Friday, 26 November 2010

The thought process since yesterday

Friday 26th November 2010

I have been thinking and researching, this afternoon, I wish to experiment with the various methods of applying a pattern to a surface; trying out as many as possible.

Methods that I definitely wish to attempt are – painting/stencilling onto fabric, appliqué, possibly collage, and I may (if there is time) try to draw out the design onto squared paper and try doing cross-stitched and knitted versions. As there is limited time, for this module, I may need to use the wallpaper design from the Experimentation and Feasibility module (with modifications) to facilitate progress.

So, more thinking is required… nothing new there then!

This was the original design, in its simplest form, so I will start by placing a grid over it (in Photoshop) and putting a spot of colour into each square and see where that leads...

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Post meeting update

Thursday 25th November 2010

The team meeting on Monday went well, I think. It was interesting to catch up with everybody and hear/see what they are looking at in their research. The others are all looking at lighting – Emma is looking at designing a wallcovering that includes a projected image, Mike is planning to design a club interior based upon light shining through ice and Phebe is looking at architecture that uses shadow and light as part of the design of the building. These are all really interesting topics with masses of potential. I mentioned Mary Temple’s installation featuring the painted ‘light through the window’ to Phebe because it could be useful as part of her research. (I have also, since, suggested to Mike that he should look at light shining through the facets of diamonds – as they are sometimes known as ice!)
I discussed my research into the history of applying pattern to walls, and different methods of applying patterns to surfaces.
At the end of the meeting Mike had set up a group named ‘Applications’ on Facebook, for the use of our team, which will be handy for communicating with each other.
Whilst continuing with my research I also need to start experimenting. I am considering designing a fabric wallcovering, for restaurants, that will possibly have an element of 3d and will also prevent sound from bouncing around on lots of hard surface.
So, thinking cap on!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

The British Design Awards 2010

Sunday 21st November 2010

Well, unfortunately we didn’t manage to have a team meeting at all last week, everybody has commitments and there wasn’t an opportunity for all of us to meet up.

In the meantime I am slowly continuing with my research into the history of surface pattern design and have also started researching current designs – patterns that are being applied to different surfaces, different methods of applying patterns to surfaces etc. I have started with British Design Awards 2010 shortlist of entrants for the Best British Pattern 2010. This was an interesting exercise which I enjoyed…

The British Design Awards 2010

‘The British Design Awards 2010 are brought to you by ELLE Decoration in association with Casa Couture, the new luxurious homeware brand exclusively at House of Fraser, genius wallpaper company Graham & Brown and the kings of stylish fireplaces, Charnwood. Now in their ninth year the BDAs recognise beautiful, useful and original new work created by British designers for UK and international brands in the past year.’
ELLE Decoration, No. 218, Hachette Filipacchi (UK) Ltd, October 2010, page 137

The Shortlist: Best British Pattern 2010

1. ‘Roseflower’ wallpaper by Camilla Meijer

‘Fusty florals step aside: Camilla Meijer has shaken up the popular wallpaper pattern with her bold and brave design. Along with the delicately embossed fleece finish, the intricate digital print makes the giant blooms jump off the wall. The four colour ways, ranging from Lemon yellow, mustard with wheat to Apple greens, cast the English rose in a new light. £240 per 10 metre roll.’ ELLE Decoration, No. 218, October 2010, page 143

2. ‘Prunus’ Wallpaper by Fromental
‘More classically oriental in composition than the abstract Cherry and Plum Blossom designs, this is the richest of the blossom patterns. The trees are first painted in freehand, calligraphy style. Further details are added in metallic accent colours, with touches of embroidery added.’
'An opulent oriental design featuring a beautifully tactile mix of materials, this paper is handmade by London company Fromental. Its branch and blossom pattern is first painted freehand onto paper-backed silk, before metallic accents and hand embroidery are added. An investments buy to treasure. £340 per square metre' ELLE Decoration, No. 218, October 2010, page 143

3. ‘Screwed Up’ wallpaper by Erika Wakerly

‘This clever idea sees crumpled paper turned into a striking abstract design. ‘It’s a strong, raw texture - even though the surface is flat, it has a 3D effect,’ says Erika. Think of it as an ultra-modern take on trompe l’œil. £69 per 10 metre roll.’ ELLE Decoration, No. 218, October 2010, page 143

4. ‘Honesty’ rug designed by Mary White and sold by John Lewis

‘Hand-tufted rug, made from high-quality Indian highland wool.
It features an original 1950s design, sourced from the extensive John Lewis textile archives. Black leaf and tree outlines contrast with playful shapes in charcoal, grey zesty yellow against a pale neutral background.
‘Honesty’ was originally called ‘Coppice’ and printed in 1953, and designed by renowned textile designer Mary White, whose works were typically floral-based.’ consulted on 17/11/10

‘Reprinted from a 1953 design by Mary White, this pretty rug by Surrey company Hill & Co Rugs taps into the current trend for all things mid-century modern. The pale yellow and grey colour way makes it perfect for contemporary interiors. £450’ ELLE Decoration, No. 218, October 2010, page 143

Mary White (born in Margate, Kent in 1930) trained as a textile designer and studied textile design at the Thanet School of Art and Crafts. She was one of the most iconic textile print designers of the 1950’s.
Mary enjoyed a huge reputation as one of the leading fabric designers of the 1950s, and later became a teacher. Her work could be found in homes across the world as well as in cabins aboard the RMS Queen Mary and at Heathrow Airport. Her unique creations are now undergoing a resurgence of interest among the fashion conscious.
Mary was designing during the same period as Lucienne Day. To create her memorable designs Mary drew on the work of William Morris, books of flowers and the countryside where she grew up and has lived throughout her life. In turn her work has influenced leading fashion icons such as Mary Quant, Laura Ashley and Sir Terence Conran.
Mary created hundreds of designs in her career, which she gave up to raise her family. Some of her most famous creations such as Coppice, Cottage Garden and Zinnia were best sellers in leading outlets including Liberty and Heals.
The design Cottage Garden was one of Mary’s most successful designs. It was made available by Heals in 1955, at a price of 10s 9d per yard, coming onto the market at a time when a greater number of people than ever were accepting “contemporary” design.
Many of Mary’s designs are exhibited in museums all over the world including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and Whitworth Art Gallery The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester in Manchester.
Collectors of fifties fabric continue to collect Mary White material. Mary’s designs continue to be included in books on the subject of 1950s textile design such as 20th Century Pattern Design by Lesley Jackson, design curator, historian and author.
Mary was also involved in Thanet Pottery, having also studied pottery at Thanet School of Art. Thanet Pottery was collaboration between Mary (then using her married name of Mary Dening) and her brother, David White. Thanet Pottery made hand painted slip cast earthen ware pottery and their items were sold to High Street chains in the early 1960s. These items continue to be very collectible.
5. ‘Cubix’ wallpaper by Graham & Brown

‘The Cubix design embraces a classic geometric box pattern, using fine texturised lines to accentuate and embellish the pattern for a multi-dimensional finish.’ consulted on 17/11/10

‘The ‘Shape & Form’ collection features seven architecturally inspired geometric designs. a mix of matt, glossy and metallic finishes means they’re as much about texture as pattern. Our favourite is this ‘Cubix’ wallpaper, £25 per 10m roll’ ELLE Decoration, No. 218, October 2010, page 144

6. ‘We had everything’ wall hanging by Rob Ryan/The Rug Company

‘Our collection of wallhangings are entirely handmade, using traditional tapestry and needlepoint techniques. Each piece is enhanced by the unique style of our exclusive designers, and is distinctive and collectible.’ consulted on 17/11/10

‘Artist Rob Ryan’s romantic slogans are so heartfelt that they deserve to be proclaimed on a large scale. This wall hanging cleverly transforms the intricate paper-cut designs for which he is famed into wool needlepoint form. £895’ ELLE Decoration, No. 218, October 2010, page 144

7. ‘Friti’ fabric by Abigail Borg

‘This cotton textile is a blissful marriage of old and new techniques, uniting hand drawing with digital printing to create a feisty floral. It’s ideal for use on cushions, and Borg’s ready-made ones are hand-finished with two mother-of-pearl buttons. Fabric, £42 per sq m; cushion, £38’
ELLE Decoration, No. 218, October 2010, page 144

8. ‘Korc Square’ flooring by Sam Pickard

‘Korc it up!
Laser etched geometric cork panels. Fire rated to BS 476(class 1) these can help provide both a heat insulating solution and a stylish sound absorbent wallcovering for bars, restaurants or other commercial and residential interiors where sharp acoustics are a problem.
Visually intriguing sustainable cork with a contemporary twist. Laser etched with graphic imagery either from our collection of designs or commissioned to suit your individual requirements.
Special thanks to Bath Spa University whose Innovation Award made the development of the laser etched Korc Tiles possible.’ ‘Korc Squares... These 900mm x 600mm cork panels are laser etched with cool optical graphics and have great eco credibility. For further info please email Sam Pickard’  consulted on 17/11/10

‘We never thought that we’d like cork flooring. But Sam Pickard’s laser-etched design, featuring cool op art prints in modern colours such as electric blue, silver and black, has changed our minds. £69 for a 90 x 60cm panel’ ELLE Decoration, No. 218, October 2010, page 144

9. ‘Palladio Sunflower’ fabric by Sanderson

‘English textile designer Pat Albeck created ‘Palladio Sunflower’ for the ‘Palladio Magnus 2’ wallpaper collection circa 1961. For 2010 the Sanderson studio has re-created the design as both a fabric and wallpaper.’ consulted on 17/11/10
‘With its large-scale pattern of bright yellow sunflowers, this fabric has the power to lift your mood instantly. We love the fact that the peppy print has a refined touch, thanks to being printed on sheeny silk. £65 per m’ ELLE Decoration, No. 218, October 2010, page 145

10. ‘Alphabet’ cushions by Elsie Dodds

‘The Alphabet T cushion is digitally printed onto 100% cotton and features a pattern with an array of things that begin with the same letter on the front. In addition to the decorated side, the corresponding upper and lower case letters are printed on the back. It comes with a duck feather pad, is washable at 40° C and is made and designed in the UK.’ consulted on 17/11/10

‘A prime example of the trend for cross-generational homeware, Elsie Dodds’ cotton cushions are designed to be enjoyed by adults and children alike. With a graphic letter printed on one side and a vibrant assortment of objects starting with said letter on the reverse, each cushion is stunning and educational. £55 each’  ELLE Decoration, No. 218, October 2010, page 145

11. ‘Sussex’ wallpaper by Designers Guild

‘An elegant small scale geometric motif in a range of glowing colours. Printed on a high quality ‘easy to hang’ non-woven ground.’ consulted on 18/11/10

‘Many metallic wallpapers look too flashy - not this design, with its petite geometric pattern hilighted with a pearlescent finish. The palette of pretty pastels creates a subtly glam effect. £43 per 10m roll’ ELLE Decoration, No. 218, October 2010, page 145

12. ‘Wood’ rug by Richard Woods/Established & Sons

‘Richards Woods uses traditional wood block printmaking techniques to ‘print’ graphic realisations of building materials and styles, piecing them together to block out sections of existing architectural coverings. Woods cuts in close to normality and re-presents it to us in a stylised and hyper-real visual formulation of itself, creating a ‘soft’ imitation in Wood rug. As woolen panels of printed wood flooring, wallpapers or brick walls, his pieces are functional as well as works of art, which can be appreciated in both residential and commercial environments
alike. The Wood Rug is traditionally hand-knotted in 100% wool.’ consulted on 18/11/10

‘Richard Woods is known for his colourful imitation wood-grain patterns. Having applied these to cabinets for Brit brand Established & Sons, the artist has now created a soft version in hand-woven wool. This rug is not for the faint-hearted, but it is a work of art on your floor. £5052’ ELLE Decoration, No. 218, October 2010, page 145

13. ‘Ravenna’ wallpaper by Osborne & Little

‘A dramatic collection of twelve new wallpaper designs inspired by Italian theatre
introduces innovative printing techniques and textured finishes. Some are printed with
a new granular glitter texture.’ consulted on 18/11/10 ‘Small-scale cubes in mosaic layout.’ consulted on 18/11/10

‘As wallpaper makes a bold move away from pretty designs, Osborne &m Little’s ‘Teatro’ collection is right on the ball. Inspired by Italian theatre, it focuses on fresh printing techniques and finishes; this ‘Ravenna’ design is a series of eye-popping cubes. £43.20 per 10m roll’ ELLE Decoration, No. 218, October 2010, page 146

14. ‘Geo’ wallpaper by Ella Doran

‘Geo is Ella’s stunning new range and is now available as a striking wallpaper. Digitally printed onto paper and sold in ten metre rolls.
Repeat length 39cm
Roll length 10 metres
Winner of the Grand Design Awards best wallpaper 2010.
Winner of the Evening Standard’s Homes and Property best product 2010.’

‘We’re enthralled by the new breed of wallpapers that play with depth to give a 3D effect. Ella Doran’s ‘Geo’ design, whose pattern is taken from a digitally manipulated photograph of a concrete relief from a Berlin building, is one such trompe l’œil marvel. £110 per 10m roll’ ELLE Decoration, No. 218, October 2010, page 146

5. ‘Triangle Weave’ collection by Wallace Sewell

‘These vibrant striped designs by Emma Sewell and Harriet Wallace-Jones have been made on hand looms at a family-run mill in Lancashire. We love their beautifully graduated colour effects.  Cushion, £75’ throw, from £175 ELLE Decoration, No. 218, October 2010, page 146

16. Linen cushions by Fi Douglas/Bluebellgray

‘Scottish designer Fi Douglas says here exquisite cushions are inspired by ‘all things floral, from summer meadows to city window boxes’. Made in limited editions, her designs are painted by hand in watercolour before being printed onto fabric, capturing every brushstroke in the process. From £70’ ELLE Decoration, No. 218, October 2010, page 146

The winner of Best British Pattern, in The British Design Awards 2010, was ‘Friti’ fabric by Abigail Borg, ‘Also chosen by public vote from the shortlist in our October issue is this accolade, which goes to Abigail Borg for her ‘Friti’ floral fabric.’ ELLE Decoration, No. 220, December 2010, page 109


Although Abigail Borg’s surface pattern designs are very clever and well executed I feel that many of the other shortlisted entrants equally deserve to win this award.

It was interesting to look through the shortlist for this award, and take in details such as that ‘Honesty’ rug (John Lewis) was designed in 1953. The ‘Triangle’ weave cushions and throws by Wallace Sewell are designed and made in a traditional method, even though the final effect, when combined with the colours used, is homely and welcoming in a contemporary style. Six of the final sixteen designs that were shortlisted have an element of 3D effect, these were -

1. ‘Screwed Up’ wallpaper by Erika Wakerly
2. ‘Cubix’ wallpaper by Graham & Brown
3. ‘Korc Square’ flooring by Sam Pickard
4. ‘Wood’ rug by Richard Woods/Established & Sons
5. ‘Ravenna’ wallpaper by Osborne & Little
6. ‘Geo’ wallpaper by Ella Doran

It was reassuring to see ‘Op Art’ within those designs because I had incorporated it into my design work recently. My favourites of these designs were ‘Korc Square’ and ‘Geo’, the ‘Korc Square’ flooring is very cool and nothing like the dreadful cork tiles that were stuck to walls, ceilings and floors during the 1970s and wouldn’t come off again! The ‘Op Art’ design is dynamic and exciting, particularly when combined with the small panels of colour. ‘Geo’ wallpaper is an exciting concept, I love the rough look of the concrete which adds to the trompe l’oeil effect and makes me think of Brutalist architecture - I just long to run my fingers over the concrete!
A design that I find fascinating from a manufacturing perspective is the ‘Prunus’ wallpaper by Fromental, the design is hand-painted (so lining up the pattern could be quite difficult) on to fabric backed paper, and then the flowers are hand-embroidered onto the design - the most mind-boggling aspect of this wallpaper is that it only costs £340 per square metre, because production must be extremely time and labour intensive.

Another design that caught my eye and imagination is the quirky ‘We Had Everything’ wall hanging, designed by Rob Bryan based upon on of his paper-cut designs, what a clever idea.

All these interesting current designs have given me serious food for thought, I will continue to research alternative methods of applying patterns to surfaces.


One of my next areas of research will be Timorous Beasties. I find their designs inspired and inspirational and would like to learn more about the company, their beginnings and how they go about applying their designs to a successful business. I am hoping to achieve contact with either Mr Alistair McAuley and/or Mr Paul Simmons of Timorous Beasties to ask them some of my questions.

Tomorrow we have a team meeting. I am hoping that the research that I have done is useful to other team members too.



Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Research Update

Sunday 14th November 2010

I have been researching cave paintings further today. I found a very interesting and informative website called the Bradshaw Foundation (  consulted on 14/11/10). The Bradshaw Foundation seem to dedicate themselves to all forms of prehistoric ‘rock art’ and give much valuable information about these ancient art forms (including carvings outside) from all around the world. There are cave paintings from not only France, but also Africa, America and Australia.
France, Niaux Cave



Australia, Gwion Gwion

Most of these paintings are of animals and humans hunting them - these images appear to be forms of good luck charms, to help with the success of hunting food. There are also some cave paintings that consist of stencilled hands/hand prints and even the introduction of some geometric shapes. It is suggested on The Bradshaw Foundation's website that these geometrics may be the earliest forms of symbology, which will lead on nicely into research of hieroglyphics and other ancient forms of ornamentation on walls.

Tuesday 16th November 2010

Hopefully we will be having a team meeting tomorrow. I need to meet my fellow team members to discuss progress and what directions they are all headed in. I am continuing my research into the history of applying decoration to surfaces (in particular walls but other surfaces have merit too) but I am being distracted by the fact that I have got behind in my research due to work pressures.

Currently my research is based upon two books; they are The Grammar of Ornament by Owen Jones (2008) Herbert Press and The Language of Ornament by James Trilling (2001) Thames & Hudson. I am struggling with comprehending the text of The Grammar of Ornament as it was written in the 19th century and therefore progress is slow. His first chapter opens ‘From the universal testimony of travellers it would appear, that there is scarcely a people, in however early a stage of civilisation, with whom the desire for ornament is not a strong instinct. The desire is absent in none, and it grows and increases with all in the ratio of their progress in civilisation. Man appears everywhere impressed with the beauties of Nature which surround him, and seeks to imitate to the extent of his power the works of the Creator.’ The desire for ornament, as Mr Jones puts it, has been present since ‘stone-age’ man decorated his cave with hunting scenes but as this part of my research will show many forms of ornamentation applied to walls actually served another important purpose other than that of decoration – functions such as communication, in the form of Egyptian hieroglyphics, and warmth in the form of tapestries used in Medieval Europe.
So, back to the text books, I must have something to discuss at the meeting!