This exercise is a set or 3 preparatory stages for working with my chosen theme of ‘place’ with the emphasis on my own garden.
The exercise starts with the introduction of mind maps which I have used previously and find really useful for brain storming and which I have found I will go back when necessary adding further ideas. I have written my theme in the centre of my A3 sketchbook page and then developed the web of connections around this and this has proved really useful. I discovered that as I ‘zoned in’ on my theme I realised what I really love is the flowers and hanging baskets as these provided so much joy last summer and continue to do so this year and I can see potential for a variety of ideas particularly when combined with some of the beautiful shapes the blooms and petals created.
The second exercise was with regard to colour palettes and this I found really interesting and exciting to do. The first palette on the left hand page at the top was based on one of the predicted summer trends for this year with soft delicate colours. From this point on I tried 4 other differing colour palettes with two based on photographs of my garden and two based on summer 2017 trends which I found on Pinterest. Finally I did one extra colour palette which is essentially my dream garden colour palette and which I am gradually adapting my plants to – this final colour scheme consists of 6 colours as opposed to the 5 requested.
The course work asks you to choose a colour palette from which to continue to work on and I chose the dream palette albeit with slight modifications as I added two colours from the hanging basket palette and removed the yellow but also added a taupe and a green which bear similarities to the colour palette on on the left hand page at the bottom left and this can be seen on the following theme boards. I am aware that ideally I should have chosen one singular 5 colour palette but felt that my basic palette should consist of 7 main hues with the addition of two extra to reflect variety seen in my garden – however, the colour palette is still quite restrictive in that it does not have the brighter hues such as the yellows and oranges of the nasturtiums or daisies that I love so much but rather sticks to the pinkier hues of the clematis, roses and fuchsias and cherry blossoms.
Finally the course material requires me to make two A3 theme boards which communicates my chosen theme and conveys my colour palette – okies this is so much easier to type than it was to do …. one of those ‘oh this will be a doddle as I know the theme so well and I can get done really quickly’ exercises but in truth 5 hours later and I had nearly thrown the A3 card, photos, paint swatches etc out of the window several times!!
As required by the course material I wanted to convey the images, colours, textures and materials if possible and also to define the mood or essence with an emphasis on layout, colour and texture whilst presenting a carefully designed and professional result …. again so easy to type and makes sense in words!
Taking inspiration from the course material I worked on both of my theme boards together with the first having my chosen colour palette paint swatches.
With one exception all the images are photographs taken in my garden last summer or literally in the past week or so – many of the photographs were taken to capture the colours or texture of just purely the shapes and patterns that the petals created. I also added swatches of fabric and some paper reflecting possible textures and ideas – two of the fabric swatches are scraps from my late Mum’s stash with others being cottons or calico which I hand-dyed last summer.
Finally I am asked to write a 200 written review of my creative decisions and again this is easier said than done at this point. The colour palettes were enjoyable to do and took considerable inspiration from my Pinterest boards which I am now really finding a valuable source of research and following on from this I expected the theme boards to be a simple affair and as expressed above found them frustratingly difficult. I settled on a collage style presentation as I do not have photo shop or similar on my laptop but this meant spending a considerable time going through a huge number of photographs taken last summer selecting ones that were clear enough to be able to communicate my theme and convey my colour palette. Once the required images had been chosen I found the actual arranging to create a profession result took considerable time and thought but this is where I decided to search my fabrics and papers to find ones that matched my theme appropriately – this aspect again required considerable thought as I did not want to just add a scrap of fabric or paper for the pure sake of enhancing the board but rather because it has a potential use. I specifically wanted to convey my love of the colours of my chosen palette combined with the defined shapes of the buds or blooms with the textures being a secondary aspect but this does come through due to the clarity of some of my images and which will now provide further inspiration.
Overall yes I did find this final exercise frustrating but I am happy with the final results and can without question see how useful theme boards can and will be in terms of being part of the process of design and particularly in conjunction with mind maps and trying a variety of colour palettes.