Monday, 30 January 2012

Sunday outing to Catherine Hill Bay, NSW

Historic Catherine Hill Bay, NSW - image by me
A study in colour and texture - image by me
Underneath the old coal loader, Catherine Hill Bay - image by me

Old miner's cottage, Catherine Hill Bay, NSW - image by me
Just a few of the images I captured yesterday on an outing to the historic coastal township of Catherine Hill Bay, NSW. Located about 10 minutes from where I live this place is simply beautiful... a place where time stands still... but under threat from greedy developers who would ruin the very essence of this sleepy little seaside village.

Made up predominantly of old miners cottages, there is a surf club, a pub and that's pretty much it. The old coal loader on the beach is an amazing place to take photos... so much age, texture, colour and beauty. More image here.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Design development .../3

Following on from this post and this post I've been looking at shapes lately... geometrics to be exact. There are some beautiful examples of geometric pattern out there... you just have to type 'geometric' in the search bar on etsy to see what I mean.

It's funny how things happen. I wasn't so keen on geometric pattern as far as my designs go, preferring instead to keep to nature-inspired designs with the flora and fauna, however, in this recent period of assessing my designs, my style and especially in this beginning phase of the business I realised I'm still very much in the experimenting stage and am happy with that. Perhaps a business proves to be in a constant phase of experimentation and I guess I'll be happy with that too.

I read this post the other day over at Apartment Therapy - I'm not interested in conforming to trends, particularly in regards to wanting to ensure a sustainable approach to my business, therefore I would like my designs and colour choices to have longevity, to be timeless... and so this informs my designs much more than trends ever will. The thing with trends is, popular culture usual kills what it loves the most just by the absolute saturation of that one thing in the market place... this usually turns me off something pretty quickly and may well be the same for others.

Still, I think you can't help but be influenced but what you see around you, when done well and so for this reason geometrics have seeped into my subconscious in a very slow way and when I was looking back through my visual diaries this past week I found some things that made me realise geometrics have been on my mind for quite some time...


This was me experimenting with painting, something I've never been good at (except when it comes to blocks of solid colour on walls). What I'm really liking here is the diamond shapes on the left... the maker's mark is evident, they are uneven, crooked, imperfect... and that is what I like about them.

On a larger scale the design below (right-hand page) struck a chord with the lecturer way back when... and now I am seeing what he saw back then... the thing he liked was the hand drawn effect, how the pattern skewed slightly rather than being exact and precise:



Although I don't mind the colours they are probably not ones I would use. Colour is actually another aspect of my design process that I am thinking about at the moment. So far I have only been using one colour for my designs which I don't have a problem with but would one day like to incorporate at least two-colour designs into the mix... maybe once the business is more established and cash flow has improved, as the cost of this is obviously higher than just one colour, given that you need to separate the colours and have two screens.

What I also like about the above design is that geometrics and florals go together and pretty much always have, so even if I want to introduce geometrics, it doesn't mean I cannot incorporate them into my nature-themed designs... but I think I'll experiment with both - the combination and geometrics as a stand-alone element.


Again, ignore the colour but here is another example of how to use a geometric design such as diamonds, combining them with more organic motifs... the only thing is, for screen-printing the diamonds could not be joined, unless the repeat was broken up by something else in between.

... and here is an example of diamonds that are not joined together...


This was for bedlinen, a doona cover, with the front and back design... the use of diamonds and other geometrics such as stripes, is limitless really. For more patterns from a couple of my uni visual diaries you can go here.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Design development .../2

Continuing on from this post I also wanted to show how I started playing around with positive and negative spaces as a result of certain design approaches (this also informed my 'kangaroo paw' design)... and how deconstructing an object, such as a plant or flower allows you take certain elements and put them into another context...

Design development, visual diary 2001 - image by me
Design development, visual diary 2001 - image by me
In the image above, the rough sketch in the bottom right-hand corner developed into this:


 ... and then this (below) which I have been playing around with for a greeting card. When I first thought about textile designs I was playing around with this as a repeat but for a couple of reasons I abandoned the idea. One of which is printing it vertically would be impossible due to the continuous pattern (for hand-screen-printing) and I don't think I want it printed horizontally. What I do like is the evidence of it being hand drawn in the way it is not precise and perfectly symmetrical... this makes it much more organic.

kelp by Gaby Tagliapietra
Or... sometimes we can choose to leave things pretty much as they are... as in the case of the waratah sketch (top visual diary image, bottom centre of the diary) that became this eco-friendly greeting card design:

stilelemente 'waratah' eco-friendly greeting card

Monday, 23 January 2012

Design development .../1

In my last post I was saying how I was contemplating my design process or probably more so, the results and asking myself questions like - is this how I want to proceed? Do I want to make changes? Do I want to define a style or allow it to develop organically over time.

As the business is still so new to me, particularly the textile design aspect of it, I know there are going to be nips and tucks along the way, testing the water in regards to the market, i.e. finding my niche and testing myself, defining my style.

In feeling a bit lost with it all at the moment I looked back on a couple of my old visual diaries from uni and realised how things can seep into our subconscious and inform our design process years later.

Here is an example from one of my visual diaries:

Design development, visual diary 2001 - image by me
Design development, visual diary 2001 - image by me
Design development, visual diary 2001 - image by me
'kangaroo paw' repeat - image by me
Finished product - 'kangaroo paw' hand screen-printed fabric - image by me

Sunday, 22 January 2012

A foreshore walk

Waners Bay, NSW - foreshore walk - image by me
Warners Bay, NSW - foreshore walk - image by me
White Ibis, Warners Bay, NSW - image by me
I have yet to produce anything other than a photographic documentary of my local area this year, anything for my label that is, and I apologise for that. I guess at the moment I'm just planning my next move in that regard, thinking about my designs so far and seeing if this is the style I want to continue with.

I read an interview with designer Leah Bartholomew recently on Daily Imprint and something she said really struck a chord, the questions was:
"What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way?"

...and the response was:
"Not to put too much pressure on myself to have a "style" in my art-making. If you put yourself into your art/designs, the style will inevitably show itself. I feel like I've got about three different approaches to my art-making; in the end they seem to combine into the one."

I think I'm questioning my style at the moment, or at the very least re-assessing my textile designs and asking myself is there anything I can do differently? Do I want to do things differently? Do I need to do things differently?

Apart from deciding to discontinue my Kangaroo Grass design, maybe permanently or maybe just to do a re-design, I don't have the answers yet and so I am just sitting with it. I'm taking my camera out on walks and by placing myself in the landscape more am hoping to find the answers I am looking for. I also plan to sit down and do some drawings and sketches on some ideas I had to see if anything comes of it.

The above images were taken earlier in the week, on a walk along the foreshore at Warners Bay (you can see more here). I haven't walked along here before as I'm usually in my car going there for a specific reason and never having the time to stop and enjoy it. Our local council has been doing some wonderful work here with constructing a new modern boardwalk to link areas previously not accessible by foot, creating a continuous walking path - as well as foreshore regeneration and I captured these plants below:

Swamp Banksia - image by me
Sheoak - image by me
The plant images in particular are a wonderful resource for me to draw on for designs and I'm enjoying becoming more familiar with many native species - more images here.

I'm also having this real affinity with illustrations at the moment and am leaning towards exploring this area more for myself, with stand-alone illustrations, i.e. not part of repeat patterns for my textile designs and different to the ones I have done in the past.

I'm also hoping I can finally get to do the ceramics course I talked about a while ago (maybe even as far back as the beginning of last year). I hope to be moved and settled by the time TAFE goes back and am looking into courses.

Friday, 13 January 2012

The 'hood

I needed to get out of my own headspace this morning and decided to grab my camera and go on another photo shoot around my neighbourhood... this time much closer to home than the little outing in this post... just some lovely spots around the headland here (you can see more images here):

Above: Reids Reserve / Lake Entrance
Above: Track to Reids Mistake
Above: Salts Bay, NSW
Above" Reids Reserve, NSW
I had spotted some plants on my walks recently that I wanted to go back and snap so that I can add to my ever-growing library of inspiration for my designs.

Here is a sample of what I captured but you can see more here

Above: Grevillea Misty Pink
Above" Leucadendron Red Devil
Above: Leucospermum Carnival Yellow
Protea Pink Ice
It was a stunning summer day here today and it made me feel alot better being outdoors and enjoying it. I hope you have enjoyed your day... this Friday the 13th... or maybe you have fab plans for spooky fun tonight...

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Sunday morning by the lake

East Lake Macquarie, NSW, from the Swansea Foreshore
This is a small glimpse into what I captured today on a walk / drive along the foreshore at Swansea, (east Lake Macquarie). I've walked along here, picnicked here...you know how you just 'live' in a place, experience it every day and that in itself imprints on your memory... and you forget to capture it on film (or digital camera as the case may be in this day and age).

One of the things I promised myself before I leave here is to go to all my favourite spots and take photos so that I have a library on hand to remind me of the beauty of this place... and which may possibly feed into inspiration for design ideas down the track.

I'm loving the foliage on the tree (above) and think it could work its way into a fabric design one day. I think it's a She Oak and want to research this tree further, see what species this is in the Casuarinacaea family...

A glassy lake made for some great reflections...



There were ducks and pelicans swimming about... so serene... such a nice little outing this morning. You can see all the images I took this morning here.

Did you do anything nice today?