more design

Well, my designboard was OK for an overall impression, but not precise or detailed enough – I was hoping not to tie myself firmly to what is on the paper, but that’s what I need to try and do now. I’ve now painted up a full size image in acrylics, but the colours aren’t good and it doesn’t give any sense of the colour depths that will come from layering the fabrics. I’ll use it to experiment at the right scale, but I also used Photoshop to do as detailed a design as I could and sent that back to my tutor.

detailed design

I was thinking a lot yesterday about different styles of working, I err on the haphazard side so it’s very good for me have this discipline imposed, planning the detail ahead on paper instead of what I usually do, which is to get out the materials and see what happens… Some interesting thoughts on this, and insights into the different ways people approach design, in Do you plan your work? on Arlee Barr’s blog.

designboard done

I got my designboard together and emailed it to Linda. I scanned in the cuttings, sketches and paintings and added some text, so the board as a whole only exists digitally. I’m putting all the bits and pieces in a sketchbook so I can refer to them easily.

design board

the inspirational images are cuttings from Country Living

The hanging’s going to be in three sections. I’m thinking of the bottom layer in lightweight felt, maybe merino with some silk fibres for lustre, with two dyed sheer silk layers laid over it, so that I can cut back through one and both layers of silk and/or trap some shapes between the silk layers. Appliquéd ‘flowers’ on the surface could be silk organza/machine stitched slips/silk paper shapes. I want to keep everything quite light. Time to experiment and sample and see how it might work.

design in context


Today I want to work on my storyboard/design for assignment 1, which is an appliqué piece. I’m planning to do a wall hanging in sections, to hang between two windows overlooking a garden. So far it’s just an idea and a few pictures.

I chose images that I’ve collected over the years – I’m imagining it in a house painted and repainted in shades of turquoise, ochre and dull reds, inhabited by a woman in a dusky green embroidered velvet dress. The hanging will be inspired by the colours and forms of the dried flowers which echo the colours of the house and the dress, with some additional faded pinks. lavenders and papery yellows. I don’t think (for copyright reasons) I can post the images that are inspiring this because they’re torn from Country Living and other magazines whose names I don’t even remember.

At the moment I am thinking about something fairly light and floaty that would move slightly when the windows are open, maybe using several layers of dyed silk with some ‘flowers’ in shadow appliqué and some on the surface. It could be quite abstract. Also using quilting lines to reflect the strong lines of stems in the flower image, but in quite a delicate way if I can achieve that. The colours are rich and faded at the same time. It might be interesting to explore the contrasts between papery dried petals and the soft velvety live petals that would be seen through the windows.

The next steps are to do more drawings of how the piece will look in situ, maybe with collage and painting too. The idea is to prepare a design for the (imaginary) client, to show what the finished work will be like. That’s quite a challenge for me since most of my ideas come to me through the materials, and I often can’t tell what’s possible till I try it (I guess that comes with experience) so I’m sure that the design will evolve as I go through that process. But I’ll do my best to stick to the order I’m supposed to be following and produce a design first that bears some relation to the finished article…

For Textiles 1, today I want to: write my introduction about me for my tutor, and look through the course materials to get an overview and see if I need anything specific to get started (though being a bit of a magpie, I probably have it already!).


I guess beginning a blog is something like the first mark on the blank paper, such a small thing but the rest will flow from it. I want to write about the textile courses I’m taking and any other bits of art related stuff that seem important to me. A lot of my life is spent supporting other people’s art through the web, so this is a bit of pure indulgence for me. I also want to tie my work to some external accountability – even if no one reads this, putting it out here regularly seems like a good commitment that will hold me to actually getting into the work regularly too.

In the next few months I am finishing one course and starting another. I’m on the 8th module of Linda Kemshall’s online patchwork and quilting City and Guilds course – it’s supposed to be a short course (one year) but it’s taken me several years to get this far already. I just sent off my initial ideas for the first of two final assessment pieces – a wall quilt. I plan to finish this in the next month and the next one the month after.

At the same time, I’ve enrolled for the OCA Textiles 1 course. It’s a more general course that looks at fabric construction techniques as well as surface design and stitch – the materials haven’t arrived yet but I’m really looking forward to it. The OCA course is time limited – two years maximum – I think that may help to keep me focused.