Assignment Two (Option 2): Research Point 2.1: (Highlights)

I have a large research folder, far too large to share here.  Thus I have chosen only a few highlights:

Research point 2.1

To begin this research point, I would like to delve into my past exhibition visits.  A few of them are directly related to this subject, so feel it would be helpful to review at this point.

New Designers comes top of the pile.  I have notes from previous years (2014, 2016)

I remember that many students exhibited small samples, each with maybe one section of embellishment, thus fits well.  Obviously many looked at repeat pattern too.

2014 New Designers

Here are a few highlights….

This is a direct print, which has been embellished with sequins.  The sequins are colour matched to tie in with the background print colour.



Repeat pattern’s influenced by the embroidered piece in the hoop above…

I find events like this one most informative, as it really showcases the sketch to idea completion.  The designs for this coat were printed and sketched out on the walls beside the finished piece.  Thus all mysteries behind the inspiration etc were solved.

w1.jpg  I loved getting up close to details on the designers work, such as this. 

a00.jpg Visualisation is key here.  The artists want possible buyers to see what finished products will look like.  The embellishment on the chair may not be practical, due to the use of the object.  Yet the fabric could be printed without this digitally.  I love the spaces of white, in contrast with bright colour.

a0.jpg This image shows a key feature of many of the artists here, their presentation.  Money has gone into producing quality materials to promote their work.  This image ties in with the chair previously, as it is the work of this girl.

Above:  A wide variety of styles in embellishment.  I like the one directly above, where the artist has chosen to display her concepts and features of how she came to the design itself.  The key notes of sequins to highlight areas, actually stand out beautifully.  Sketchbook work is obviously vital too.  Being able to see inside other artists sketchbooks really was inspiring.

Use of small and large scale is another aspect.  We need to be able to visualise this for our own pieces and not just work within our comfort zones.

Now that I have begun to look at helpful resources within this research point, I am at the same time gathering ideas for myself.  So far from the New Designers visits, I have filed the following information in my head:

          Don’t create contrived print/embellished pieces.  Go with the print when deciding on further action.  I don’t want pieces which look “stuck on” and out of place.

          Embellishment can be taken many different ways.  Some artists choose to create something around their piece, like a frame.  Could this be classed as embellished?

          Display is key

          Fabric choice as in background fabric, what you print on, can have much meaning.  Weather this is a personal item you are printing on, or rather a glittery piece of fabric. 

          Think about the meaning behind your print and use this to decide of what you use on it or the way you develop it.

I have many Business cards and information surrounding the New Designers.  I have decided to accumulate all of this and manually annotate any pages or information within the course prospectuses and business cards which I feel helpful to my own practice. You will find this in physical form outside of this Log Book.

Other artists who had embellishment as a key feature:

Betsy Staab

I was particularly taken to this student, seeing her figurative cushions at the new designers in 2016.  However at the time I didn’t understand her concept, as it was not explained.  Her university website tells us more, explaining that her inspiration was looking back on her childhood. So the figures printed on the cushions, were actually meant to be her when younger.

Although there is not a wealth of information on her work, I have found some insightful images, showcasing points, such as her mood boards and sketches….

b1.jpgMixed media sketch.  Use of collage paper and other materials, like I myself have experimented with in the past.  Her influences are clearly seen on mood boards, created and showcased on her website.  The almost folk or infantile stitching in areas to create embellishment on the surface of her screen prints, ties in well with the mood and theme, that of child like colours and items:

The colours which you see on the playground are the same which we see printed on the scarves.  But there is more to the image we see.  Note the models dress, with the pattern seen of the little girl, screen printed on with the hand embroidered embellishments.  This is a clever move, as the artist has gained inspiration from the child like setting in order to create the dress print, and photographed it on “location” as it were. Photography which relates directly to the inspiration source, helps to tell the story as it were.

I like the boards she has created, they have no text, but visually explain her sources.  This lack of writing, actually is more bold, as we have to reply on the images to tell us what it’s about.

What can I learn from her work?


–          On site photography is a clever form of telling the story.

–          Fashion images with our products are really effective.

Making sample pieces to show how our work can become practical really help, such as the cushion from the screen printed fabric.  She hasn’t made up lots of cushions, just a few to showcase what could be done.  This is cost effective when starting out.  I imagine that this is the way I would have to work too.

Hand and Lock 

Their focus is heavily on the embroidery and embellishment side of things.  Not always related to digital prints or fabric printing, but worthy to look at for the quality of embroidery and finishing.  They run a competition each year for those exceptional at embroidery.  Here are a few entries:



Okay, so the above images are not related to print; yet they are a great showcase of embroidery on fabric.  I may wish to heavily embellish my print samples and can take inspiration from these pieces.  I love the selection process, how each piece has not been overworked.  Notice the green piece a few images above, only one area has been highlighted to embroider.

So really, in the case of Hand and Lock, it is the embellishment I can learn from.  I may want to refer back to their style of working in the future. 

Karen Nicol


This artist / designer has worked in mixed media and print, along with textiles.  The piece above has been screen printed and embroidered.  The work is extensive and is often used for major fashion houses, such as Chanel.   I have her book “Embellished “.  It doesn’t have pages and pages of writing, but rather divides the pages into technique types, which really helps, when wanting to know about a certain course of action to take.

Why is her work helpful to my own practice?

–          Working so much in actual design, she gives me great insight into that side of things, not just the finished creation.

–          Her work is extremely “well done”.  What I mean by that, is that it is Royal School of Needlework standard.  It is neat, not a thread out of place.  I remember my old embroidery teacher telling me that before I could be messy, I had to learn how to do each technique, each stitch well.  I didn’t understand this, until a few years later, when I began teaching the same subjects as I had been taught.  In other words, messy has to be planned, not a result of not being able to do the thing right in the first place.

–          Each piece has much time taken into it.  Thus it is not a case of rattling off a volume of work.  I would be happier with one thing done well.  This is especially to be taken into consideration with digital printing onto fabric.  No need to carry lots of pieces forward; just a few good ones which can be repeated time and time again.

–          As you will see below, she doesn’t stop at fabric, but mixed media, such as vintage newspapers are often prevalent.  This adds character, maybe even personalisation….could the year or subject become part of the piece?

–          Within this section I am asked to look at how to embellish prints.  She is a key artist to keep looking at with this in mind.  Notice how she “embellished” paper, thus showing that prints can be played around with too.

–          She classes herself as’ A mixed media textile and embroidery designer and artist with a London based studio. Working in art, fashion and interiors.’

In the above two examples, you see how she uses unusual backgrounds, such as letters and newspaper cuttings to embellish and create floral stitchery.  This is something I want to take on board, the idea of thinking about not only the subject matter, but the surface on which to embellish.

Her work could be copied and pasted in extensively.  However there are a few key concepts which I already used within my work, which creates a tie between our work styles….namely….

          Mixed media in its general form

          Patching old to create new (see previous page)

          Using paper in vintage styles along with embroidery and other found items to make up one piece.

I would like to continue with these methods, while learning better ways to use them.

One new thing I could learn from her, is how she uses ribbon to create “paint strokes”.  As seen in the case of her flower work.  Maybe I can use this as a trial at some point, as I do often use paint and drawing in my work, thus this will merge nicely.

She is an artist who I truly love to delve into.  Thus she may appear at times within this course.

 In order to create more concise blog entries, I will leave my showcase of research there.  More may be found within my physical body of work etc.



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