion years ago
The concept underpinning the whole range is based around the word EVOLVE. This is open to many interpretations from the evolution of the universe from the Big Bang to the evolution of the species