Following the launch of our Midwinter collection earlier this month, we invited Royal College of Art graduate and textile print designer Lucy Day to our Fulham HQ. We found out all about her creative process and the inspiration behind the prints she created exclusively for our Midwinter collection.
Tell us about your artistic background and what drew you to textiles.
While at school and sixth form I followed a fine art path until I enrolled to an Art Foundation course. During the beginning weeks of this course, where we explored a range of artistic subjects, I came across textiles. I had always been an expressive painter but had never applied these ideas to material, and when I experimented with this is felt like a natural fit and progression. I love travel, in particularly natural environments, and found textiles an outlet to tell stories of these journeys and capture the atmospheres of these places. I then continued my studies on to a BA in Fashion and Textiles at Colchester School of Art where I specialised in printed textiles. In my second year of study I was selected for a competition called FAD where I designed and made a mini hand printed collection which was showcased on the catwalk at London Fashion Week, this was an amazing achievement for me. It was during this experience I met the then head of MA Textiles from the Royal College of Art, Clare Johnston, and was prompted to
consider furthering my studies at the RCA. I jumped at this opportunity as I had dreamed of studying at the RCA but always thought it was out of reach. I was extremely fortunate to secure a scholarship from Orla Kiely to undertake my studies. I utilised these 2 years to unpick and rebuild my work. At first this was daunting, but this time of play and experimentation made me a much better designer and the experience of being at the RCA grew not only my skills but my confidence. At the end of my MA I was selected for Texprint (now Texselect) which was a fantastic opportunity to build relationships with industry experts and make contacts with companies that I would never have met without the experience of going to show my collection at Premiere Vision. It was here that I met the lovely Wrap team and they asked me to create a print story for their mid winter 2018 collection.
Where did you take inspiration from when designing the prints for our collection?
Wrap's design team proposed a really exciting research board to me at the beginning of the project which was bursting with leafy greenery, concrete textures and rich velvets. From this starting point I gathered photographic images and organic materials which I then collated together with colour and material swatches to establish the mood. From this source of materials I began generating marks and textures inspired by the juxtaposition of the luscious plants and greenery, with the distressed textures of the Barbican's concrete surroundings. I try to visit Kew Gardens every season and have a huge bank of photos from each which I always refer to. The change in flowers, mood and colour is amazing from Spring through to Winter and so building a collection from all of these gives me an abundance of resources and
inspiration. For this project in particular I looked at a variety of plants and flowers but the final prints were inspired by plant fronds pushed up against steamy greenhouse glass and Protea flowers nestled amongst a tangle of leaves and vines.
How did you create the stunning texture and movement in the prints?
For this project I really wanted to achieve the organic textures and imperfections I usually achieve through the screen printed textiles I make, so used layering of drawing techniques and the building of materials to capture these. I created texture by combining drawing materials that resist and interact with each other such as oil pastels, inks and paints. Wetting the paper before applying paints and pens is also a way I achieve interesting textures though drawing. The movement I created is due to painting expressively and loosely on larger sheets of paper, and drawing in a natural and instinctive way. The size of the paper is really important to me when I don't want to work in tight and controlled way. It was also important to consider the placement, direction and motion of the plant trails across the fabric when working the print designs up on the computer.
What process do you go through when creating a new prints and which part do you
enjoy the most?
I usually work on multiple prints at the same time and it isn't a very controlled or regimented process so it changes each time. It usually begins with taking photos and establishing mood and colour. This is often inspired by natural environments, either close up details and textures within them, or the vast shapes and undulations of the landscape. I then start painting and mark making instinctively from the photographs I have taken or sometimes create first hand drawings in the environments. I work with a number of drawing
materials at one time and use them in as many ways as possible like using dried up paint brushes and found sticks dipped in ink which helps create more organic marks. My favourite part of the process is colouring the designs and seeing them come to life!
Finally, where can we find more of your beautiful work and are there any exciting new
projects you are working on?
You can see more of my work on my website www.lucy-day.co.uk or my instagram page @ lucyjayneday. I am currently working in the studio on hand printed textiles and paper art works to be hung as wall hangings or framed for the home. I am always excited to discuss commission projects and collaborations, and have recently made some bespoke hand printed scarves and collaged textile artworks which was not only fun to create, but lovely to see enjoyed and worn.