Thursday, 15 March 2012

Surface Design, Snowboards & Thomas Campbell

I have just been made aware of the artwork of American artist and filmmaker Thomas Campbell from an article on Hand/Eye. The article in question is about The Art of Burton and discusses a current exhibition of snowboard artwork from Burton, including some of Campbell's artwork. The article reminded me that product areas such as this can be really exciting in terms of surface design, allowing great creativity and a different vehicle for expression of style and identity. So any surface design students reading this might like to expand their horizons beyond 'fashion or interiors'... there's so much more to design for!

So this turned me on to the artwork of Thomas Campbell, who creates (amongst other things) beautiful mixed media work combining graphic doodle-style illustration, screen print, stitch, etc. His work is really fresh and contemporary, and despite looking very laid back and loosely put together, is incredibly skillfully done. The colours are almost edible and his drawing and use of composition is stunning.

There is an excellent interview and portfolio availbale on Slap Magazine's website, which is much better than Thomas's website.

Monday, 28 February 2011

Embroidery Inspirations

Here are a few contemporary embroiderers you may not have come across... some things to inspire and enrich the embroiderers palette

Erin Endicott uses antique linens and adds walnut ink stains and stitches, creating connections through time with stitches and wound-like images.

Graduating from Glasgow in 2006 Susie Cowie now works as a freelance embroidery designer based in London. She works to commission and has completed some notable work for fashion and interior companies as well as pieces for films such as Bright Star. Her exquisite work has a unique and sensitive style with a nod to tradition but very much of the moment.

Ann Carrington is an artist and sculptor who subverts familiar imagary with punk style. The shimmering goldwork effect is actually created using pins and needles.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Clothkits Textile Design Competition

Clothkits have teamed up with Vintage at Goodwood for their next design competition. Create a vintage inspired surface pattern for Clothkits to print and see your creation come to life on the catwalk!
The brief:Grab the gouache, pen, pencils as to your wish, or fire up Photoshop and doodle away. Design a surface pattern that can then be applied to cloth through a printed medium. 
Creative freedom is encouraged around the brief of Future Vintage. The fabric design should be appropriate for women’s wear and be for a summer collection. Primarily it should embrace the ethos of both Clothkits and Vintage at Goodwood.
Want inspiration? There is no need to see the end shape of the garment, just the fabric design, but why not think 50s pinched waist dresses, 60s mod shifts or 70s flowing frocks. Clothkits will then take the design, print it and make it up into a summer dress.
The deadline for the competition is noon on Wednesday 14th July 2010. 

The winning entry will be notified by email by Monday 19th July 2010 and the garment will be on display at the Vintage at Goodwood festival from Friday 13th - Sunday 15th August 2010.

The competition is open to all from experienced designers to those with no prior background in textiles. Entries are encouraged from recent graduates, students and young aspiring designers.

Three finalists will be selected each winning a pair of tickets to the Vintage at Goodwood festival.

One overall winner’s design will be made up into a Vintage styled garment and exhibited on the Catwalk at Vintage at Goodwood.
For more information and to download a competition entry form,

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Summer Sketchbooks

Summer is the time for sketchbooks, travel journals, visiting exhibitions...

But how to get started on your sketchbook? Take a look at a few of my favourite handmade books, journals and altered books.

Su Blackwell - book sculptures:

Jessie Chorley - embroidered story books:

India Flint - handmade books using plant dyes (group workshop):

Julia Rothman - The "Forever" Sketchbook:

... Take a look at Julia's wonderful blog 'Book By It's Cover' for loads of the most beautiful sketchbooks, handmade books etc.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Degree show display ideas

Here are a few ideas around display...

fashion garments, fashion fabrics and accessories...
simply using hangers and chains in a layered effect...

frilly lingerie in a gold frame...

... illustration combined with knit samples...

... hanging rail for garments and accessories, suspended & decorated with ribbon...
...could be used for swatches on hangers...

... suspended garment... and plants

... draped fabrics suggest a fashion context...

interior designs, wallpapers and furnishings...

sequences of objects based on domestic subjects...

simple repetition...

Sunday, 25 April 2010


New Tigerprint competition 'Gifted' for 2009/2010 graduates:

Vintage Fair - Saltaire

I will be selling vintage textiles and some of my work at this fair. It is definitely worth a look if you are looking for vintage inspiration.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Colour Palettes

A couple of students have shown me a nice gadget on the web. Take a look at for some clever online applications including Toucan, a great little tool for creating colour palettes.

It's ideal for people who aren't that confident with putting colours together as you can use pre-designed rules for creating palettes of sympathetic colours. You can also import an image and use it to develop a colour palette. The results can be saved and/or printed for use in your projects. I recommend watching the video as there are lots of clever features you  need to know about.

I hope you enjoy playing with the rainbow!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Spring Design Competitions

(Beatrice Newman, 1st prize Hand & Lock student prize)

There are several textile design competitions with looming deadlines. It is well worth entering competitions to gain experience and recognition for your work, not to mention the prizes!

Bradford Textile Society

Hand & Lock Prize for Embroidery

Society of Dyers & Colourists

Sunday, 7 March 2010


Most of my students will know by now that I have a real passion for museums; just wind me up and off I go! The reason museums are so useful for designers is that they hold a wealth of amazing primary research material that you just cannot see anywhere else. The massive bonus for students is that there are loads of free museums and most of the rest offer discounts on admission with your student ID card.

I could have done a top 10, but instead I thought it would be more useful to give you a taster of different subjects; i.e. what you can find and where. Basically these are some of my favourite museums in the UK

Natural History: insects, shells, eggs, animals, birds, fish, minerals/geology
  • The Manchester Museum, Manchester (also includes Egyptology)
  • Cliffe Castle Museum, Keighley, West Yorkshire ( a brilliant small collection, with excellent archaeology, fossils and geology)
Historical costume/fashion & textiles
Other museums:
  • Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford  - ethnography (objects made and used by people around the world such as weapons, baskets and vessels, jewellery, masks, dance costumes...)
  • Hunterian Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons, London (preserved medical specimins of human and animal bodies, organs, tissue, disease, etc.)

My top tips for a good research day at a museum:
  1. Check opening days and times.
  2. Do your research beforehand - does the museum have what you want to look at? Is it something on permanent display or do you need to make an appointment to look at something from a reserve collection.
  3. If you want to look at something specific make sure it will be there. Sometimes museums may be doing conservation work and remove exhibits for cleaning, or loan them to another exhibition.
  4. Wear comfy clothes and shoes and remember you may need to check bulky bags etc into a cloakroom
  5. Find out if you can take photos, if you explain you are a student you may be asked to sign a special agreement to say the photos will only be for your own use.
  6. Take appropriate drawing materials; hard-backed sketchbook, pencils and/or drawing pens, pencil sharpener, coloured media. Some museums will not let you use wet or messy media or pens. Watercolour pencils are a good compromise as you can always draw with them at the museum and  then put a watery wash over when you get home.
  7. When drawing don't feel that you have to draw every aspect of an object - what is it that you want to capture about the exhibit? The shape of an animal, the construction process of a woven basket, the colours in mineral specimins...
  8. Make good notes to go with your drawings - what is the name of the exhibit you were drawing? when and where does it come from? Also make written notes about aspects such as construction, texture, colour, size, etc.
  9. Allow yourself time to look around and then focus on a few items to draw. Take time with your sketches, really study the exhibit. Remember that you should spend more time looking at the exhibit than at your sketchbook page.
  10. Have fun and become engrossed - museums are amazing places!