Today I spent the morning in the print workshop and had a bit of a refresher with lino printing. I did a Wednesday workshop last year where I learnt the basics but wanted to remind myself of the technique. The print workshop was really quiet so Steve was able to spend more time with us on this technique, which was really helpful.
First I tried the new dremel tool on wood but felt that it didn’t really get deep enough for what I wanted to do, so I moved onto the lino and hand tools. Because I don’t have any actual designs yet I just had a play with some imagery that I’ve been thinking about and I was actually really happy them.
I would like to do some more of this technique, but maybe when I’ve got some more solid ideas for designs.
We also had the idea of trying foiling with lino, which was something that Steve had never done. I really love the results of this and would definitely like to experiment more with. I’ve also never done foil on paper so am really excited about this concept.
I love the different gradient of colour that you can get.
On Monday morning I’m going to go back into the print room and expose a screen ready to print from. I spoke to Steve about using a small, A4 screen because I don’t really want to print repeats, just motifs (because I think I am going to go for the card option). This weekend I’m going to start sketching some initial ideas and choose one for a screen.
I’d also like to start really thinking about my colour scheme, to help my experiments look a little bit more cohesive! I’m thinking of going bright this term, as a trial for my final major. I am always attracted to bold colours in other people’s work but I always stick to more pale, pastel and muted colours myself. Greens are definitely going to feature, and I am thinking maybe yellows and oranges.
I spent this afternoon in digital stitch for the first workshop. Again, it was really good to have a refresher in this technique.
I didn’t have any pictures with me but instead of using one of Maggie’s, Chloe had some photos of flowers from her project last year which she let me use. I chose a rose because they are a similar shape to a lettuce, which is one of the things I’m thinking of looking into.
I did try one with a fill but much preferred it as just an outline.
I’m really happy with the result and also really like the lime green coloured thread.
It isn’t possible to use the uni digital stitch machines to embroider onto paper so if this is a technique that I use, I will either scan in my designs or do them onto fabric to then attach to the cards. However I am also planning on doing a lot of free machine embroidery, which I can do onto paper, so maybe this is a better technique for me.
I’m really enjoying this initial part of research, just putting together all of the ideas that I currently have in my head before I start developing them.
Today’s trip to International Greetings was overall both exciting and overwhelming! There was a huge amount to take in but it was so inspiring to actually be taken around the studios and see each stage in action. It was also really good to see some ex-students working there, that could be some of us in 12 months time!
A lot of the products and designs we saw were Christmas based, but I decided today that I am going to stick with what they call the ‘everyday’ which are products not aimed at a particular season, i.e. birthday cards. I have had a few ideas over summer so am excited to start my research properly, now that I am completely sure of the brief.
It was really nice to meet Sarah this morning and she had a lot of useful advice to give:
- Stick with what you are good at – just because you may like a certain style of design, do you have the skills to carry it off? Use your strengths.
- Don’t choose too many colours in your colour scheme, it is unnecessary and harder to stick to.
- When presenting, be passionate. Even if you are nervous, it will be clear that you really care about what you are showing.
- Be creative and don’t limit yourself – we have so many techniques and facilities open to us so use them!
- And above all: have fun and enjoy it!
Just before the summer I was having a conversation at home about a piece of paper received with a product from Clarins. It had seeds in it and the instructions said to soak and plant it. I was fascinated by this concept and sure enough, it has grown into a beautiful wildflower.
I love this idea as a favour for customers and had the idea of making cards out of handmade paper with seeds embedded.
Last year I did a paper making workshop and spent some time experimenting with this, although didn’t end up using it for my work. This could be a nice way to use this new skill and develop it further.
I knew that this couldn’t be an original idea so I had a look online and found a few companies that sell them.
Botanical Paperworks was the first I found, and they sell a variety of products including invites and confetti.
They seem to be the biggest company that I’e come across who sell these sort of products.
I also found ‘Bloomin’, who have the same sort of products.
‘Plantable Seed Paper’ are another online company who sell plantable cards.
Because there are already quite a few sellers out there, I need to think about what would be my unique selling point. All of the seed paper that I have seen so far have been wildflower seeds.
I was thinking about looking into butterflies and bees, as these are attracted to these sort of plants and it encourages them into your garden. This could be a really interesting concept to research and would also make a good theme for my cards.
I am also toying with the idea of incorporating food, for example herb seeds and perhaps also vegetables. My Dad is a gardener so I am going to ask his opinion on what would work best.
Further to my thoughts over the summer regarding how wasteful wrapping paper and greetings cards can be, I have done a little research to start myself off.
- In the UK, we send 5 million tonnes of paper to land fill each year
- In 1995, 1000 tonnes were sold in the UK
- On average, it takes 6 mature trees to make a tonne
I came across this site called ‘Wrag Wrap’, who produce a reusable fabric gift wrap – “ethical gift wrap that lasts and lasts”.
If there’s one thing that I have learnt from all of these articles is that the waste from greetings cards are humongous.
I think it would be great if I could produce a range with the same concept as Wrag Wrap, of having something that can be re-used, either for the same purpose or something completely different. I’ve seen students in previous years do this sort of thing and I think it has been the most successful.
Over the summer it was a friend’s birthday and, while in a shop choosing a card and wrapping paper for her present, it really got me thinking. There is such a huge variety of choice out there and I always spend so much time choosing something perfect, it is such a shame that you know that in the end, it will be thrown away. At Christmas I always spend time wrapping and decorating everyone’s presents for it to be ripped up and chucked out. And although I sometimes do keep a few special cards after each birthday, the majority I bin. This sometimes puts me off the idea of feeling obliged to buy a card to do alongside a present, but I can’t help spending the money and giving in to it anyway. That’s the other thing, cards can be so expensive! They are then opened, read once, put on display for a few days and thrown out.
The majority of these beautiful cards are non-recyclable. Although made of paper, they often have embellishments e.g glitter and ribbons, which ultimately make it much more difficult to recycle the card. This goes the same for gift wrap and bags, which are often dyed, laminated and covered in sticky tape. It is designed for single use only and although some may try to reuse it, ultimately it will perish and be thrown away.
I was always brought up to re use Christmas cards by cutting them up and using them for bookmarks or gift tags for the next year. I think this is such a simple idea but is a fab way of finding another use for them.
This is something that I want to look into further and hopefully incorporate into my thinking for the consultancy project.
Hello third year!
Today was our first day back after summer: there was a lot to take in and I think this year is going to be intense, but I’m really excited to get started.
My summer was spent working full time in admin in an office. It was an interesting experience and I learnt a lot about running a business and a lot of the jargon used, which I had no idea about before. This will hopefully be really useful to me in the future, as someone who would like to run my own business after university. I spoke to a lot of inspirational business people in my time there and although they specialised in a very different field, it was advantageous for me to hear their advice and encouragement.
They have recently started a scheme called ‘Women in M&A’, which encourages women in the company to grow as business women and not succumb to any limitations. I was lucky enough to be able to attend the first event, where the guest speaker was a lady called Charlotte, who started her own business: Rabble. Charlotte is a young, ex-Olympic athlete who after an accident, decided to quit competing in favour of her new idea. Rabble is basically a fitness provider who put the fun back into exercise. Hearing her story was so inspiring and I managed to speak to her after the talk. She told me to never let anything stop you achieving your goals, and whatever life throws at you (in her case, a collapsed lung and a broken back..!) can be overcome. We have agreed to stay in touch and she said that I can feel free to ask her anything when it comes to starting up.
I also won an award during my time with this company for which I was nominated by a colleague, for professional attitude and a smiley face!
Although I did enjoy my time working in an office for the last 3 months, it has also confirmed that it is not what I want to be doing for the rest of my life, which will motivate me to work harder, in order for me to work harder in order to not have to!
I also visited New Designers in June which was so inspiring, see previous post.
This is something which I a still very interested in taking part in this year.
One other thing that I did this summer was design some stationary for a family wedding. I was lucky enough to be asked to design the invitations, RSVP cards and table decorations. This was definitely an eye-opening experience in terms of the time involved and how to work to a client’s specific requests and requirements. Overall it was extremely rewarding to see them finished and in use, and to hear all the lovely comments about them from the guests. It was also really useful for me to get some illustrator practice in before third yer starts.
Below are some examples of the outcomes.
I’m very much looking forward to starting our first project and already have some ideas that I am excited about. On Thursday we are visiting the International Greetings studios which I think will be really useful in getting an idea of what they are really looking for.