Assignment 1 – Interpreting cultural sources – questions

December 2015

I am using this blog post specifically to answer the end of assignment questions from page 24 of the course notes, so as to make them easy to find and reference.


1. Do your finished samples fulfil your expectations? To what extent do they reflect the initial research that you undertook at the start of the assignment? Can you see a clear line of progression from source material to preliminary ideas and finished samples or did you have to change direction at any point?

Some finished pieces worked better than others (see discussions in stage 3 and stage 4 blog posts). I am pleased that I managed to do a lot of design work and to explore many different design ideas.

Intentionally, most of my samples are not direct analogies of native American designs. I discovered cultural sensitivities, even in the use of standard geometric shapes or specific bead patterns, so chose to avoid them in favour of my own more abstract representations. I actually prefer this way of working – I don’t have any particular affinity towards native American (or indeed any) culture, so I found that drawing from my own responses was much more rewarding. The exception was the Snoshone lake analogies. The photograph was so stunning that I really didn’t want to deviate too much from the shapes, colours and textures it presented.

I worked hard to show a clear progression and development of ideas from my source material and I hope this is apparent in my work. It is one of the areas which I am seeking to improve from the first module of this course (Textiles1 : A Creative Approach).

I did change direction because of cultural sensitivities and also because of fashion and homeware trends (especially with reference to colour and pattern). I have attempted to show this via storyboards.


2. Did you make the right choices and decisions when selecting and developing your ideas? If not what would you change and how might that alter the outcome?

One regret was that I did not choose to do more development work at the outset on “tassels ad fringes”. By the time I realised it was going to be THE major fashion trend for winter 16/17, I had left myself insufficient time to develop the concept properly. The learning point is to have an awareness of trends at the beginning of the design process (although a balance needs to be struck to make sure that pre-conceptions do not interfere with the free generation of visual material at the beginning of the design process).


3. How important was the choice of material in terms of the qualities that you achieved?

For the Snoshone lake samples the choice of materials was essential in order to achieve contrast in colour and textures (samples 8a) and b), 9 a) and b). The Sioux breastplate manipulation (sample 2) was also very important because the fabric qualities (weave and fibre) effect how the pleats and creases hold and whether they appear crisp or soft. I wanted quite a definite shape, so chose a close-weave fabric. However I wanted a round appearance to the pleats rather than crisp flat folds, so chose a cotton/synthetic blend rather and pure cotton or linen.


4. How did your choice of colours contribute to the overall results?

The choice or complementary colours (blue and orange) was key to the success of the Snoshone Lake samples, but was already in the original image. I did not deviate from this colour scheme because it was so powerful, and also key to the success of the samples.

Although I personally prefer bright colours as accent pieces in home decor, I did change to black/white/grey or neutrals to accommodate colour trends in room decor/homeware. My “Feathers and mirrors” fabric samples are examples which worked well.
The red and green (complementary colours) in my “Arapaho dress inspired fabric print” design is powerful. I also tried a red and black colour way which didn’t work as well.

5. Did you try the brainstorming exercise? If so did you find it useful?

I could not specifically see a suggestion to conduct a brainstorming exercise in the course notes and did not conduct one per se.


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