ReflectionPosted: May 12, 2017
Overall, my third year at university has been the best of all. I feel that I really found my ‘mojo’ and completed my best work to date. Throughout my first and second years, for me it was very much about the ‘university experience’, learning new skills, meeting new people and finding my feet as a textile artist. This put me in a good place for my final year as I feel that I knew exactly what my skills were, and simply what side of art and design I preferred.
This year I focused heavily on hand and machine stitch skills, knowing that embroidery was my passion and the route I want to go down in the future. Although I have enjoyed the experimentation and learning within print and dye, stitch is most definitely my ‘thing’.
The consultancy module from September to December allowed me to perfect my stitch skills but also to work on a topic completely chosen by me. Here I discovered my passion for nature and British wildlife as an inspiration.
When beginning the final major project, it was important to me to study a subject which is close to my heart, and that had to be the coast. I personally have a huge love for the beach and despite not coming from a coastal area in the UK, it is something that has always been, and will always be a huge part of my life. My favourite thing to do is to stroll along the beaches of Britain, whether it be bare foot along the sand in the summer months, or wrapped up against the elements wearing wellies and clambering across the rocks.
The beach is a subject which has previously been done and seen in the industry a countless amount, so I knew that I would have to choose a pathway which slightly differed from the popular beach huts, light house and boat motifs. I came across the concept of rock-pooling while pondering over my personal favourite things to do at the beach, and I feel that this particular topic allowed me to deeper explore the wildlife living on the beaches (and the satisfaction of a good find, be it a crab or just some beautifully coloured seaweed).
Primary research played a huge part for me throughout the whole of this project, not just at the start, and I have thoroughly enjoyed taking myself and my camera to a variety of beautiful coastal locations to observe and record the colours, textures and motifs present. My photography was a big help while designing the collection, but it was mainly the inspiration which I was getting personally, by being on location, which helped me to keep going and feel motivated.
I will definitely take this idea of working with a subject with which I hold a personal love for throughout my work in the future.
The collection is all completely stitched, using techniques such as applique, free hand embroidery, hand embroidery and wet felting, which meant that each design was very time consuming to complete. I however love the concept of so much time and love going into each individual piece, and feel that it adds so much to the value. As a previously quite impatient person, this module has allowed me to learn to take my time in my work, and therefore to produce much more worthwhile, delicate pieces.
In terms of products, I am pleasantly surprised with how happy I am with the pieces I produced. They are the sort of thing which I would expect to be sold and displayed in places such as National Trust galleries, coastal gift shops and even eateries in coastal locations, so am satisfied with the fulfilment of my self set brief. These pieces are intended for purchase at a higher price than for similar products which have instead been digitally printed.
If I was to develop this collection further, I think I would include some pieces in frames, as I feel that this is a product which would sell well, and is a popular setting for artwork in the homes of my target customer.
In the future I plan to set up my own business selling my work, both through online platforms and in face-to-face settings such as craft fairs and shops. I would very much like to take some of the concepts from my degree project further in this venture, with a combination of other inspirations from nature. Again, this is a positive outcome of this module, in allowing me to discover my love for both stitch and British wildlife.
While putting up the degree show, I have very much enjoyed the collaborative atmosphere, and love how everyone helped each other throughout the last couple of weeks. I feel that this helps me to personally be more invested and involved in everybody else’s work alongside my own, and also results in a much more cohesive exhibition. It is brilliant to see everyone’s collections, and the amount of work which has gone into it all. These last two weeks are also so beneficial for the second years, and I know that without our own experience of it last year, I would have found putting up my own show a lot harder.
I am really happy with my exhibition space, and despite all of the stresses and doubts, I feel that there is nothing that I would change. I think I’ve not ‘over propped’ the area, but have styled it effectively. I love the positioning of my design collection on the wall and the products frame them well. My business cards and post cards are displayed on a tiny wooden holder on the wall, which is painted white in order for it to be understated, and cohesive to the rest of the display.
Overall I am feeling equally relieved and sad that it is all over. It is lovely to see all of my hard work together, but the last three years have gone so incredibly fast and I think I would quite like to do them all over again!
On to the next chapter!