Craft is Knowledge

Changes are coming to Duncan of Jordanstone.  This happens every 5 years within educational establishments and the last few months have been a busy time for tutors, lecturers and those who involved with writing new modules and programme reviewing.  I was amongst some of the students who attended workshops to help those planning the review and last week was also interviewed by a group of external reviewers from around Great Britain.  This was very scary but also a huge step in boosting confidence that has been a little low of late.

Textile Design, Jewellery Design and Interior and Environmental Design are to be grouped together under a new umbrella – Design and Craft, this is a very  exciting time with the hope that some projects could possibly run side by side and give design students a chance to see how the other areas work through sharing ideas.  New modules are also to be introduced but at present nothing has been confirmed.  I  feel its very forward thinking of the University to put Craft in our title.  Craft is knowledge, its knowing a skill inside out. Duncan of Jordanstone has always been forward thinking and are the only university to offer Design Studies looking at designing for the future, teaching us the importance of networking for business, giving us the opportunity of finding our stage on the world wide web and  giving us the opportunity to research now, not just at Masters level. This together with the practical craft skills we are learning will give us great strength when we graduate.

For the Programme Review day a selection of my work was on display for all to see – I was so thrilled. Its from my trend forecasting project – Stripes of the Sea and includes pages from my sketch book and samples of my printing. Context for this project is for one off pieces to be hung in corporate offices, gallery work and as installations – hopefully this is just the start!


Assignment Two – what images mean

We’re probably almost there with our latest assignment and over the week since returning from Premiere Vision its been clear that we definitely need more than a week to complete and get the most from the task but its been good fun – I’ve had psychology and language students –  a roofer, staff nurse and teachers to name a few, analyse our ink blots!   The replies they gave were very to the point and were one or two word answers, my daughters and son however really went into the images in a big way even though I didn’t tell them anything previously but then all three are very artistic. I have a lot of artistic friends outside of  university who also saw the blots and they really went to town giving detail and making up stories – great imaginations and in one case perhaps a bit worrying!!  We’ve still not had the same answer response from everyone so tomorrow we’ll change the image again and carry on through the week till we get the same description, we might even add text.

Thinking about it in terms of my discipline was rather more tricky,  graphic designers creating adverts  have a story to tell and they can easily reach their target audience by the types of images and text they use. We learned in semester one how redundant words add context and help to understand the message behind the picture. As designers we can lead the ‘reader’ to understand by visual persuasion.

Below is a really basic idea of what I’m trying to say and I seriously hope no graphic designers are around (Jonathan is an exception though), the text changes the context of the same photograph.






Entropic communication (without redundant words)  from designers is aimed at  a specialist audience e.g. Web Designers, their design will probably be more cryptic and use language only the specialists understand. This was discussed last semester to some degree about unusual art and how at first it doesn’t fit in to the everyday world but once its seen more often, it becomes more accepted. Perhaps this is how  textile design works, on a more subtle level.  After recently attending Premiere Vision, a trend forecasting exhibition in Paris, the strength and power forecasters and designers have was very evident although I had never realised just how much! Here the story behind each season is told ready to capture the eager eyes and senses of the visitors with colours and fabrics, whether its print knit or weave they are all decided for us and very cleverly influence  the designers and buyers who are there so that their store or collection will be the top seller, make lots of money and be  featured in the magazines whose target audiences follow religiously.  They have to get it right and using trend forecasting is the way to go if you’re in it to reach the high street.  Here we’re being very cleverly told what we want through the business of trend forecasting.  Sounds like I should have been at the lecture given by Hamid whilst I was in Paris, dealing with Mass Culture and Sustainability.

Ill try to explain about Mass Culture by equating it to Karl Marxs’ views that what is the most popular opinion by  the largest group of people  should be accepted as true.  Premiere Vision and Textile View, Textile Report and Viewpoint with their trend forecasting do just this.  They’re a huge voice in the textile world and as I said previously if the high street stores and independent designer want to survive they have to go with the mass.  Sadly today there is a downside to this, we are bombarded by images of how we should look and what we should wear and in turn made to feel inadequate if we don’t follow the trends, they are a status symbol and what were once simple meaningful holidays, such as Easter and Christmas have been taken over by the must have devices or confectionary, being cleverly sold through adverts on TV and in magazines.  For the everyday consumer it’s getting more difficult to keep up and so like Henry Ford standardising the car, making it accessible to the everyday person, by producing massive quantities the price was kept low, factories in poorer countries are being used to create throw away fashion.  Its value of no worth compared to the 50’s and 60’s when you saved for the new goods which were hitting the high street and they were treasured and cared for.

Do we have a choice when the voice influencing us is so big? Independent designers could produce their own trends but how long before they too become the must haves.

Trend Forecasting

The new project for semester two has started and what better way than with a little jaunt to Paris!!! Yes we’re off to Premiere Vision and Indigo for all things “Future Forecasting” .

For the next 6 weeks were taking one of the trends forecasted for this year -I’ve chosen Summer 2011.  Seaside Stripes is my title and  I’ve to research and develop my own ideas and present a fully explored sketchbook, development boards and printed textile samples.  The colours forecasted by Textile View are aquatic blues and greens, black and white with pinks corals and oranges and inspired by the sea side and underwater!  I’ve started by drawing and photographing in the East Neuk of Fife – just on my doorstep as well.  Thanks to the fishermen of Fife for some amazing boats …..

Tonight see’s me on the sleeper to London and then Eurostar to Paris tomorrow – Wednesday we’re at Premiere Vision and Thursday is the day to see as much as possible! I cant wait – so until the weekend Im signing out and look forward to telling you all about it.