I went through a phase of experimenting and painting animals in watercolour… A medium that I have grown to really love and appreciate.
During the December holidays of 2014/2015 I went over to Swaziland for my experiential learning internship. I interned at a well established mohair studio: Coral Stephens Handweaving (www.coralstephens.com) that has been around since 1949. It is based in a rural village, Piggs Peak.
It was here that I was introduced to the loom and hand weaving techniques for the first time, as well as many other textile applications. The concept of weaving on a loom was the most exciting textile exploration concept, which I couldn’t wait to encounter.
As the days went I would spend hours– mixing fibers – from cotton to raffia, silk to mohair, trying out various combinations and creating beautiful textile surfaces. While noticing through the process that the easiest loom technique is a stripe formation.
I put together various sample pieces, which were then manufactured into children’s blankets and shawls. The pictures below show the connections I had with the local weavers.. It was a friendly environment to work in and were delighted to teach me there traditional skills on the loom.
It too was a great turning point in my textile vision – as I noticed how much time and effort is put into creating beautiful handmade creations. A review on my internship from Murrae Stephens (Coral Stephens owner) is highlighted in the image below.
Brief: To screenprint a bed-ware set for a specific target market of personal choice…
I based my thoughts on balancing two elements – line in the screen print and texture by overlaying with hand embroidery techniques. These two components formulated a simplistic but effective challenge in balancing out linework. Therefore the goal was to accomplish the balance of busy vs simplistic. The homeware range is targeted at an individual I call the ‘Ethnic beacher’, relaxed back style/ carefree / no frills-no-fuss / simplicity is key…
Being a designer that explores nature for inspiration, I was drawn to the beach shoreline and was intrigued with my findings for the “weird nature” subcategory. At first I thought my finding was the most interesting shell that had washed up, but researching the organism later on that afternoon I found it was a chiton, Mollusk; a prehistoric organism, normally found on the banks of North Western American coastline. There are about 750 different types of mollusk species still in existence today. Chitons have a protective shell known as the “Knights Gauntlet” which has 8 overlapping plates used for protection. All mollusks have an interesting detail on the surface of their shell making each unique and inspiring to capsulize interesting designs.
origami inspired design inspiration was taken from the chiton – surface of the triangular shell shapes as well as the body of the shell the sketch my weird nature final design concept steps i followed:
i cut +- 100 triangles at 16cm/12cm these triangles then got interfaced and ironed into there shape by overlapping I then sewed each triangle in its place on half front and half back of the skirt base. The one side of the skirt base I cut away on the side seam – to create a triangular shape finish
the other half of the skirt is the shell inspired design. I designed the pattern to have an asymmetrical flow so that it encapsulates and shells the one half of the body. I wanted to resemble the one side of the skirt as a textured surface. something beautiful to look at. and the other half as a protection against the outer world. the pattern for these layers are attached to a C/F seam and a C/B seam line. An open ended zip is used for closure on C/B a double W/B is attached with button for closure.
My accessory design I decided on rapping rope around a cone and constructed a hat and neck piece as seen below – sorry the runway shot is not so clear…. 🙂