When starting my final major project I had so many yet so few ideas all filling my head at once. I am always most inspired ay colour, usually fashion/era but this time I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone and use this final project to discover something new about myself as a designer. The theme for my project was loosely inspired by my dissertation, which I thoroughly enjoyed writing and researching so I really wanted to try and bring something over and express parts of my dissertation visually as well as bringing in many other new aspects. The part of my dissertation that I wanted to interoperate most was the theme of powerful women, or more so women being powerful but at this stage of my project I was finding it difficult to combine this with something more and apply it to my textile design.
I don’t remember at exactly which point I decided to research erotica and use this in my designs but as soon as I did my work just seemed to unfold more naturally, research became more interesting and I began unfolding a world or artists and designers that’s I had never seen before. I have always chosen to embrace sexuality and have never been embarrassed of naked bodies, sex or all the bits in between, in fact I have been told that I can be a little crude. During the very early stages of my research and development I thought about how some people think that I am too forward or open and I came to the conclusion that this may be because nudity, sex and expressing yourself sexually is something that is rarely seen on a day to day basis, the reason being that society has deemed this as rude and unsuitable, leading to some very embarrassed and sexually unaware people! For these reasons and more I chose to research and design all things erotic and have (I hope) successfully created a collection of designs that can be used/displayed in the home that promote sexuality and do so without being explicit.
Firstly I chose my colour pallet, this would be key for getting the correct balance of sexual imagery and home friendly designs so using WGSN I created a pallet of colours predicted for S/S 2016. I then started to get together a body of drawings and research, I did start my research by looking at both men and women’s bits, in the hope of not being sexist but throughout the early to mid-stages of my project I decided that it would be much more difficult to successfully target the appropriate audience while trying to incorporate both male and female parts, so with this in mind my work took a more female inspired turn.
Many of the drawings used for my designs were from pornographic images, which made for very interesting research. By using very explicit images and softening them with continuous line drawings and splashes of colour I began to create a more society-friendly collection of imagery. I concentrated on genitalia, nipples and masturbation, getting a collection of drawings and marks that I would then use to turn into repeat designs digitally. I was nervous of creating my collection entirely digital because this is something that I have done relatively little of in past projects, I tend to be more hands on when designing but I found that by using Photoshop and Illustrator I could turn my base images more simply and efficiently into repeat designs than if I were trying to do this by other methods, screen printing for example.
A big part of my research was body casting, inspired by artist Jamie McCartney I decided vagina and nipple casting was a great way to really get in touch with my theme. Although this started off slow, the outcome was more than I could have hoped for! Not only did I thoroughly enjoy the entire process of casting, from researching the process, to finding models to actually casting, my call out for models caught a lot of attention which resulted in me and my work being published in several paper articles! I could be happier with this, I learned something new, very much enjoyed it and got recognised for it. Body casting as well as erotic themed design I believe is something I will continue to do as I take my next steps as a designer, it something that has been more inspiring than I could have every imagined and I realise now that there are so many avenues that work if this nature can take. I have received approving messages for various artists around Europe, including a few messages passed back and forth between Jamie McCartney and myself.
As the deadline neared I was pleased to step into the final stages of my project, getting to research into and experiment with different fabrics, although this was possibly one of the most difficult stages of the project. With fabric choice comes many potential issues, which I soon discovered. I had problems with my designs resulting in a few round of pre samples being ordered, not to mention my final samples being 3 days late! Through this I believe I have stayed true to my brief and created a delicate and beautiful collection of designs suitable for the bedroom (I do believe these deigns could be applied to many other areas though) which is inoffensive and would be a statement in the home.