Since the beginning of this academic year I was planing to do fruit and vegetables for my final module. I thought they were nice and easy going and will present well in a show, also I would never run out of things to draw and paint. I went through few interior ideas such as kitchen ware or student packs but in the end, I thought picnic and garden wear would suit my designs the best. After extensive market research from high end though middle to low market I decided that my collection would best go for the middle market, with my main market competitors being John Lewis, Debenhams and Marks & Spencer. I decided to design for families and young couple who are quite outdoorsy.
During my initial research, I had a rough idea of what style I want to design in but I was torn between different techniques. One of the techniques was very natural and handmade and the second more digitally based. Firstly, I experimented with natural dying and printing with fruit and vegetables with acrylic paints to explore the textures and different colours of fruit and vegetable. I also went to a cyanotype workshop where I used the fruit and vegetables and as a resist on the print. I then moved on to creating some abstract quick drawings during the Drawing Sessions with Sarah and then developing them in to collage work. This is when I realised that I really want to do the other technique which is more digital and realistic, I do believe that this quick process made me think more about the beautiful textures of the fruit and vegetables however I thought my skills would show of better in the digital style more.
I started off with research trips to Harrods and Borough Market in London as well as local food shops such as Tesco and Asda where I photographed all kinds of fruit and vegetables and after editing I was ready to paint. I hand painted all of my motifs using gouache paint from my own photographs and also few secondary research images. I wanted to really catch the beauty of the textures of the outsides and insides of my drawing inspiration but also some of the tones and shadows I have gotten in the photographs. My original plan was to focus mainly on fruit and vegetables with some hints of garden wear but the painting and design development process has guided me to making a whole sub-collection for it. I think that this really enhanced my collection and made it much more interesting and unique.
Influenced by my artist and designer research I came across a lot of different way to represent fruit and vegetables in a way that I at the time thought was unique. Both of the techniques involved water colour painting, I did enjoy it and created few abstract repeats. During my interim presentation, I was advised not to carry on with those techniques as my gouache painting are much more interesting and unique as no one in out cohort has my style of painting. I was also advised to make my repeats less blocky as I only had straight and half drop repeats to show at the time. Helen and Ana also gave me some good ideas how to make some of my designs really unique by painting fruit and vegetables on to plates or in bowls. This really worked well for me as the shadows of the plates and bowls really enhance my repeat patterns.
After painting different fruit, vegetables and garden wear I started to think what would make some of my designs really stand out. When I was painting my garden products I drew napkins in one of the baskets and they looked so successful because of the textures and draping of the fabric. I have then decided that I could drape different fabrics to use for my backgrounds or even put some fruit and vegetables on it. This experiment has proven to be very successful and I have carried it on for a big number of my designs.
My main digital skill is to create random repeating patterns in Illustrator. I was once told by Ana that a successful pattern is when the client cannot see where it repeats so I have tried to make my patterns this way. For some I have deliberately put motifs with similar shape of colour so where it repeats if creates little lines or stripes. I would class those type of designs as my hero designs. I have also created patterns with boarders in Illustrator which I would class as my tertiary designs. Another digital software I have used was Photoshop. I mainly focused on patterns that would create patterns within when scaled down. This means that when the patterns are scaled down they create stripes with the motifs and backgrounds. I really liked this technique and I think it supports my collection very well. Most of those designs are my secondary designs. I have then experimented with different colourways with in my colour pallet and also using alternative colourways from trends I researched on WGSN. This shows that my collection is transferable and could work for different markets and clients. I have really enjoyed this exercise. I have printed all of the designs digitally.
I have really enjoyed the show preparation and making my products process along side with the buddy system support. I personally work so much better under pressure rather than when I know I have got loads of time, you can see me getting more focused and work better at the ends of modules rather than the beginnings. I did however struggle to manage my buddy successfully at the beginning as I never had anyone to manage before. In the second week, I became more assertive and we started working together better. Overall, I have really enjoyed this module and what I have enjoyed the most there the bumps and struggles I came across the way and resolving them made me a better designer. After doing the internships in Malta over the summer I wasn’t sure if I want to go in to designing, my first options were Masters in Art Therapy or PGCE but now I am considering working in the industry, this is the main reason why I chose to do New Designers.