Personal Critique of Textile Degree Shows 2017

Personal Critique of Textile Degree Shows 2017

Name of Degree Show student: Georgia Reece
Critique /comment on the development of ideas and concepts in this work:
The link between the bleeding colours in the background with the flowing lines layered on top works really well. I think the idea of combining man and nature is clever, and has been presented well in the textile pieces. You can see that the process of doing drawings based on minerals and the built environment has developed into a successful collection of final pieces.

How successfully are the materials and techniques used to convey the concepts?
The merging colours used represent the idea of nature and minerals well. It reminds me of the sea, especially with the silver lines on top, like waves. The silver in the lines could also link to the idea of the built environment, eg: big steel structures in cities. The background is soft and flowing like nature, whereas the lines on top are clear and precise like man made objects.

What is it about this exhibition that most impresses you?
The overall look of the collection is extremely professional and it all links together well. It stands out for me in terms of style, I love the colours and all of the samples are beautiful. I found this exhibition really inspiring and hope that I can achieve something as successful as this!

Briefly evaluate the presentation style of the work:
The work was presented really neatly and it draws you in to get close and look at the detail in the pieces. The variety of pieces to look at made it interesting.


Name of Degree Show student: Melissa Macdonald
Critique/ comment on the development of ideas and concepts in this work:
The collection reflects the concept of well being and is lovely as a group of work. The colours represent calmness and work well together to reflect the concept. I think the variety of different pieces like including ceramics really provides the feel of a cohesive home wear collection. It shows the possibilities for uses of the surface pattern designs.

How successfully are the materials and techniques used to convey the concepts?
The colours and use of shapes reflect the inspiration of Kew Gardens well. The patterns look lovely together as a collection and are aesthetically pleasing. The natural forms in the designs reflect the idea of well being described in the concept.

What is it about this exhibition that most impresses you?
The collection as a whole is wonderful together, with so many different products you get a great sense of how it would feel to be in a home environment with the designs in. I think the overall look of it is extremely professional and all of the designs are lovely. I really love the addition of the ceramics!

Briefly evaluate the presentation style of the work:
The work has been presented in a professional way and works really well as a collection. It creates an atmosphere of being in the home, you can visualise how the pieces would look in a real life home environment.


How do you perceive the shows, generally?
I found the show really inspiring to see. All of the work is so unique and professional, I can’t wait to be at the same stage in my 3rd year. It was really enjoyable to walk around and see everything.

List 3 key things you have learnt from what you have seen overall?
1. A fully developed and explored concept can produce amazing results.
2. Creating a collection with a whole variety of products like wallpaper, chairs, cushions, ceramics, stationery etc can really show off a successful design idea.
3. There are endless possibilities of what you can create for textiles, with so many different inspirations and products to look for.

Digital Project – Final Outcomes

This project has shown me the process of how to create a moodboard and colour board based on a specific theme, and then creating digital designs based on these images as inspiration.

I have found this project very useful as I have gained so many new skills. I have learnt to carefully consider a theme and create an appropriate colour palette for it. I have experimented with various designs and colour options to create final pieces that reflect my theme in the best way possible.

This project has hugely improved my Photoshop skills and introduced me to Illustrator, which I have enjoyed using. Although it was challenging at stages these programmes were really worth learning how to use, and I will use them for my work in the future. Now I have got the hang of the main tools on each programme I feel confident to produce more successful digital work for other projects.

I think my final 6 designs work well as a group and fit in with the ‘Scanned Memory’ theme. I did find that the colours vary slightly from what they were on my laptop to what they look like printed. I have used repeat patterns and placements which I think works well to create some variety in the designs. This project has been really valuable and I can’t wait to learn more on Photoshop and Illustrator!

Artboards in Illustrator

Today I discovered how using artboards in Illustrator can be a great way to create lots of versions of a design and compare them. To get artboards create a new document and ensure you select how many artboards you want before you close the window.

Today I used artboards to create lots of versions of a leaf design I had drawn. I found this incredibly useful as I could easily compare each one and see which design was most successful out of the bunch. Artboards are useful to show the process you have worked through to come to your final design. In my artboards I had a variety of colours, scales and arrangements of the same motif. This technique enabled me to create lots of designs fast just by changing a few aspects each time.

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This technique will be useful when I have potential final designs and I need to put them together to see what works best as a group.

Making Patterns in Illustrator

Today I used my scanned drawings to create patterns in Illustrator.

First I opened a new document with my scanned image pasted onto it. By using the ‘Image Trace’ tool you can remove the background and enhance the lines of your drawing. Once you have done this click ‘Expand’ which is in the top toolbar.

Next I opened a new document and pasted the new version of the drawing into it. By playing around with scales and angles using the transform tool, and changing the colour using the fill tool you can create something that is quite different to the original drawing. Another interesting technique is to layer up line drawings and play around with the opacity of each layer.

Once you create an arrangement you are happy with, select ‘Object > Pattern > Make’. This will open up options of the type of pattern arrangement you want (grid, half drop etc) and once this is up you are able to add/remove parts and move things around until you create a pattern you are happy with.

These tools are extremely useful to create a seamless pattern that looks professional. It enables you to experiment with different arrangements and colours until it looks perfect.

Photoshop – Filling a Shape With an Image

Today I was playing around on Photoshop and was trying to think of a way to add a new element to my designs. When I was generating imagery to scan into the computer, I did a few watercolour textures using my colour palette. I thought it would be interesting to see if I could fill a shape I had drawn on Photoshop with a watercolour texture rather than a solid colour. This would add some interest and depth to my designs.

After looking online I found the best method to do this.

Step 1: Use the magic wand tool to select the inside of the shape and fill with solid black.

Step 2: Paste the image of a watercolour texture onto the same document.

Step 3: Make sure the layer of the watercolour texture is ABOVE the layer for the black shape. Right click on the watercolour texture layer and select ‘Create Clipping Mask’. This will fill only the inside of the black shape with the watercolour texture.

Step 4: Use the Transform tool (Ctrl/Cmd T) to move around the watercolour texture until the placement is correct. Then merge the two layers together.

Constellation Summative Reflection

Constellation has enabled me to learn about topics outside of my discipline. This has widened my knowledge and what I have learnt can be applied to my subject. I have found it really interesting and useful to learn about new subjects and writing the essay has improved my writing skills. I have learned how to efficiently find books and reference them correctly in my writing which is an important skill to have.

For my formative essay, I was in the Body in Art & Design study group. I found the group challenging but extremely engaging and interesting. In comparison to this term, I think I could’ve started my formative essay a lot earlier and it would have been an easier process for me. I didn’t go to the library soon enough so I had to collect most of my theory in a big chunk, rather than doing a little bit each day to build up a body of research for my essay. Initially I found writing the essay quite daunting because I hadn’t written an essay in quite a while. I found that when I was writing my essay I sometimes found it hard to word certain sentences in a way that was suitable for an essay format. Eventually I got into it and found that I was on track to be over the word count by quite a lot. I decided the best method to get around this was to write everything that I wanted to say, then carefully read through it discarding parts that weren’t as relevant to the essay. I successfully got the word count down and had the essay up to my best standards by the deadline.

I have focused on the feedback I received for my formative essay to try and avoid the same mistakes for my summative essay. In my formative essay, I personalised some sentences with ‘we’ rather than sticking to the 3rd person. For this essay, I have tried to get out of this habit and stay with using the 3rd person. At certain points in my last essay I didn’t fully analyse some of the points I was making, so I have aimed to make all of my main points clear in my summative essay.

My study group for this term was based on Subcultures. I found this study group really enjoyable to attend. The lectures were interesting and covered a different topic each week. I found the way we analysed images as a class using the columns technique extremely helpful. I used this method for the images I chose to write about in my summative essay. This study group also made me feel confident in referencing and paraphrasing correctly as we practised it each week. This was helpful as when I came to writing my essay I knew exactly what I needed to do. At the end of each session we considered how what we had learnt about subcultures could be applied to our subject. This has helped me consider how what I learn in my Constellation sessions can be applied to my textiles work.

All of the subcultures we looked at went against the mainstream in some form, whether it be goths wearing black lipstick and white foundation or the punks dyeing their hair green and spiking it up. Having a huge list of examples like this shows me that taking risks can start new trends. These subcultures proved that mainstream fashion and beauty rules can be changed. I can consider these ideas in terms of textiles, being more experimental and taking risks will enable me to create more exciting work.

Another similarity in the subcultures we looked at was that they took a lot of their ideas from the past or something that already existed, but modified it to make it unique to them. An example of this would be punks using safety pins as jewellery and Teddy Boys taking the Edwardian suit and making it into a new style. Clarke, Hall and Jefferson (1975) referred to this as ‘re-signification’, and I can see how this theory can be applied to my artwork. They took certain parts of something and combined it with new ideas to create something that hadn’t been done before. This shows me the value in looking to the past to find inspiration. You can take inspiration from the past but modify it to create a new style, and I can apply this to my work in textiles. This could be in terms of materials and techniques used or looking to trends from the past and re-vamping them.

My favourite subculture to learn about in this study group was the punks. I found the way they used their style to draw attention to themselves and cause people to question society thought provoking. The punks are a perfect example of going against the mainstream and rebelling against the rules. They used their style to express their feelings on society at the time. I can use my textiles work as a tool to express my thoughts on current events and gain attention by being more experimental.

Constellation has given me a whole new area of inspiration, the thoughts put forward in the sessions provoke new ideas that can be applied to my practice. The keynotes are great to have a bitesize view into another subject. I particularly enjoyed the keynote on 60s Psychedelia which discussed Art Nouveau. The keynote looked at a variety of different artists including William Morris. We were also shown psychedelic posters from the 60’s which I found really interesting. Widening my knowledge with these extra subjects will be useful in the future. They might fit in perfectly with a brief or theme that I am set and I will already have some ideas based on that subject because of constellation.

Colour in Design

In this session Lucy talked to us about the importance of colour in design work. When designing, you need to consider: materials used, production process, surface patterns and colour. In a shop, you have 3 seconds to gain a customer’s attention, then 30 seconds to keep their attention. Colour is important to gain the customer’s attention!

When choosing a colour palette consider: the aesthetics of the collection, the intended season and the sensation you want to create for the customer.

HUE – What colour something is.

CHROMA – Purity or intensity of colour.

SATURATION – The strength or weakness of a hue.

VALUE – How light or dark a colour is.

TONE –  Adding grey to a pure hue.

SHADE – Adding black to a pure hue.

TINT – Adding white to a pure hue.


Different colours can portray different themes. For example:

Blue – calm, sad, responsible

Green – nature, harmony, peaceful

Orange – energy, happy, creative

Yellow – cheery, optimistic, joy

White – purity, cleanliness, virtue

So, if you are given a brief from a brand, first you must consider the brands personality and then consider your colours.

Colours can have completely different meanings to everyone (eg. red: love or anger) so this must be considered especially for a global market.


MONOCHROMATIC – Single base hue with added tints or tones.

ANALOGOUS – Groups of 3 colours that are next to eachother on the colour wheel.

COMPLEMENTARY – Colours on opposite sides of the colour wheel.

SPLIT COMPLEMENTARY – Using the two colours either side of the complementary colour on the wheel.

TRIADIC – Using every fourth colour on the colour wheel.


When creating artwork on Photoshop or Illustrator ensure your colours are set to:

-RGB if your artwork is going to be viewed on a screen

-CMYK or PANTONE if your artwork is going to be printed

To view the PANTONE colours open the swatch library, select ‘colour books’ and then ‘PANTONE SOLID’