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Current Research and Studio Production-Part 2

Updated: Nov 22, 2020

Following my first research blog introducing my ideas and my studio samples. I wanted to continue by posting a bit about my inspiration and my continued research that's important in producing my final thesis project.


Before the start of the school year, I knew I wanted to work with wedding gowns, I just didn't have a fully developed concept in my mind. Although I'm still building on my concept every day, there were visual images that I take great inspiration from on a daily basis.

The first, the "Deep V-neck Embroidered Velvet Gown" by Alexander McQueen. This $8904.00 dollar gown indulges in folklore fantasy bringing a visual tale to life using fashion and thread and has got to be one of the most influential gowns in my life. I think what attracts me the most is that it tells a story without saying one word and the colour is so pure and rich that you can't help but indulge in its glorious nature. I got a lot of my inspiration from this gown and still do!

1.1 Alexander McQueen "Deep V-Neck Embroidered Velvet Gown"

The second, multiple images found and gathered on Pinterest. I have many other influential visuals that really indulge my love of fashion, invigorate my surface designs, or feed my soul to feel inspired to create. These images are by far my favourite. They include designs by William Morris, Versace, embroidery artists, pieces from museums, Haute Couture runways, etc.

1.2 These photos inspire me every time I see them. I created a Pinterest board that contains all of these photos.

Inspirational Books for Research:

Although these are some of my inspirational photos, I want to create a surface design that invokes both Celtic and Scandinavian heritage using known design and imagery from both cultures. When it was time for me to start creating or even developing surface designs for my thesis, I wanted to incorporate both while keeping my own drawing style. I first looked up different kinds of imagery and various books to find what I was looking for. I originally looked into Celtic and Nordic storytelling books that were illustrated, but I realized that I was trying to create my own story and really just needed inspiration from imagery, not an actual story being told. So I looked further and found 3 books I saw fit to help me achieve what I wanted.

1. "Great Book of Celtic Patterns: The Ultimate Design Sourcebook for Artists and Crafters"- by Lora S. Irish

2. "Imagine A Forest-Designs and Inspirations for Enchanting Folk Art"- by Dinara Mirtalipova

3. "Scandinavian Embroidery, Past and Present"- by Edith Nielsen

1.3 1.4 1.5

Each of these books will help me further my surface design development for my final idea. However, I also needed to do some research based on specific imagery as well. I wanted to break it down into 2 categories, Celtic and Scandinavian.

Inspirational Imagery for Research:

I wanted to start by looking into Celtic knots and decided to do a side research post about them and their relation to my linage. I break down the meaning of each Celtic knot and go fully in-depth here:

But for collected purposes, I'll be showing the photo of each Celtic knot that represents me and my project well. They are:

1.The Celtic Tree of Life

2. The Triquetra / Trinity Knot

3. The Claddagh ring

4. Serch Bythol

*These images are cited on my blog post about lineage below

The next thing I wanted to do was look up animals, botanicals, and other symbols that were native and important to Ireland, Scotland, England, and Denmark. I realized that there were going to be animals that I liked and animals I didn't, the same would go for botanicals. I created a chart that sorted the different botanicals and animals from each place and laid them out in one congregated page. I wanted to highlight what I enjoyed the most because I didn't want to use every single thing listed. I also wanted to highlight similar things from each country.

I really liked the botanicals and animals that came out of my research. Although I won't use all of them, I'll be using similar imagery found in each country like the red squirrel, the hare, the primrose flower, etc. Then I'll add imagery that is symbolic to each country like the shamrock, the mute swan, etc.

Side Note:

I decided to do some google searching and came across something that I felt was great significance to my work- the Celtic Zodiac sign. The Celtic Zodiac signs aren't as accurate or well known as other signs used more frequently, but it was a great surprise to realize that my Celtic Zodiac sign was the "Cat". According to my sign, the cat is known to be artistic, creative, and intelligent. They're gifted with intuition and innovative insight but can also be mischievous. They are independent and have a great sense of humor.

1.6 The cat as the Celtic symbol - symbolic for me and my partner

The one thing that really made this zodiac sign stand out was the dates -January 21st-February 17th and its relation to me. My partner's birthday is on February 5th while my birthday is on February 12th. Our Anniversary lands on February 7th and on top of that, not only do we have a cat, but we have 2-siblings from the same litter. I thought that this Celtic sign was almost meant to be and has become something I feel is necessary to incorporate into my design. I also enjoyed that the UK is also home to the Scottish wildcat which looks very similar to the large domestic tabby cat.

1.7 The last Native cat species in the UK. 1.8 The coat differences between the

Scottish Wildcat and the Domestic Tabby cat

Current Outcomes and Reflections

Illustrating and Drawing :

When I start drawing for any surface design, I usually start by drawing anything to get into the rhythm of illustrating. Once I'm concentrated, I usually like to draw 10-15 different sketches at a time, ranging in size and detail. The videos below are the time-lapse's I created showing my sketch work in the studio.

At work drawing using the time-lapse video option

Some finished drawings to be used for further research

I know that I have some work ahead of me when it comes to finalizing and developing a fully finished design. Even though I don't have anything solid right now, this is a great start.

Screen Printing Continued:

After my previous blog post showing the process of pot dyeing fabric, I wanted to do the same by showing the process of screen printing with devore. Devore is the effect of "burning out" a layer of fabric leaving only a thin layer of fabric left. This creates a lace-like effect that looks absolutely stunning. When I started sampling I was lucky enough to have made a screen up the previous school year before COVID-19. It's similar to that of my current drawing style and I wanted to show floral detail, so I thought this print was rather appropriate. The video below is the process of Devore printing using screens and the different aspects of the technique. This video is intended to show individuals how this process works if they've never seen it done before.

My personal video showing the steps to screenprint with Devore.

The process of screen printing in a personal time-lapse video

The finished product of 4 different Devore samples that got tested on multiple fabrics. They all worked well in their own way.

One thing I enjoy about screen printing is that it's a very interactive and tactile process. It can take a long time to produce something depending on your pattern and surface design, but the final result can be absolutely outstanding. Now, with Photoshop and Illustrator so readily available, a lot of artists are working digitally because it saves a lot of money and gives you cleaner prints depending on what you're creating. I will be using digital aspects to create my final surface design but I want to bring in that element of hand-made by screen printing by hand. Many textile designers have created their designs by hand for centuries and they've turned out beautiful. I want to be able to do the same with my work.

The last thing I wanted to show was a concept drawing for my final dress. This isn't final but I have fallen in love with the look of this design and feel it's a strong enough sketch that it would make a statement when finished.

My Concept drawing for my final thesis project

Next Steps

  • I need to try some dresses in a bridal shop to make sure the dress I'm making really does suit my body type.

  • I need to start developing a dress pattern whether from scratch or from another pattern by manipulating them, to work with my design ideas. I will also be getting inspiration and instruction from a couple of pattern drafting books and YouTube videos.

  • I will be continuing my research in Devore by starting to print on sewn pieces and sew pieces together to line them up-I need to see what technique will work best for my final piece.

  • I need to finalize some drawings and start creating the final surface design that will be printed onto my final fabric pattern

As always,


Sources Cited

Picture 1.1- MatchesFashion. "Alexander McQueen: Deep V-Neck embroidered velvet gown".

Picture 1.6- Building Beautiful souls. "Celtic Zodiac".

Pictures in 1.2- Wedding Dress Design Inspiration.

Pictures 1.3 to1.5- Amazon Books. n

Pictures 1.7 & 1.8- National Museums Scotland. "Scottish Wildcat".'s%20last%20native%20cat%20species.,-Although%20closely%20related&text=4%2C000%20years%20ago.-,Wildcats%20are%20longer%20legged%2C%20more%20robust%20and%20about%2025%25%20bigger,blunt%2C%20black%2Dtipped%20tail.

*Any photos and videos in this post not tagged or designated in other blog posts are my own personal property.

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