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…. 🙂
Its a froggy day…
having fun with bright watercolours and creating textile prints.
2016 marked the year of taking on a bachelor degree in Textile Design…
My design journey began when I went over to Swaziland for my experiential learning internship, at Coral Stephens Handweaving, in Piggs Peak. It was here that I was introduced to the loom and hand weaving techniques for the first time. 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 fibres – from cotton to raffia, silk to mohair, trying out various combinations and creating beautiful textile surfaces.
I wanted to stay true to the beauty of authentic handmade textiles and therefore began researching the meanings behind traditional techniques in Africa for my bachelor year.
The motivation to sit for hours and create handmade textiles is a foreign concept for the modern day textile designer. Patience, determination and skill are required in order to maintain the correct tension throughout the woven cloth. I therefore wanted to praise these handmade works and face the challenge of hand weaving wallhangings.
I selected a country that inspired me in this regard, namely Ghana whilst focusing specifically on their weaving and print techniques. Ghanaian textiles display a sense of cultural pride that produce cloth showcasing inner meaning and value. This is highlighted in their Adinkra Symbolism technique, where the symbols are indicative of the belief and value systems of the local people. If one were to visit Ghana, Adinkra is prominent through-out household items, clothing, buildings etc, but will rarely appear in trending fashion items worldwide. Therefore the symbols are only relevant to the Ghanaian culture, where they have incorporated an array of pictorial motifs identifying personal-life experiences.
This inspired me to further my design process in creating meaningful textile surfaces that can be showcased in contemporary household items/interiors. Each motif is unique and creates interest pertaining a unique life experience or lesson.
As my main interest lies in interpreting the ways of traditional hand weaving, I have found Ghana has produced this in the traditional textile cloth of the Kente. It is an integral part to West African culture. The renowned Kente cloth is produced by hand weaving strips on narrow small drag looms. These strips are sewn together and are distinctly recognized by the bright colour combinations, geometric pattern and in some cases Ghanaian symbolic motifs. This inspired me to weave and produce contemporary designs, which are vibrant and include geometric forms and authentic symbolic meanings that I have re-interpreted from Ghana’s traditional textile methods.
Below you will see the journey of my Btech year… I constructed my own wooden frame loom and hand wove 3 large scale wallhangings. Each wall hanging portrays a meaningful message that I took inspiration from traditional Adinkra Symbols which I re-designed and made contemporary.
Hope you enjoy 🙂
I was awarded first place in the Mohair South Africa (MSA) competition 2015. The requirements entailed designing 2 full outfits for both Male and Female all constructed from mohair cloth and yarn. My designs are inspired by the African country, Swaziland and contemporary line work. The colours are complementary and bold that showcase a clean new spring/summer look for 2016.
My garments were furthermore chosen to represent MSA in Donghua University, China 2016 at the MUD (Mohair University Design) competition as shown below: