In Progress

I'm a Textile Design student at Leeds University, specialising in Constructed Textiles. Doing a Year in Industry at the moment. I'm particularly fond of knitting but I'd like to consider myself a Jack of all trades (master of something, hopefully). Here I present a ongoing record of what I'm doing. Happy browsing!

Fabric Development

Using two pieces of visual research as the basis of my fabric development, I looked at taking the key characteristics of the drawings to create the fabrics. I looked at the appropriate yarns, most using wool and cotton and a 7g Dubied machine. In the first sample, I was concentrating on the proportions of colour, and then working in a pleat into the fabric, inspired by the pleats in the image. To further develop from this sample, I plan on looking at more placed pleats. 

I feel like the pleats in the second and third sample reflect the visual research very well. In these samples I was again looking at colour proportion but also experimenting with fine yarns to create the areas of translucency. The optical colour mixing of the yellow and green fine yarns in the third sample was successful. I found the thick green yarn too bold. I kept the blue thick yarn as this represented the thick oil pastel strokes in the visual research. 

I’m taking forward the use of fine yarns knitting together to create the mixed colour. I like the use of white cotton to represent translucency, which I’m likely to use again. 

Visual Research: Grayson Perry and onwards

Moving on from the Grayson Perry exhibition, I took the same approach as I had done with Berthe Morisot and did some drawings from his work, mimicking his style. I’m not as fond of these sketches as I am with the Berthe Morisot drawings. From the Grayson Perry, I’ve taken ideas from his approach, more than his visual style. I’m drawing upon his use of optical mixing and the idea of the contrast in taste. 

Look at the idea of contrast in taste, I took some photos of my own clothes, with the plan of taking photos of garments from a different “taste tribe”. It has yet to be decided whether I will look at historical or age difference in textiles. In the photography process, I found that I preferred the photos that has strong shadows, likely to have been inspired by the painting I had recently seen in the university gallery. It’s a nice contrast between the flat dark colour and the close up texture of the fabric.

I worked with the photos, applying the style I’ve been developing but also trying to experiment further. The weaving experiment was relatively successful. I tried to not obscure the original drawing too much, which adding more visual interest with the woven pattern. It’s something I could see being translated into fabric development quite easily, such as using the high and low butts of the Dubied machine to create the square shapes. 

Knit experimentation

Knit experimentation

Grayson Perry
1960-Present
English artist
Grayson Perry’s A Vanity of Small Differences is a series of 6 tapestries illustrating the fictional character Tim Rakewell’s journey from working class to upper class, used to show the differences between taste amongst the working, middle and upper classes. 
What’s most interesting about his collection is its referencing of historic art and in contrast, modern life. Figures from the modern day are placed in reference to biblical paintings. The series of tapestries is based of William Hogarth’s A Rakes Progress, which shows the story of Tom Rakewell’s journey through life. The traditional art form of tapestry is contrasted with the cartoony colourful style of Perry’s drawings. 
The exhibition and it’s accompanying catalogue shows how Perry’s design process worked, from photos of his source of inspiration, to pages in his sketchbook to the final pieces. His drawing style changed the original images into a more caricature like image, then into a digital file and then how the machine weaving process further changed the images, adding fine texture and colour variation into his work. It’s a interesting insight into the design process and is especially relevant to my work. He’s interpreted the textiles in a certain way through his drawing style, but then the textiles manufacturing process has further manipulated his work. It is almost ironic considering I had only considered the artist’s interpretation and I hadn’t thought of how the textiles itself would affect how the fabric is portrayed.  

Grayson Perry

1960-Present

English artist

Grayson Perry’s A Vanity of Small Differences is a series of 6 tapestries illustrating the fictional character Tim Rakewell’s journey from working class to upper class, used to show the differences between taste amongst the working, middle and upper classes. 

What’s most interesting about his collection is its referencing of historic art and in contrast, modern life. Figures from the modern day are placed in reference to biblical paintings. The series of tapestries is based of William Hogarth’s A Rakes Progress, which shows the story of Tom Rakewell’s journey through life. The traditional art form of tapestry is contrasted with the cartoony colourful style of Perry’s drawings. 

The exhibition and it’s accompanying catalogue shows how Perry’s design process worked, from photos of his source of inspiration, to pages in his sketchbook to the final pieces. His drawing style changed the original images into a more caricature like image, then into a digital file and then how the machine weaving process further changed the images, adding fine texture and colour variation into his work. It’s a interesting insight into the design process and is especially relevant to my work. He’s interpreted the textiles in a certain way through his drawing style, but then the textiles manufacturing process has further manipulated his work. It is almost ironic considering I had only considered the artist’s interpretation and I hadn’t thought of how the textiles itself would affect how the fabric is portrayed.  

Bethe Morisot 
January 14, 1841 – March 2, 1895
Impressionist painter
Since this project looks at the way that artists have looked at textiles in their work, she is particularly appropriate, due to her strong style and female figure painting. Other prominent Impressionist painters tend to paint landscapes, which is why her work is being looked at in relation to this project, which focuses on the artist’s interpretation of textiles. 
She takes the style from the impressionist landscapes and applies them to figure, creating a soft, blurred view of the figures and their environment. The loose sketchy style of Impressionism was influenced by their use of “plein air”, painting outdoors straight from the scene they were painting. Hence, their work gives the impression of the scene as opposed to a photorealist portrayal. As is characteristic of Impressionism, she uses strong paint strokes, applying different colours to the piece without blending it together into a smooth gradient. It adds texture that is otherwise not in the real scene, and movement to the work. The paint strokes also add contouring to the image, giving the figures and fabric a better defined shape and a better sense of texture. 
I’ve been painting and drawing from her work, mimicking her style in my own materials and experimenting on different papers. From her work, you can pick out individual colours, which can be made into a colour palette with ease. Ways I could take this visual research into fabric development it to take the textures and colours and reflect them in yarns, or creating folds and movement in the fabric while it is being knit. 

Bethe Morisot 

January 14, 1841 – March 2, 1895

Impressionist painter

Since this project looks at the way that artists have looked at textiles in their work, she is particularly appropriate, due to her strong style and female figure painting. Other prominent Impressionist painters tend to paint landscapes, which is why her work is being looked at in relation to this project, which focuses on the artist’s interpretation of textiles. 

She takes the style from the impressionist landscapes and applies them to figure, creating a soft, blurred view of the figures and their environment. The loose sketchy style of Impressionism was influenced by their use of “plein air”, painting outdoors straight from the scene they were painting. Hence, their work gives the impression of the scene as opposed to a photorealist portrayal. As is characteristic of Impressionism, she uses strong paint strokes, applying different colours to the piece without blending it together into a smooth gradient. It adds texture that is otherwise not in the real scene, and movement to the work. The paint strokes also add contouring to the image, giving the figures and fabric a better defined shape and a better sense of texture. 

I’ve been painting and drawing from her work, mimicking her style in my own materials and experimenting on different papers. From her work, you can pick out individual colours, which can be made into a colour palette with ease. Ways I could take this visual research into fabric development it to take the textures and colours and reflect them in yarns, or creating folds and movement in the fabric while it is being knit. 

Developing from Berthe Morisot

Combining different surfaces and mediums to experiment with mark making and drawing style. First image is a oil pastel drawing of a close up shot of a paper model of a painting. Using the strong lines and different tones interpret the creases and folds. The second sketch looks at apply the developing drawing style to real fabric, a particularly interesting fabric with transparency and and metallic qualities. Using paint and oil pastel together, painting being applied first and oil pastel used as a accent. The final two sketches take the opposite approach and use oil pastel first, as it’s more successful in creating the Impressionist style. The paint is used as accent, more successfully in the last sketch due to the contrast with the background and oil pastel. The final sketch is a close up of one of the initial sketches.

A study of the work of Berthe Morisot

Looking into the textiles in her work, trying to replicate her style in oil pastel  and gouache paint. 

Oil pastel is the most successful in capturing her style. It’s more difficult to create the defined strokes of colour in paint.  

Shop Report - LFW SS15 Knitwear

I conducted a shop report of LFW as I wanted to see the trends running through LFWs Knitwear. Since the final product is going to be aimed at the high end market, I wanted to look at the work of high end designers. 

Images courtesy of Vogue.co.uk

There were some common elements to the knitwear on show at London Fashion Week for the Spring Summer 2015 collections. There were some designers who designed the majority of their collection in knit, were as some designers only had a few pieces of knit which tied into the rest of the collection.

Transparency was used across various collections, in different ways. It takes the form of fine plain knit with a chiffon life appearance (Barbara Casasola, Pringle of Scotland, Joseph, Ryan Lo), or more open knits (Hunter, Whistles). The fine knits are used in certain parts of the garment, such as in a centre panel or as one wide stripe along the garment. This adds a subtle amount of colour, from the skin underneath and breaks up a block colour garment in a more delicate way than a different block of colour would. In the case of the open knits, it creates both transparency and pattern. Unlike the crochet, which is used extensively in many of the LFW collections, it is less impactful, while still adding texture. 

The crochet is used to create open fabrics and very dense 3D forms in the garments. The fabrics created were typical of crochet, with Bora Aksu’s collection using Granny squares like shapes in his garments and George Stylers using crocheted flowers and garments with open crochet patterns. Ryan Lo uses crochet to create form fitting bodices, using the crochet to create thick ruffles. Unlike the fine transparent knit, the crochet is used in a multitude of colours. In the case of George Styler, garments are crocheted in different brightly coloured yarns, whereas Bora Aksu is all in white. 

Intarsia has been used in many collections. Graphic images are made in knit, usually on simple garment shapes such as crew neck jumpers but loose and slightly oversized. They’re generally placed in the centre, quite large in scale, although in Gile’s collection, the motif runs across the sleeve and the bodice. In the collections in which intarsia is used, the motif related to the other non-knitted designs. In Ashley William’s collection, the motifs are quite kitsch, while in Gile’s collection, they’re themed around animals. While these knits contain simple motifs, Apu Jan and Lucas Nascimento has more complex images created in knit. These are all over images on the garment, using individual stitches like pixels. This allows for a more detailed image which from afar looks like a printed image. In comparison to the other intarsia designs, these look more refined. The intarsia in Giles and William’s collections have a more playful look while these more detailed knit garments use more abstract patterns, and look less casual. Due to the thickness of yarn, Gile’s knitwear had a handmade look, as there was slight unevenness to the knit structure. It’s most likely that Apu Jan and Nascimento’s knit was knit using a computerised knitting machine since it was so uniform.

Black and white knitwear appeared to be popular among designers (Bora Aksu,McQ,Pringle,Berardi, Howell), with knit being created in either one of the colours, or occasionally grey. There are some notable exceptions, such as George Styler and Apu Jan, but for those who didn’t use a lot of knitwear in their collection, the knitwear was in either black or white. This could have been because these pieces would take away less from the other garments in the collection, or that it could be more easily teamed up with other garments in the collection. This crosses over with the trend for transparency, as many of fine knit are in black or white. Some of these were then layered onto other garments.  

I decided to look into the Sensory trend as It appealed to me the most. Looking at the information on the side, the main ideas were texture, transparency, lustre and geometric, Judging my the Image gallery and the description. 

To start my research, I visited the Leeds art gallery to see how alters have Interpreted texture in their work. The majority of my sketches were form paintings, dating from around the 1900s, as well as two sculptures, one of which dated from 2012 and another from the 1900s. 

I tried to interpret the style of the artIst in my matierla choice. For sketch 1, a Pre-raphaelite painting, I used soft pencil to capture the softness of the painting, whereas in sketch 2, I used markers and pen to reflect the vivid colour and strong lines of the orIgInal paIntIng. Sketch 3 uses fewer strong lines compared to sketch 2 as the painting didn’t show the creases of the dress in such a way. I contlnued to use markers as it gave a stronger colour. and I used different colours to show the shine and texture of the garment, which the original painting had done. I chose the painting in sketch 4 as its texture differed from the other painting I had seen. The artist had painted woven fabric very well and and unlike the others, the garment showed more varieties of colour. I thought that a similar effect could be achieved in coloured pencil, using crosshatching to create the woven texture. This was achieved with a certain degree of success although I was lift. by the materials I had. 

For the two sculptures, I’ve tried to do the same. sketch 5 was a plaster sculpture, which I found difficulty drawing on paper, as it wasn’t particularly stylised and was void of colour. I’ve tried my best interpret the imperfectIons of the plaster and the light colour of the plaster. I found sketch 6 easier to complete as the sculpture was in metal, so had shine and wear, which I could more easily portray in the sketch. 

To move forward from this Initial study. I will look Into more contemporary artIsts and some painting from Modernism. The artists that I have looked at here try more for realism, whereas it would be interestIng to see the style of the artist.