Thursday, 27 December 2012

Pre-Raphaelite Reads

Ever the avid reader I am always striving to expand my library and seek out invaluable reading material with which to expand my knowledge. Books are certainly my favourite gifts to both give and receive, so I was overjoyed to receive two beautiful books for Christmas, both on the subject of my favourite art movement; The Pre-Raphaelites.

'Pre-Raphaelite Drawing' focuses around the lesser seen Pre-Raphaelite studies, which were the subject of the 2011 exhibition 'The Poetry of Drawing' at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. 'The Pre-Raphaelite Language of Flowers', is an utterly fantastic insight into the Pre-Raphaelites extensive use of floral symbolism. Having been engrossed in this specific subject for a number of years, it has had an immense impact upon both my design work and my personal art work, so a well researched observation of The Pre-Raphaelites use of the Language of Flowers is both a wonderful reference tool, and a joy to read!

Saturday, 22 December 2012


During my Print Technician internship I have thoroughly enjoyed advancing my existing technical skills. One of the most rewarding aspects of my internship has been becoming a competent operator of the Mimaki TX2. I have enjoyed learning how to operate the Mimaki, change its inks, fabric/paper, perform general mantainance and set up, and use RIP software to create layplans. Printing students work and helping them to achieve their goals and their digital design dreams has been a very rewarding experience, and today on the final day of my internship I have had the opportunity to use my beloved Mimaki again to print my own design for the first time since completing my degree.

I would like to thank all of the technical staff, textiles students and Design lecturers at The University of Derby for making my 13 week internship a delightful experience! I have enjoyed working with you all immensely!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Lord of the Flies

Of late I have been working on an utterly unique, one-off print called 'Lord of the Flies', which incorporates both my love of symbolism and nature (but in a very different manner to which they have been combined previously). This highly personal creation strongly reflects my interest in macabre, unusual art, design and literature. The design (created for a wall hanging) features various insects and beetles, all of which historically symbolize evil, the devil or disease radiating from the great, central 'Lord of the Flies'.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Dark Creatures

Recently during my spare time I have been working upon a personal project to create a series of etch-inspired prints based around the theme of animals with a menacing or sinister reputation. I have chosen to use a style focusing upon highly contrasting shading and fine line work to create the monochrome pieces. The series is intended to be a nod to some of my favorite writers; such as Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraf and their creepy creations. I have decided to title the series 'Dark Creatures'.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

King Diamond

Now that free time is slightly more abundant I have had the chance to begin working on many personal projects which have remained largely in the shadows during the creation of my final collection, my degree show and new designers.
I have been an avid creator of my own clothing for around 10 years and I am always eager to create and customize in a manner which reflects my own tastes and personal style. Recently I have spent my spare time working on this jacket. The main theme of the jacket is King Diamond's 'Conspiracy' album cover, and is my own homage and nod to one of my favorite albums, and a chance to hone my portraiture skills!

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Private View

Visiting the 'Best of the Best' Exhibitions Private View evening was an interesting and different experience, being the first exhibition to feature my work which I have not had full creative control over and assembled myself.
Curated by Jayne Falconer, the small exhibition showcases the Best work from across the 2012 ADT Degree Show. As well as my prints, the exhibition also features some of my visual studies and supporting conceptual work:

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Paradise Lost

Recently I was was lucky enough to purchase some utterly beautiful prints of Gustave Dore etchings. The prints, which date from a 1890 edition of 'Paradise Lost' are fine examples of Dore's etchings and are beautifully delicate pieces of art which I have admired for many years. The prints naturally show some minor wear and aging (after all they are 123 years old!), but I look forward greatly to enjoying them every day. Evidently my passion for all things print remains unstoppable still!

'Best of the Best' Exhibition

Im very pleased report that select pieces from my collection are currently on display at the 'Best of the Best 2012' Exhibition at the University of Derby's Markeaton Street campus.
The exhibition is currently running from Monday 17th September until Tuesday 25th October (Monday to Friday), with a special Private View on 3rd October.

The exhibition is open to the public with free entry. It is a showcase of specially selected Art, Design and Technology Graduates work.

Please feel free to visit the exhibition. For more information on how to get there:

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Natural History Museum - Architecture

One unexpected feature which struck me upon my visit to the Natural History Museum was its utterly stunning architecture of both the interior and exterior of the building.

The buildings visual impact was immense and boasted excess at virtually every turn. The exhibits of bones and specimens are so impressive its easy to overlook the grand background against which they are displayed. So I felt it fitting to pay homage to the grand feat of design, the beautiful Victorian Waterhouse building which houses these marvels!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

The Darwin Centre

Having never visited the Natural History Museum before I was presented with a fantastic opportunity to visit during a day trip to London. With nature being a long held fascination and passion of mine it is certainly a long overdue visit!

 The section of the Museum which I found most interesting was the newly constructed  cocoon like Darwin Centre, which housed thousands of specimens of Flora and Fauna from around the globe. The beautifully fragile insects were utterly beautiful and remain a firm favourite of mine for both photographing and drawing (as can be seen below.

 If you are interested in visiting the Darwin Centre, which is a fantastic experience for all the family visit the Natural History Museum website for more information:

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Eyes of the World

Having finished my degree I have far more time to pursue personal projects which have been on hold for an extensive period while I focused on my degree. Some of the works mid creation here currently are highly conceptual pieces of art, a vast amount of print design ideas Ive wished to pursue for some time (which are in their infancy but will eventually form the basis of my new collection) and a book of illustrations solely focusing upon something I enjoy drawing and find fascinating, but as an artist/designer they are also incredibly important to me; eyes! Here are a couple of eye studies so far (of both a Long Eared Owl and a 'work in progress' Tawny Owl):

Monday, 30 July 2012


It has been many years since I had the time to partake in any recreational embroidery, however this summer has provided the perfect opportunity to utilize an old skill.
As a nod to a largely forgotten Heavy Metal tradition, I chose to embroider (as opposed to paint) the logos of bands onto one of my heavily customized jackets. Though a time consuming labor of love, I have had aspirations to once again pay homage to this traditional method since visiting the 'Home of Metal' Exhibition a few years ago.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Creative Curriculum Vitae

A great many things been achieved since my previous Creative CV post in my second year, and as I am now officially seeking employment as a qualified print designer I decided it was important to invest some time updating my CV.

So here is my brand new up-to-date CV!

If you would like to receive a full copy of my CV via email or post, please do not hesitate to request one.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Fresh Aesthetics

For some time I have considered updating the aesthetics of my blog. After a little deliberation, I decided it would be apt to have a blog header which reflected my most recent work, and an updated, more versatile layout. I echoed certain elements in my new template, as I was satisfied with the overall simplicity of my blogs layout, but it needed a little refining.

So its farewell to my old blog layout and welcome to my brand new header!

Feedback and opinions most welcome!

Friday, 6 July 2012

Arts Thread

My Arts Thread online graduate portfolio is newly updated and fully live to the public. The portfolio features a small selection of my design work which I feel best represents my style, skills and the techniques which I am familiar with.

Please feel free to visit Arts Thread and view my portfolio on the following link:

Monday, 2 July 2012

New Designers 2012

Last week saw me take up residence for a week in London while I exhibited my work at New Designers along side thousands of the years best design graduates from across the UK.

Having the chance to exhibit my work at the largest Graduate Design Exhibition in the country was a wonderful opportunity and an incredibly enjoyable experience.

As one of 14 students selected from the University of Derby I was allocated one 9ft board on which to display pieces from my collection. Condensing down my show from 4 boards to one was a challenging process, however I feel that I successfully displayed a range of my fabrics to the public.

The theme chosen to display a representation of everyone else on the courses work was the jubilee. This topical theme created a lot of discussion amongst visitors.

Many thanks to the thousands of people who visited New Designers over the week and helped support young design talent in Britain. Thank you to the numerous people who picked up one of my business cards, our exhibition catalogue or asked to see my portfolio, your interest and appreciation of my work is valued very highly.

Monday, 25 June 2012

A First ...

Today saw the release of my courses degree classifications from the examination board. I am incredibly pleased to announce that I have officially achieved a First Class Honours BA in Textile Design!

I would like to take the opportunity to thank my friends, family, lecturers and technicians for their unyielding support throughout the course of my degree, especially during my final year, your support has been invaluable.

I am overjoyed with the result, as it is something which I have aimed to achieve throughout my entire degree, and it also allows me to further consider an option I have been contemplating pursuing in the future; studying an MA in the History of Design at RCA.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Hive of Activity

As activities in recent months have revolved around designing, printing and displaying my work, returning to the nature which has inspired so much of my work has been thoroughly enjoyable. Having missed recent developments in the garden, I decided to make the most of some beautiful weather and take the time to observe different plant species, and the insects they are attracting to the garden. I was thrilled to see a wide range of different Bumblebees frequenting the garden, including a female Cuckoo Bumblebee (my eye is not expert enough to distinguish exactly which) and honey bees. As stated in a previous post, we plant as many nectar and pollen rich plants in the garden as possible in the hopes of encouraging the growth of the bee population, however this has had an unexpected consequence. During my time in the garden I suddenly became aware of a rather noisy swarm descending upon the garden. Closer inspection revealed the swarm to be thousands of Honey Bees, whom had decided to build a hive beneath our new birdbath. Watching the vast mass of bees was utterly fascinating, I eagerly await the development of our hive and what may come next!

The Great Romantic Artist

BBC Four can be relied upon to bring Art and Culture to the forefront of the minds of creative individuals on a regular basis and do not fail to do so with their recent feature on J.M.W Turner.

I welcomed the programme greatly as a self confessed Turner novice. Until around a year ago I had never quite grasped the fanatical appeal of Turner. I had always considered his works masterful and doubtlessly beautiful, but British oil landscapes and seascapes had always been slightly lost on me and failed to ignite the interest which Cezanne, Monet and even Dali's landscapes provided. However this changed upon my first visit to the National Gallery last summer. Having never seen Turners work in the flesh before, I was unexpectedly knocked clean out of my boots by 'Ulysses Deriding Polyphemus'. The sheer, incredible emotion of the piece and both the atmosphere and beauty it captured had me transfixed and totally speechless for some time.

Even now I still feel that Turners work simply can not be viewed in a book and understood or appreciated fully. The texture of the paint and the true colours provide an emotion and beauty which seem incapable of being replicated in print. Even my memories of pieces I have viewed in the National Gallery and the V&A seem far more vivid and detailed than images in books.

The programme focuses specifically upon Turners use of the Thames as a base for many of his compositions and takes an analytical look at his use of colour, technique and intentions, however much of the discussion is objective and simply a result of personal opinion. The narrative may have benefited from some more academic elements, however it provides an interesting overall observation and appreciation of Turners work.

One element of the discussion which did intrigue me greatly was the mention of: 'Was Turner an artistic radical and a conservative Royalist? Or just an artist businessman? ... Nothing is known about Turners politics'. I have been looking for a new, exciting avenue of academic research to embark on, to say that 'nothing' is known of Turners political stance is surely something which needs to be rectified?

Since seeing 'Ulysses Deriding Polyphemus' at the National Gallery, I have had a postcard of the piece on view at all times to remind myself of the sheer emotion which creativity has the power to evoke.

Monday, 11 June 2012

New Designers

Much to my total and utter joy, I discovered today that I have been selected by the University as one of 14 students chosen to exhibit a board of work at New Designers in London.

After visiting New Designers 2011 last summer and witnessing the truly brilliant quality of work on display at the Exhibition it has been my goal to achieve a standard of work worthy of being shown at the most important Graduate Exhibition in the UK ever since.

Having the opportunity to showcase my work, style and abilities as a designer to a vast audience is an incredibly exciting prospect, for more information on New Designers including dates, opening times and the location of the exhibition visit:

If you are planning on visiting the exhibition or are exhibiting at New Designers as a Graduate, I look forward to seeing you there!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Degree Show 2012

Following the whirlwind of the opening of the University of Derby 2012 Degree Show and the excitement which has followed, I thought it only right to share some images of my own show and the work I have chosen to display.
The pieces on display within my show are; six narrow lengths, one 3 metre 'Virtue' length and five hand printed scarves across 4 boards. My portfolio is also available view upon request. Below are some images of my show (and yours truly).

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Purchased Work

The Private View of the Degree Show was a fantastic success. Upon my arrival I was utterly speechless to discover that I had been awarded a prize by the University which meant that they wished to purchase a piece of my work. Many thanks to the University for choosing my work to become a part of their collection, its a total honour.

I would also like to thank each and every person who discussed my work with me, expressed an interest in my style and my techniques and complimented me on the merits of my work, the Private View was an infinitely rewarding experience and your kind words were thoroughly appreciated.

Thank you all for more support and appreciation than I ever could have imagined!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Degree Show 2012

The moment I have been working towards for the last three years has almost arrived. Friday 1st June has been set as the date for the Private Viewing of my Degree Show (situated at the Markeaton Street campus). From Saturday 2nd June the Exhibition is open to the public Monday - Saturday (excluding bank holidays)until 12th June. If you would like to visit the show, please feel free to do so, for further details of opening times, events and the location of the campus please follow the link below:

If you are interested in attending the Private View please do not hesitate to contact me (or if you would like to discuss my work and conceptual ideals in person).

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Business Cards

This morning, much to my excitement, my business cards arrived in the post. I decided to use the website to design my business cards and have them printed for several reasons, largely because their paper stock is thick, satin laminated and achieves an accurate representation of colour (which is an essential element when representing my work). But also their materials are sustainably sourced and competitively priced.

I chose to print 6 varying designs on my cards which represented some of the designs within my final collection. I also felt myself unable to resist including a pen study of a rat which I had completed earlier in the project, as it displays my hand drawing abilities, and represents my personal, subversive nature.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Scarves at Saint Werburgh's

In order to visualise my collection and represent my designs appropriately I took a number of photographs at Derby Cathedral and Saint Werburgh's Church. The location was a very important, conscious decision, as every day for the past three years I have walked through Saint Werburgh's Churchyard on my commute to university. The building has always held a certain fascination for me, as I adore its Gothic style and exquisite craftsmanship of the building, however its disuse makes it rather mysterious and sad. In relation to the context of my project, Saint Werburgh's was a perfect choice for a location, its deconsecration and decay relates directly to my questioning of faith and many of its 'traditional' aspects. The church sits lonely, empty, vandalised, adorned daily with groups of homeless people, passed by and ignored by commuters, with no place in the busy cityscape other than a convenient shortcut. To me the church is a representation of Christianity in modern society, an archaic, fading glory, still cherished by a small few, ignored by the majority, until it becomes in some way convenient.

The location also felt appropriate, as it marks the end of three years commuting to Derby, and seeing these familiar, impacting sights which have largely inspired the thinking and concept behind my collection

Many thanks to my model Anita Harasymiw for doing a brilliant job!

Here are just a few of the photographs:

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Statement of Practice

As part of the Context 6 module I was required to write a Statement of Practice to accompany my degree show and justify my final collection to both the examiner and my lecturers. Reflecting on a year long, rather complex project in just 2 sides was a challenging task, however I feel I explained the thinking and reasoning behind my project in a professional, appropriate manner. It felt appropriate that I post my statement here also, to allow those interested to gain a deeper understanding of my project:

 Flora and Fauna

The collection ‘Flora and Fauna’ is directly inspired by strong visual and symbolic elements within nature. Initially the project involved studying flora typically found in the countryside or garden and researching their meanings through reading books such as; ‘The Language of Flowers: Symbols and Myths’ and ‘Flower Power: The Meaning of Flowers in Art’ , however as the project developed books such as ‘Nature and its Symbols’ and ‘The Medieval Flower Book’ became essential to developing an in depth understanding of the historical context and deep rooted symbolism of flowers. This led to the project strongly focusing upon medieval art and historically significant flora and fauna.

Both fine art and historical context have played an integral role in the development of the collection and the direction which it has taken. Pre-Raphaelite artists such as Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais and Edward Burne-Jones have influenced my chosen style and themes, inspiring me to embrace their ‘truth to nature’ ethics, and the Religious imagery within their work. The combination of religion/philosophy and nature is both an aesthetic and contextual element within the project. Historically symbolic flora and fauna have been intentionally used to subversively question the contemporary interpretation of ‘Sin’ and ‘Virtue’ and how relevant it is within modern society.

Ecclesiastical art became deeply integrated into the project following visits to the V&A and The Louvre. The gold leaf, deep, aged tones and the often intense use of pattern found within Medieval religious art are obvious influences on the aesthetics of the collection. Halos and intricate dot work became an important visual feature, providing the collection with an archaic, religious edge. Combining religious iconography and nature was an idea derived from medieval manuscripts, and is a unique approach to floral design.

Design inspiration for the collection was drawn from designers such as Jill Stuart, in particular her Autumn/Winter 2011 collection displayed many inspirational elements, including the prolific use of British fauna in a unique fashion and the use of a strong, jewel colour palette.
Alexander McQueen’s Autumn/Winter 2010/2011 collection successfully combines religion, fine art and exquisite gold embellishment and detail within a range of complex garments. This collection has been a significant inspiration during the development of the project, it has strongly influenced the themes, composition and colour palette of a number of the designs.

The colour palette for ‘Flora and Fauna’ is largely derived from traditional stained glass windows, such as those seen in ‘Faith, Hope and Light: The Art of the Stained Glass Window’ and on visits to York Minster and other Christian buildings. The palette reflects the deep, rich tones seen in stained glass and the hint of luminosity which they hold. The aged antique elements are inspired by illuminated medieval manuscripts and heavily gilded ecclesiastical art.

The fabric used has been an essential element of the project. With high quality a major priority, the collection is printed exclusively on silk of varying weights and mixtures. To provide a light weight fabric for scarves and dresses silks such as Habotai and Pongee have been used, while silk cotton and silk viscose sateen provide a slightly heavier alternative, and the devoré fabrics within the collection. All hand printed fabrics have been dyed using Procion MX dyes and use recipes specifically written for the collection.

The collection utilises both digital print and hand methods in an unusual, innovative combination. The high level of detail within the original designs has been maintained through the medium of digital print, while hand processes using illuminating acids, devore and metallic powders have been used to enhance the fabrics produced. These labour intensive methods ensure that the fine art aspect of the project resonates thought out the collection.

As gold leaf and gilding is a strong visual feature in the collection, it was something which was required to look technically accurate, antique and luxurious. After experimentation with metallic foils and pigments, Selectasine metallic powder and binder were chosen as the most visually and texturally successful application of gold. With the ability to be combined at any chosen ratio, Selectacine powders can provide a versatile spectrum of gilding, from subtle to strong, meaning that a variety of effects can be achieved using one product.

Maintaining a high quality finish was an important aspect to consider. Considered embellishment with Miyuki glass beads ensures that quality and a fine finish is achieved across the range of fabrics. Miyuki beads have been specifically chosen as they represent the excellence of innovative Japanese glass bead manufacture, the specialist glazes and size of the beads ensured that they provided complimentary embellishment for the designs.

The rich and elaborate range of fabrics is intended to appeal to a high end fashion market. With large scale bold, impacting prints and exquisite hand details the prints are intended for use on elaborate statement dresses and haute couture with an eccentric twist. The hand rolled silk scarves within the collection are an extravagant approach to an everyday accessory.

The collection is uniform and the varying fabrics successfully complement each other, yet have the varying different appeals. The unique style and approach is recognisable and has achieved successful end results. Further developments to the project could have been further experimentation with scale and the creation of further fabrics using combinations of the same elements already present.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Miyuki Beads

Enhancing my designs with high quality embellishment is something which I am eager to incorporate within my work, as it only serves to enhance the impact and lavish exuberance of my fabrics. As well as hand painting with Selectacine Metallic gold powder, I also chose to hand bead some designs with Japanese glass Miyuki beads, which represent the pinnacle in innovative manufacture and superb craftsmanship.

For more information on these high quality, truly beautiful beads visit the Miyuki website:

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Second Design Seminar

Today was my presentation in the second set of Design Seminars for the year. It was my opportunity to discuss my work with a group of fellow students, explain my concept and how my project had developed and changed since the previous seminar. Since the first Design Seminar my work had become far more ecclesiastically inspired, and my message had become more refined. I demonstrated how religious buildings (such as Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche below) had influenced the aesthetics of my designs and my interpretation of flora and fauna. The slides below represent a brief demonstration of my development from inspiration, to fauna studies and finally a scarf design.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Sanctus Strix

After days of careful, meticulous printing with Illuminate Acids, Discharge and Selecticine metallic powders onto pongee silk (dyed with my own recipes of Procion MX) I now have some finished scarves which I am satisfied with.
The scarves feature my two halo owl designs specially designed for scarves. I combined different techniques in a variety of ways to make each scarf unique, experimenting with layering different chemicals, and using different strengths of discharge to achieve varying effects.

Some images of the scarves so far:

Friday, 27 April 2012

Scarf Designs

'Sanctus Strix' are a range of scarf designs focusing upon Owls, which have been considered a bad omen and a symbol of death throughout art history, and intricate patterns inspired by religious Medieval art. The designs echo repeated themes of my project, such as dot work, gilding and halos.
When initially conceiving the designs, I decided that I wanted the designs to be connected to my elaborate repeat designs, however they are not intended to be worn together as the scarves are large, bold statement pieces.
The designs feature a Barn Owl, as ever expressing my long running obsession with Barn Owls, and a Long Eared Owl, which I find incredibly beautiful, yet sinister and menacing, which I felt was rather fitting due to the symbolism of the imagery.

Now the designs are complete, I intend to screen print them onto silk using a variety of techniques and processes.