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  • Kirstea

The Victorian Thing...

I graduated from uni in July 2019 - I can't believe that's nearly a whole year ago - and went straight into job hunting. I reworked some of my final major project as well, but I didn't spend a lot of time on creative things as my most important task was to get some money coming in before the money I had ran out. I got a job in October, and before I started in November my Grandad asked me to sort out all my uni stuff so he could have some more space in the house. I went through every piece of work (sketchbooks, drawing sheets, koda-traces, fabric lengths and samples) from all three years at uni and chucked away what I didn't need. I kept all of my final major project (apart from a couple of embarrassingly bad drawings) and a some bits and pieces from first and second year that would look good in my portfolio.

My first project in second year was a difficult one for me. I struggled with my tutors as I tried to do my thing and they tried to push me in what felt like the completely wrong direction. For example, I'm not a hand printer. I absolutely hated being in the print rooms as it's messy and the available processes are too slow for me; and I was being encouraged to spend more time in the print rooms. For the first half of the project I did everything my tutors asked but hated every second of it. My work didn't look like my work and I had no confidence in what I was doing. The tension and stress this all created actually made me consider dropping out, until my housemates sat me down one night to talk as they'd noticed I wasn't my usual self anymore. They told me to just do what I need to do and ignore our tutors. So I did. I abandoned the print rooms and loaded up Photoshop. When I went to my next tutorial, armed with multiple digital prints, my tutors were actually amazed. They could see that this was my style of working, and that the print rooms were not for me. They looked at my work and advised me to look into childrenswear and the Victorian aesthetic. I started doing some research and when I liked what I found I used it to inform my work. At this point, though, we were nearing the end of the project so I didn't have much time to incorporate this new direction. Once I'd handed the project in I was so eager to move onto to the next one and leave all that stress behind I didn't look at it again.

When I was sorting through all my work at my Grandad's house, I looked through the sketchbook for that project and realised how much more I could have done with the 'Victorian thing'. So I decided my next project, my first project after graduating, would revisit the Victorian era; but not for childrenswear - for interiors. I dabble in gift as well as interiors, but I'm definitely not a fashion girl. I appreciate fashion and love the surface design available, but I really struggle to create work for fashion surfaces so I stick to interiors and gift. It's taken me being put on furlough leave due to Covid-19 to find the time to start this new project, but I finally started it and I'm making progress.

'Henrietta' in Cascade

So far I've created five prints (Henrietta on the left is one of them), and I'm aiming to have a collection of ten. I'm going to go back to drawing as I feel I've used up what I already have, and I'm experimenting to try create a faux ceramic I can put my designs on. If it works I can start producing coasters, placemats, and more ceramic earrings. I'll be putting my designs on other products as well when I've finished the collection, but I'm using this extra time to work on new things; and work on a collection name as so far I'm stumped...

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