After doing in-depth research into the areas of Fashion, Interior and Paper-based design I made the decision to continue working within interior. This decision was based upon my natural love for anything interior related and that out of all the companies I looked at it was theses I found most interesting. That was the easy decision made. Next was choosing the company to write my brief for. I took into consideration my personal style, which tends to be simple but stylish and sophisticated, I like to work with neutral colours and traditional designs and was looking for a company with a similar approach.

My decision to produce designs for DeVol also came as I fell in love with their products. After reading into the values of the company I found out they love to restore old objects and pieces of furniture to give it a new life. Although that’s not what I would be doing I was able to connect with them through that passion of restoration.

Designs I had seen from DeVol’s previous collections had a rural classic style to them, which is where I got inspiration for my theme of the countryside. It was also influenced by my childhood memories of growing up there on my grandparents dairy farm. I visited the heart of my family to collect images for my mood boards, and it was also at this point I started to think about what I wanted to put into my designs. I begun by taking the term ‘farmhouse’ very literal and started to over use the shape of a cows head and horseshoes in a lot of my designs. Although this solid basic shape came in useful when studying repeat patterns, I started to feel as if it was taking over my work.

On my mood board I noticed a continuous theme of textured surfaces throughout my images. From weathered-worn pieces of wood to rusted metal, they all had a surface that had grown on them, and were not in their original state. Rather then seeing this process as ruining the object I found it added more detail and interest. I went back through my imagery and found different textures everywhere, from the wet grass to the crisp leaves fallen from the trees. Working with my colour pallet that I put together with the idea of creating a calm and peaceful environment. It consisted of natural pales, deep rich darks and a pop of bright loud colour to help highlight certain parts of my design. I started to do some mark making in my sketchbook.

Using techniques with stamps, sponges and stencils I was able to create a series of marks that represented the textured surfaces. The stencil allowed accurate straight lines and shapes when using the sponge. I was also able to layer colours with the sponge and this naturally applied texture to the original flat surface. The use of stamps meant I could create quick patterns with small relating cutouts. I coated the stamp in paint and after the first few presses where the paint had rubbed off I was left with just parts of the stamp on the page. This left the outcome looking worn and rustic, with parts broken away.

I decided to take the marks made from both the stencils and stamps and screen-print them onto fabric. I enlarged the images and edited the contrast before putting them on a screen to help get the best outcome. When mixing my colours for the prints I wasn’t able to get them as deep and rich as on my colour pallet, which meant that the outcome didn’t fit my theme accordingly. This reminded me how important it was to get the colour correct, the sample I designed for a sophisticated living area came out looking like a design you would see in a childs bedroom, two completely opposite rooms of the house and decided upon by the colour. Other then this I thought my samples did turn out well. To add smaller detail to the samples I chose a few to stitch into. Although most furnishing fabrics don’t have stitch to them I wanted to experiment with the detail. This works with applying a pattern within the shapes printed but in practicality the stitch may tear after repeated use.

I experimented on different types of fabric and found that the thin cotton didn’t hold the pigment at all leaving a distorted image. With the thinker more dense fabric the image held much better giving a clearer and crisp finish. As my designs are to be made for lavish furnishings the fabric they are printed on will be made to be rich and able to hold such prints.

I was also given the opportunity to put my designs on ceramic tiles. We were given limited colours as we were only working in a one off workshop so they don’t match with my mood boards but I was able to see the final effect. After seeing the outcome I can picture my designs on the base of a lamp or decorative bowls. I created my designs by using leafs to press into the clay, some I painted and others I painted over so when I pealed back the leaf it revealed the bare clay. This gave a lovely textured finish to the tile, with capturing so much detail. And each tile being individually different gave a unique value to the work. This idea fits perfectly with DeVol as they work in bespoke furnishing. So my idea was to create each ceramic piece of work to order, so that it was individual and personal. Allowing the customer to chose which techniques, shapes, tools and colours are used in the making of the piece gives them more control with the overall outcome.

When it came to making repeat patterns I did decide to use the shape of a cows head, as it was simple for me to rotate, place and resize. These started as croquis designs and as I developed them I added a horseshoe. For a first attempt at croquis it was very useful as they were quick shape to copy and repeat. My outcomes are not the most attractive or complicated of designs but when creating them I was more concerned at focusing on learning the technique as it was my first attempt. When I have my next try at croquis designs I will know the process and will be able to turn my attention more on the design. It was these croquis I developed into my repeat patterns, I experimented with the scale and positions of the shapes until I created a square that could be repeated continuously in many different drops and styles. The repeat patterns are not something I would like to feature in too many of my designs as I think it can easily be related to childrens design with the shape of the cows head, however in small quantities I think it’s nice to add a bit of fun into the collection.

I made my collection of 20 designs by using Photoshop, taking marks from my sketchbook and images I had collected over the course of this project, using them to create patterns by repeating, changing scale and rotation. I also layered images to create new individual images rather then patterns. I found I was continuously using the same selected colours from my pallet and that others weren’t being used at all. This may be down to having to many colours on my mood board to start with, although I wanted to leave myself with enough variety and choice. When I do this process again I think I will be more selective with my colours as now I have a better understanding of how many I will need.

Being reunited with Photoshop was difficult at first and I think this shows in my first few designs. It did take me a while to familiarize myself with the tools and layout of the programme, I had worked with Photoshop before and been taught how to use it, however I hadn’t for some time. Although I was getting done what I wanted, I was going the most complicated way about it, as I wasn’t aware of the correct process I should be using. This meant I was producing work slower then I should have been, but once I had worked out how to use the basic tools I found that that was all I needed to know as I was using the same tools to create my designs but in different ways. Now I have Photoshop on my own private laptop I will make sure I regularly work with it, even if it’s not for work on a project. This way I can stay reminded of how things work and hopefully learn more along the way.

When it came to making my CAD visual I decided to keep it as simple as possible, mainly because that’s how I work best, with things being very easily laid out. I didn’t want to fill the picture with to many of my designs because I didn’t think that would be very realistic. It is something I had never created before but will admit I really enjoyed doing, and the final outcome is so rewarding to see your own designs in a real life space. It’s the next best thing to having it manufactured and put in a room. I’m aware my CAD visual isn’t as well technically done as maybe it should but I do wish to continue getting better at producing them, as they are fun to create and satisfying to see the outcome.

Looking at my final 20 designs I see how that using the textured all over designs work better then the individual image ones. This is because it adds more depth and interest to the design. The source of the image not being recognizable makes the designs diverse and interesting. Where as the designs that I used obvious shapes and images is tend to look very flat and one-dimensional. However I still put these in my final 20 as I wanted to show a good range of designs and variation. Also the textured pattern designs can become very busy, having a selection of them in one room may be over powering, so a simpler design which is more obvious to look at may help to separate these up.

When designing I was thinking a lot for cushions, curtains and wallpaper. The cushions are what I designed the individual imagery for as I imagined the wallpaper, curtains and any upholstery furnishing with the patterned designs on and then cushions to tie them together.

I’ve learnt a lot from this process, finding out how to work in a professional way and learning techniques used in the industry. It has been a fun and interesting experience from which I have learnt a lot. Looking back now at the process there are decisions I would change and ways of doing things differently. However I feel I needed to do this project the way I did to learn so well from it and make it a productive learning curve for me in my future work. I am very happy with the designs I have created and I wouldn’t change a lot about them, I’ll probably be saying this at the end of every piece of work I do.


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