Sunday, 22 May 2011

Massive update

…and the world didn’t end yesterday as some people were predicting – I’m quite relieved! But, I cannot believe that it is over a month since I wrote anything here – time for some serious catching up!

Yesterday I did something different and fun, I designed my own cover for the August edition of Wallpaper* magazine. There is a limited palette of shapes/photos/patterns/text that you put together, in layers, to create your own personalized cover and then in August you receive your copy of Wallpaper* with your own front cover and slightly personalized back cover too. I had hoped to have the option of uploading one of my own designs which would have been really exciting, but that wasn’t possible, so this is what I came up with…

…can’t wait for it to pop through the letter box!

Anyway, since the last time I wrote anything here I have been busy thinking about the chair and what exactly I plan to do with it, I have been doing some screen printing in the Print Workshop at uni, I have been thinking about reviving and improving a project that I worked on as an undergraduate, contemplating the development of Whimsy & Quirk’s website, I have bought a graphics tablet and have generally been planning how and what I want to show at the end of year Design Show.

The Chair
I am definitely planning to hand print some fabric for the seat cushion, so I now know that I need to redraw my circles pattern so that it can be cut into a stencil (I want to convert it into stencils anyway because part of my business plan is to design and sell stencils). But before I do any of that I need to decide upon a definitive colour scheme so that I can create a whole range of items with a cohesive colour theme.

I started by drawing the chair and then colouring the image using, as inspiration, the Trend Bible colour predictions, and then trying to ‘match’ those colours to the range of spray paints Painter’s Touch by Rust-Oleum (  I plan to use spray paint in the hope that it won’t clog up the weave of the chair.

My main issue with all this is that I’m still not happy about any of the predicted trends, so it then became necessary to think about my own trend, not a prediction but my range of spring/summer 2012 colours, these are colours that I am happy with, they work well together and will also work happily with a range of products. These colours are chosen as my spring/summer 2012 colour palette because the colours are based upon a Mediterranean summer, redolent of the scent of lavender and filled with the buzzing of bees…

The sources of the images are -
5. and 6. My own photos
These websites were consulted on 9/5/11

Based upon the colours that I have selected (above) from my ‘Mood Board’ I have put together this little image to show how the colours will work together throughout the rest of this module.

So, at this point I have decided that I will spray paint the body of the chair in almond, which will work well with my colour palette…

…which now means that I need to get on and paint the chair. But there are plenty of other jobs that I need to get on with too.

Print Workshop
I had a great afternoon in the Print Workshop, I took along two differently scaled versions of the circle pattern to print, but I didn’t get to print both – I started with the larger scaled image and found that some of the circles with the lighter weighted lines weren’t printing properly, so obviously the smaller scaled image would have been even less likely to print as desired. So, next time I go in I will have the images drawn in heavier lines.

Sweetie Lamp
This is a module that I worked on during my first year as an undergraduate. The module was about re-using and recycling instead of throwing away, so we had to make something using recycled materials or rubbish.

My lamp was made of mdf circles which my husband collected as waste from his place of work and were painted using left over household emulsion, an old lampshade (the frame of which was expanded in the university workshop), old string and buttons, a damaged roll of greaseproof paper, Quality Street wrappers. I named it the Sweetie Lamp because the base reminded me of sweetie necklaces that I had as a child, probably due to the colours.

In theory the base can be created in the same way as last time, but using my current colours. But, this time I will use a real lampshade frame and cover it in fabric, hand-printed with the circle pattern.

I feel that the revamped Sweetie Lamp will look fantastic at the show, where it will be sat with the chair and wallpapers all working together with their colour theme – I’m really looking forward to seeing it.

Whimsy & Quirk’s website
I have already started on the website, but I am looking at/researching each stage as I go along. I have bought my website from Mr Site (, I am using the Takeaway edition which has e-commerce facilities, and have already set up the basics. The website address is and my email address is, although the website is currently under construction.

Obviously there are some basic design decisions to be made right from the start, so I have been looking at other websites and have come to the conclusion that design websites seem to appear at their best with a white background and simple black or grey text – I think that this is because it allows the imagery to work for itself rather than competing with a busy or colourful background or even a flowing or over decorative font.

This is as far as I have got with the website, it will take some time because I have no previous experience of setting up a website and it is all a massive learning curve. My next decisions will be how many pages the website should have and do I need any widgets!?

Graphics Tablet
I need to re-draw my circle pattern so that it can be cut into stencils, so I thought that a Graphics Tablet may speed the re-drawing up by making it more straightforward – it must be easier to draw with a pen than a mouse – the graphics tablet plugs into a USB socket in the pc and works as an input device, but you use a special pen and draw onto the tablet… simple! I will have to be trying this out during the next week.

The Design Show
For the design show I am picturing (in my mind’s eye at the moment) two upright panels, possible 2.5 metres high, stood at a right angle and joined at the angle, with wallpapers coming over the top of the panels and pooling into rolls on the floor. There will be both hand-printed and digitally printed wallpapers, in the clematis and circles design, all using the same colour palette but with variations. The sweetie lamp will be in the corner where the two panels meet and the chair will be stood next to the lamp. I am hoping to find another chair so I can have one seat cushion with the circles pattern and one with the clematis pattern, but I am having difficulty getting one at the moment. I will try to find the time to draw this during the week, because we will soon come to the point where Michael will be trying to work out how much space everybody will need for the show.

This means that there is lots of work for me to be getting on with, and really I didn’t have any spare time for designing my front cover for Wallpaper* magazine, but I did enjoy it!