Design Procrastination and the Sketchbook
I’ve been spending the first week of my vacation in design mode. This, for me, is both exhilarating AND frustrating. I seem to spend alot of my time procastinating doing other things such as housework and knitting which appears like avoidance strategies but it is an insight time too. Sleeping after thinking and analysing is also helpful along with the brain explosions I have under a hot shower.
Currently a discussion on the Online Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers is focused on the idea of sketchbooks for textile creators. Apparently some courses value these idea books so highly that no textile can be created for assessment without them. I think when you are studying a subject teachers are very aware of proving competency now and unfortunately our ways of doing this can seem contrived and too structured. However, keeping a sketchbook tracks our thinking and concerns at the time of design development. I write down quotes I come across during the day, books that I might like to read, references to current affairs and rough sketches of a fabric or dress design I have seen, even recipies. I once did a little page on cellular biology- not my topic at all – but it was the flavour of the day allowing me to think that everything can change even cells.
My ‘sketchbooks’ or design papers are NOT beautiful creations, they are quite messy and disorganised even though I’m generally a tidy person. I would love to have beautiful design books but that is another art or practice in itself. I have a combination of weaving notes and samples in individual plastic sleeves which I have started to reference to filenames for my weaving files and now photoshop files on my computer. Sometimes if the samples are scarce I take a photo of the finished textile and use this as my ‘sample’.
Textile design books are an account of our thinking process. We all start somewhere even if its a page number in a book to a weaving structure we are going to use. Just start with a date, a yarn, a structure, a colour….that’s an idea.
|The sample where it all starts. Passionflower series. I want a supplementary warp patterning at the sides and a broken twill ikat dyed pattern in the main.|
|Mapping out the ikat patterning|
|Getting ideas from a photo and using Photoshop. Here I indexed the colours and used swatches to experiment with different colourways.||Here I experimented with the last photo and drew up a warp ikat colouring idea.I started developing the plan in Fiberworks based on the original sample but improving the warp patterning.|
|Taking the idea to paper and pencil. This is easier to get a feel for the whole thing and a really enjoyable way to experiment.||Back in Fiberworks again after being influenced by my books on Indonesian textiles, I decided I wanted a fancy twill patterning in the main field of the textile, surrounded by warp ikat stripes and the supplementary warp edges. So I end up with 4 shafts for plain weave, 8 shafts for twill patterning, 8 shafts for supplementary warp and 4 shafts for the broken twill. It’s an idea.|