Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Design for the Terrified (Part 1 of 3 posts)

In this first of her set of blog posts Alison Daykin introduces the thinking behind her Summer School course. Even if you are not doing her course there is plenty of useful advice to consider. Parts 2 and 3 will follow later this week.

What is design?

Despite what most people think, it's not art!  You don't need to be able to paint or draw, there are lots of ways to help you do that, some you even learnt when you were at school.  Design is learning to look at your inspiration in a number of ways that will help you develop your techniques into stunning projects.  Design work doesn't  have to be shown to any one; it can be as scruffy or as neat as you like; but should contain all your thoughts, including written words, and show a logical progression from inspiration to to project detail.

How to prepare to design

In Avril Otiv's blog post she stressed that preparation and good technique were key to most skills, I heartily agree, and this can be applied to the design process.  Design is the beginning of any project that you want to be unique and beautiful and here is how I get ready to begin the design process and how you can prepare for the Design for the Terrified course if you're thinking of joining us in 2015:

·         I always have my finished project in mind; this can be anything from a garment to a cushion for the home.

·         My inspiration is put out on a desk if I'm working from life or pinned to a board if it's a photograph so that I can keep looking at it over a few days.  This observation is vital and I usually keep it in view throughout the time I'm working on a design.

·         I start to prepare a “Mood Board” starting with a photograph of my inspiration.  You can add pictures of similar inspiration; pictures of similar finished projects, a type of garment, or cushions, for example; colour samples to match those in my inspiration in the form of yarn, fabric, paint chips; similar fabrics as you have in mind for your project such as a knitted swatch in a textured stitch that reminds you of your inspiration.  I continue to add to my mood board while working on the project.

·         As I start my mood board I also start to collect together my art materials, paints, paper, etc., in the colours, textures and shapes that remind me of my inspiration.  I'll talk about this in my next post.

At home, finding a space to work can be difficult, especially if you've got to share the dining room table with the family at meal times, but can be overcome.  Think outside the box;  a drawing board made from an off cut of MDF, resting on our knee, could be all you might need as a “ design studio”.

The aim of this course is to give you confidence to start a project with the design process.  It will help you eliminate huge mistakes, but above all it will be fun; how often are you given permission to play with pencils and paint, to cut, rip and stick as you did as a child and in doing so begin to develop your designs into stunning textiles!