Arrow Fat Left Icon Arrow Fat Right Icon Arrow Right Icon Cart Icon Close Circle Icon Expand Arrows Icon Instagram Icon Pinterest Icon Twitter Icon Hamburger Icon Information Icon Down Arrow Icon Mail Icon Mini Cart Icon Person Icon Ruler Icon Search Icon Shirt Icon Triangle Icon Bag Icon Play Video
Use less text on mobile! beautiful textiles for your home, designed by the sea and made in the British isles

blog

drawn to design

drawn to design

'Why draw?' This is a question I asked myself when applying to do a textiles course at university. At the age of 49, I had never really drawn anything. I had been creative all my life but I was a maker, not a sketcher. I soon found out that drawing is something that is absolutely necessary if you want to become a designer, so I had to book myself on to a crash course to learn how to draw before my application was accepted (thank you Michael Troy!). Although I was fearful of failure to begin with, and I can see the tightness in my early drawings, I eventually learned to relax and enjoy playing with colour and texture, mark making and experimenting.

I remember one particular day in my first year at university, when it all became clear to me. There were almost 70 students squashed into the art room and we were all given the same drawing task. Only, we were asked to use the hand we don’t usually draw with and we were encouraged to use charcoal, attached to long sticks. Our large pieces of paper were pinned onto walls and we had 3 minutes to draw a cross section of a tree trunk. Once the 3 minutes were up, our drawings were taken off the walls and placed side by side on the floor and we were asked to walk around them. There were 70 different drawings of exactly the same thing. Not one was better than the other, not one was worse, but each was individual.

This is why drawing is so important for designing. It comes straight out of you and is as individual as a finger print, it represents your style, your voice. It is completely original and this is the starting point for designing; to create something that does not already exist. I never draw objects, I see that as copying the designer who made the object in the first place. I prefer to use nature and landscapes as inspiration and as I walk a lot, I have an ever changing source of material to work from. I sometimes use photographs to keep records of what I’ve seen, but always get better results if my subject is in front of me. I use my imagination, or memory, for creating more abstract drawings and these work well too.

The sketches I make, the marks that appear on paper, are not works of art as such. That is, I am not about to frame them and hang them on the walls. But they are the beginning of the design process and will fuel weave designs or perhaps give me ideas for stitch. And because they come directly from me, I can be sure that what comes next will be original.

These drawings were very quick to do following a day on the beaches at Llandwynn and Newborough Forest on Anglesey in North Wales, and form part of the research for my next woven designs. For me, trying to capture the essence of the place is more important than it being a true replica of the scene itself.

 ...I used my finger to make this drawing. The textures of the pastel oils is perfect for smudging and you can see how excited I was by the bright greens. I took photos of my drawings at different angles:

This is a sketch of the forest, again I was playing with textures and looking at pattern this time. Using my camera to find different angles of interest, I can see structures for weaving here:

Why not try it for yourself? It takes a little time to find your style, but you will most certainly have one. Don’t be scared and don’t care too much. There is no bad. Make some marks!

Continue reading

when a day begins....

when a day begins....

When a day begins like this you just know you have to go to the tiny island of Llandwynn (just off Newborough forest on Anglesey) for the day. Take a boat or take a walk, take a friend, take a pic-nic and let the peaceful aura of this beautiful place fill your soul…..follow the other pilgrims who make it this far across the stretches of beach to the atmospheric lighthouse overlooking the bay.


The rocks on this particular island were thrown up millions of years ago and are quite unusual in their colourings of pinks and teals. This tumbling wall captures their hues as the rocks seem to fall to the tiny gate of the pathway.

 

The beaches either side of the island are trimmed with tall woodland and impressive sand dunes and they stretch for miles. And, perhaps because not many people want to walk for literally miles along sand, they are extremely quiet. Even the excited greyhound who bounced around us for the first mile, had to give up the chase and return to his owners. We came across this old boat wreck half way up the deserted sand, covered in seaweed, some dark grey green, some bright emerald shining wet in the sun light. The wood that remained stood like a bottom row of teeth, grinning at the calm blueness of sea and sky.

Green was the colour that day. The colour that shouted loudest and the one I have chosen to use in my sketches from the day……….Green by the sea is different to the green in the garden. It is certainly as vibrant but salty and rugged, rather than fresh and clean. (see my sketches in ‘drawn to design’ post)

Continue reading

colour palette

colour palette

I'm beginning to think about designing some new throws for autumn/winter 2017/2018. I've already started to think about weave structures and have been out walking over the Penmon hills to gather inspiration. I have been drawn to look at stone walls which appear all over the hills of Anglesey, in various states of repair and with varying purpose. Up behind the Penmon Priory, the stone walls are now crumbling remnants of what used to be a deer park. They are unusually tall walls and the fact they are crumbling gives them so much more interest. I am compelled to photograph the trees and branches which have grown up against the side of the wall and then have been almost frozen into a bent shape as they have been pushed over the top of the wall by the coastal winds. I see walls which are now giving in to the strength of nature; ivy vines seem to be winning by sheer determination to force themselves in to the crevices of the once sturdy wall.

 

I will spend some time over the next few weeks using these photographs to make drawings in my sketchbook, but before I do that I want to establish a colour palette. Trend forecasting may be considered to be the domain of the fashion world, but there is always an influence from the catwalks that spills into interior design, in fact the two areas are strongly connected. Although I don't need my throw designs to be fashionable as such, in fact I want them to be almost the opposite of fashionable in that I want them to have longevity and long lasting purpose, however, I do need them to have appeal and to be able to fit in with the design scheme of a contemporary home.

In my searches through colour forecasts, I have been drawn to the blush pink, which seems to be everywhere this year, but I'm not seeing much of it forecasted for next year. So it could well have been purely a fashion colour and those I need to avoid. This means I may need to reconsider using this palette, which is taken from some amazingly naturally pink rocks which were thrown up by a volcano on the tiny Island of Ynys Llandwynn off Newborough forest.

But I am pleased to find that green is one of the strong colours forecasted to be in our lives next year. I sometimes use Pinterest to gather together images that I find appealing and green is predominant in my findings and it makes a lot of sense. To begin with it is all over the outside world, it is a foil to every other colour but it can easily stand out all by itself too. So, green could well turn out to be the champion of the palette. I used some photographs taken from around Penmon to find some shades of greens and some companion colours too. I really enjoy the sludgy, khaki browns and the dark chocolate offered by this colour palette. The tiny pop of light blue and the limey green lifts it and contrasts beautifully with the stronger shades. This natural palette comes directly from the source of my inspiration and could be a contender.

watch this space!

 

 

Continue reading