Student work: Heidi Sumner - The design development process. - The Open College of the Arts
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Student work: Heidi Sumner – The design development process.

I received the work from Heidi Sumner a Foundation Textile student a few months ago. I wanted to share her creative work with you here and discuss the concept design development.
The foundation course with the OCA is an introduction to the skills needed for Textile studies. Students are asked in part 1 to experiment with mark making and drawing, part 2 introduces collage and in part 3 they work creatively with materials. Students are asked to create two sets of samples based on themes. The themes come from a suggested list of words and the students are asked to research imagery that reflects, translates or suggests the qualities of these words.
Heidi chose the theme ‘stacked and layered’ for a group of calico samples and ‘fragile and transparent’ for her second theme using tracing paper. We can see here that Heidi understood the concept of design development and this has allowed her to produce some very interesting work.

Heidi chose good primary research that informed experimentation of ideas. Those ideas then developed into samples that are refined into final outcomes.
Firstly Heidi found some great images for both themes, that inspired ideas for shape, texture, silhouette. For the “stacked and layered” theme Heidi was inspired by organic images of tree bark and leaves. You can see she started to draw out her ideas and create small samples manipulating fabric .

For the “fragile and transparent” theme Heidi found some wonderful images of sea anemones, she could see how she could translate these images using semi transparent  tracing paper . She developed motifs and elements through exploring small ideas in reference to her research. Her small experimentations were presented in a flat box like a sea bed of little creatures.

She then considered how she could combine these little elements into larger developed samples. Heidi considered how to connected the paper elements as a important part of the design process, looking at the negative spaces she was creating in her compositions. Each sample is large enough for her to create repeats and experiment with the composition and proportions of the elements, structuring well thought out designs.
The design development process.

  • Firstly find relevant research ideally something you can experience first hand as this will stimulate all your senses and give you lots to work from. If you use your own images (photos or drawings)  your research will be very personal. If this is not possible find really inspiring images to work from books or the internet (if you are using pinterest be careful not to overwhelm yourself with images , stay focused)
  • It is really important to analyse the research, is it going to give you enough to work from to stimulate ideas in relation to the assignment brief.
  • Start to respond to the research, draw from it, mark make, collect objects, select colours, fabrics….. If you are finding this tricky you might need to go back to your research and look at one area in more depth or you might find you need to widen your research.-Now continue to develop your ideas.
  • From these creative responses you have created you now need to think about how you can express them in fabric/ stitch/ material/ paint in relation to your design brief.
  • Create lots of trials, they can be quite quick responses or they might take much longer.
  • Now look at all the work you have done . Are you expressing your research in your developments. If you are great, if not why? do you need to go back to your work and develop some more.
  • If you feel you have a good body of developments and you are answering the assignment brief you can move on.
  • Lay out all your trials and think how these can be developed into final pieces ( if that is what is being as asked of you) . There are many ways you can develop work on to a more resolved outcome, for example you could combine ideas together, you could work one idea on a bigger scale, you could take one idea and manipulate it……. Experiment !

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Posted by author: Jenny Udale
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