Nature, Art-Botany, Aesthetics, Emotional Design, Ornament and Craft.


In previous MA modules, I researched Ornamentation, Adornment, Decoration and Craft.

A key research finding was the importance placed on the study of Nature and Botany by artists such as Giorgio Vasari (Le Vite,1550), Owen Jones (Grammar of Ornament, 1910), Alice Twemlow (The Decriminalization of Ornament, 2005), Christopher Dresser (The Art of Decorative Design, 1862) and Stuart Durant (Ornament, A Survey of Decoration Since 1830, 1986).

Nature has always been something I related to, perhaps because of my rural upbringing in the lakelands of County Fermanagh.  Also, having worked in a garden centre throughout my teens, I’m on a first name basis with most Flora.

Currently, I am experimenting with Botanical-styled drawings with an aim of developing them into prints for the Soft-Furnishings market.  My prototypes include hand and digital prints for cushions.

The images below detail my work to date, please browse and if you like a particular piece please leave a comment, including the Image Number, and your comments.  Likewise for critiques/criticisms, etc.

Image 01 – Sample print of Foxglove on 100% linen, two colours.

Image 02 – Close-up of Print.

Image 03 – Working on my colourways.

Image 04 – Sourcing colour inspiration from editorials.

Image 05 – Thinking about fabric compositions, with respect to my brand identity.

Image 06 – Colour inspiration from natural images.

Image 07 – Alternative colourways. I expect to experiment with this colourway in a digital print.

Image 08 – Colour Sampling.

Image 09 – Experimenting with a dark background and coloured foreground within my printing development.

At this stage I began to prepare my pigments, which I found took more time than the actual printing process itself, somewhere in the region of 80% prep time 20% printing time.

Image 10 – With my colour selection completed, it was time to prepare for printing and mixing of colours.

Image 11 – Prepared pigments matched to colour board.

Image 12 – Additional pigments to use in my prints.

Image 13 – One further pigment added.

Screen preparation.  This involved exposing my sketches onto screens, which took about 80 seconds per screen.

Image 14 – Two examples of many screens used. Each colour required a different screen.

Within my prints, I aim to feature a Botanicalstyle; from my drawings right through to the colour palette. I want to complement Flora with Fauna (well, Insect Fauna) because I feel with so many floral prints already in the market, Insect Fauna brings a point of difference. Now, for a look at some Print samples…

Image 15 – Hand print, four colours on 100% cotton. Front of cushion.

Image 16 – Collection of Insect Fauna, four colours on 100% cotton. Back of cushion.

Image 17 – Close-up of Insect Fauna. Two colours.

Image 18 – Close-up of Insect Fauna, 1 colour.

Image 19 – Anemone Hand screen print, four colours, 100% linen base cloth.

Image 20 – Anemone, close-up, I like the contrast between the colour and black line on the leaf.

Image 21 – Anemone.

Image 22 – Flower Bud, Hand screen print, three colours on 100% Linen.

Image 23 – Flower bud Close-up.

Image 24 – Flower Bud close-up. Happy with the contrast between the black lines and coloured leaves.

Image 25 – Experimenting with colours and layout. Cotton, linen mix.

Image 26 – Close-up of Anemone. Experimenting with a blue outline colour (instead of black). Considering the contrast in dark and light colour tones.

Image 27 – Close-up of bug. I expect to draw more aesthically pleasing bugs rather than having too many beetles. Beetles, I found, are used regularly within interior furnishings. I aim for more original material, therefore more unusual bugs.

Image 28 – Foxgloves within print experimenting with colour combinations.

Image 29 – Four colours on linen base cloth.

Image 30 – Close-up of print.

Image 31 – Anemone and flower bud on cotton base cloth. I like the base cloth colour with this print think it works well together.

Image 32 – Close-up of Anemone flower head.

Image 33 – Close-up of Mayfly. Two colours, cotton base cloth.

Image 34 – Contrasting black lines and colour. Use of black lines to highlight detail within the print.

Image 35 – Close-up of Anemone.

Image 36 – Hand print created using several screens. Each colour is a different screen used.

Image 37 – Bugs for back of cushion to coordinate with front of cushion colours.

Image 38 – Working with two colours light blue and black.

Image 39 – Another close-up to see the two colours used in print.

Image 40 – Screen print for front of cushion. Three colours on linen base cloth.

Close-up of print.

Image 41 – Close-up of print.

Image 42 – Close-up of bug. Two colours creates a shadow effect.

Image 43 – Colourway experimentation. Light coloured outline.

Image 44 – Colour testing and layout with Foxglove and bugs. Cotton base.

Image 45 – Close-up of Foxglove. Experimenting with colour.

Image 46 – Experimenting with colours.

Image 47 – Experimentation with layering prints.

Image 48 – Working with an all-over bug print, onto paper. Experimenting with layout.

Image 49 – Screen print with hand painted elements onto paper.

Image 50 – Colour sample onto cotton.

Image 51 – Colour and layout sample on canvas.

Image 52 – Experimentation with layers.

Image 53 – Testing out base cloths (Linen).

Image 54 – Sampling on different coloured base cloths.

Image 55 – Sampling screen print with hand paint elements.

Image 56 – Close-up screen print with light blue hand painted element.

Image 57 – Hand painted areas with screen print.

Image 58 – Working with Insect Fauna and Flora.

Image 59 – Sample print with bugs. Hand screen print and paintbrush.

Image 60 – Light grey screen print, followed by painted by hand in dark blue, followed by black screen print outline.

Image 61 – Screen print and hand painted.

Image 62 – Early colour testing on cotton.

Image 63 – Close-up. Four colours on cotton. 

Within the print room…

Image 64 – Front of cushion.

Image 65 – Back of cushion.

Image 66 – Drying.

Image 67 – Viewing prints together.

Image 68 – Freshly printed.

Image 69 – Mid print…

Image 70 – Finished print.

Image 71 – Cushion front and back. All I need to do now is get it made!

Image 72 – Front of cushion.

Image 73 – Back of cushion.

Image 74 – Digital print samples. Printed today!

Image 75 – Foxglove digital print on black background, cotton.

Image 76 – Foxglove digital print on grey background, cotton.

Image 77- Bleeding Heart. Hand screen print on cotton, seven colours.

Image 78 – Close-up of Bleeding Heart hand screen print.

Image 79 – Foxglove. Hand screen print, four colours on striped cotton.

Image 80 – Close-up Foxglove print.

Image 81 – Close-up Foxglove in pink colourway. Hand screen print, four colours on striped cotton cloth.

Image 82 – Bleeding Heart. Hand screen print, 7 colours on green cotton basecloth.

Image 83 – Close-up hand screen print on green cotton cloth. Black line detail.

Summary: My theme is Nature, featuring Botanical styled depictions of Flora and Fauna. Please provide critical appraisal on any area of my work; methods, sketches, colours, materials, compositions, scales, etc. Also, I’m looking for any feedback regarding my print samples.  Do you like them? If so, why? If not, same question? Did you have a favourite? I initially aim to release these prints on Soft-Furnishings, specifically Cushions.  Would you buy a Cushion featuring any of these Prints? Is there any other fabric compositions that you would like to see feature any of the above prints? More images to come,  of cushions made up and some digital prints! Thanks for taking the time to examine my work,  Bronagh.


Inside Cole & Son

I’ve been a big fan of Cole & Son‘s work, in particular their Fornasetti collection.  My favourites from that collection, if I had to choose are Fiori, and Mediterranea.

Cole & Son's Fiori

Cole & Son’s Fiori

Cole & Son's Mediterranea

Cole & Son’s Mediterranea

Also, the Contemporary I and Contemporary II Collections are inspirational!  The variety of the individual prints…all very unique, and Malabar’s unique use of Paisley is really engaging.

Cole & Son's Malabar

Cole & Son’s Malabar

I’ve also found an excellent video that offers a look inside the magical print rooms of Cole & Son and thought I’d share it with you.

Also, their recent collection, Geometric gets a nice introduction here from Cole & Son’s Managing Director, Simon Glendenning.

Lastly, a Cole & Son feature from the TV series How Do They Do It.