Natures Jewels – its beginnings

by now the news is out that I have won the Society of Dyers and Colourists International Design Competition.

Hong Kong SDC International Design Competition

This took place in Hong Kong at the beginning of December but the work started back in April 2012 where we were set a 4 week brief for 3rd year textile design to explore a trend forecast for the following year.  We were to research this along side the SDC brief which was to demonstrate the creative, imaginative and original use of colour in either fashion or textiles and the theme was to to Fashion Colour Responsibly.


  • colour as an integral component of the design process
  • development of the designs, from concept to final design product or application
  • excellent presentation and clarity of ideas
  • innovative or creative approach to incorporating some aspect of thinking around this year’s theme of ‘Fashioning Colour Responsibly’, within the original design and/or final design application.

The judges will assign marks for each of these four categories.


  • For regional heats, work to be mounted on a maximum of four boards of up to A2 size (please do not include any additional artwork/portfolio or finished garments).
  • type-written statement on one A4 sheet – no more than 500 words!
  • If you win your regional heat, you are encouraged to bring one extra piece of work to the grand final judging, this could be a finished article or a sample garment.

Basis of Submission

  • The work can be based on a fashion or textile design project produced as part of the standard course curriculum or specifically for the SDC International Design Competition.
  • Content is at the discretion of the student, and can include finished roughs, design sheets, illustrations, working drawings, mood boards, photographs, fabric indicators, material swatches, etc. At least one board must outline the colour theme with the colour palette clearly indicated.
  • Each submission must be uniquely titled and must be supported by a typewritten statement in English (no more than one A4 page / ~500 words) explaining the background and inspiration for the work.
  • Boards: these should be A3 (297 x 420 mm) or A2 (420 x 594 mm) in size, with your artwork securely mounted on. Never submit any more than the number of boards requested.
  • Only one entry may be submitted by each student.
  • A maximum of three entries per college; one tutor should be identified as the contact per college and be responsible for submitting an entry form.


In most instances, the students will be invited to bring their boards and statements to the regional heats. They will meet the judges and have the opportunity to give some background on their project and their use of colour. Where this is not possible alternative arrangements will be made.

Additional information

Fashioning Colour Responsibly – what will your approach be?

This year’s theme of ‘Fashioning Colour Responsibly’ must also be included in the design and/or the written statement.

The theme highlights issues around sustainability and the challenge of producing environmentally friendly textiles and fashion. Some people consider the textile industry to be one of the most environmentally harmful in the world. (Ideas to consider can be downloaded from the full brief opposite).

So I thought you might be interested in my process ~ here follows my sketchbook development and textile samples enjoy


Textile View is a trend forecasting journal which was full of inspiration and this was one of my starting points.  I chose their theme Beyond Nature as it was filled with colour and reminded me of the amazing bugs we have in the   D’Arcy Thomson Museum at Dundee University.  Ernst Haeckel was another inspiration with his amazing colourful detailed illustrations.



visit the D’Arcy Thomson Museum

silk cocoons

tied shibori – shaped with marbles, wooden balls, tied with thread

indigo dyeing – research sustainability across all areas of cloth colouring

sheen created with foils, angelina fibres

embroidery – tufted stitches mixed yarns nylon, monofilament


Inspiration from Poul Beckmann’s Living Jewels a beautiful book filled with amazing photography




pleats – heat pressed

gathers – stitch – elastic

folds – fan – paper – origami

 embroidery – free machine embroidery

Smocking use of pleating/pleater



Michelle Griffiths use of shibori

Issey Miyake Pleats Please



pleated fabric by Jurgen Lehl

photos taken in the D’Arcy Thomson Museum




fashion in bold and vibrant colours from Gucci and others



Chanel A/W 2012

Issey Miyake – Pleats Please

Issey Miyake – 3d Dresss



butterflies photographed at the D’Arcy Thomson Museum

Colour inspiration

folded and pleated fabric

below development from my design inspiration

using mixed media and collage

judy scott initial development 3

judy scott initial development 2

judy scott initial development 1

judy scott  development 4

judy scott initial development 8

judy scott initial development 9

judy scott initial development 10

judy scott initial development 11

shapes and marks




stencils and separations


fabric manipulated with heat and coloured with disperse dyes






dyed and pleated


below colour stories which didn’t work so well




judy scott initial development 12

dyes mixed ready to print and colour the next samples

judy scott initial development 13

judy scott initial development 14

stencils cut for the screen-printing

judy scott initial development 10

below initial experiments with acid dye and illuminant dye

judy scott initial development 15

judy scott initial development 16





experimenting with print and pleats

judy scott initial development 9

NOTE ~  The best work comes through developing on cloth as the sketch book pages cannot give the same appearance

and texture as silk cloth ~ below building up layers of dye, print and layers of colour onto silk

 – sand washed, heavy weight habotai, chiffon and organza


Cloth dyed and ready for over printing



Printing with illuminant dyes


after printing but before steaming


after printing but before steaming


after printing but before steaming


below are  some of the many samples I printed after the steaming process it really is like magic

and I am addicted to printing cloth this way




judy scott textile sample 2

judy scott textile sample 3

judy scott textile sample 4

judy scott textile sample 5

judy scott textile sample 6

judy scott textile sample 7

judy scott textile sample 8

judy scott textile sample 9

judy scott textile sample 10

judy scott textile sample 11

judy scott textile sample 12

judy scott textile sample 13


putting the fabric into context using adobe photoshop

judy scott textile sample 14

judy scott textile sample 15

dyed printed and pleated

judy scott textile sample 16

To show my work in context I used a photo of  catwalk model Ginta Lapina to give an idea of how the design would look in fashion


to do this I photographed the fabric

you can see below on the context board

Screen shot 2012-12-21 at 20.04.19

Books that I used as part of my inspiration were

Art Forms in Nature – Olaf Breidbach

Living Jewels: The Natural Design of Beetles – Poul Beckmann

Modern Shibori – Silke Bosbach

Sustainable Fashion and Textiles –  Kate Fletcher –  information about the lifecycle and sustainability  of fashion and textiles looks at practical alternatives, design concepts and social innovation. It challenges existing ideas about the scope and potential of sustainability issues in fashion and textiles and explores human needs and the slow fashion concept. Kate Fletchers’ best practice list explains a number of ways which large corporations can minimize the impact to the environment.

The fabric and yarn dyers handbook – Tracey Kendall

Traditional Scottish Dyers Handbook and how to use them  – Jean Fraser

Indigo – Jenny Balfour-Paul – All about indigo

Eco Colour – India Flint – Explains Environmentally Sustainable Dyeing

Natural Dye – Gwen Fereday – explains how cloth can be coloured using using 5 natural dyes and mordants

Memory on Cloth – Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada – Shibori as a means of patterning cloth

Structure and Surface – Cara McCarty and Matilda Quaid – Amazing textures by Japanese Textile Designers combining traditional Japanese craft  with new industrial techniques using unusual materials to produce incredible results.

Tinctorial – Bloom amazing images of natural dyeing

Three Dimensional Embroidery – Janet Edmonds

Art of Manipulating Fabric – Colette Wolf

You can see from the books above that I was considering colouring cloth using natural dyes, however after much reading I also realised that natural dyeing would not necessarily give me the vibrant colours I was looking for and that it also has an impact on the environment.  With only four weeks to complete I made the decision to use what I was already familiar with. I knew acid dyes on protein fibres would be perfect for this as the silk would have lustre and the acid dyes would give the impact and depth of colour I was looking for.  I also researched  how companies can use these dyes and still protect the environment.

This was my favourite brief, I so loved working with colour and it has set me up perfectly for my final year at DJCAD.  During the summer I created more cloth to make into scarfs to sell, below are some of the close up details of the designs, all inspired and using the same techniques as the above.




















6 thoughts on “Natures Jewels – its beginnings

  1. A wonderful post Judy and fascinating to see your progress. Many congratulations for your success to date and here’s to much more. Merry Christmas and Happy Hogmanay! xx

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