Aleks Byrd Designs


Reflection and Redirection

It's been a few weeks into this project. Lots of reading, taking in a lot of information and reflection. It has been really helpful to engage with other people and peers to get another perspective on something I've been looking at and working so in depth on. I've always valued this feedback as a designer from illustration to now textiles to see if there is a market or interest in what I'm making. It brings it back to the Crafts Council Marketing workshop post - Why should someone be interested in you and your work?

And the overall question of WHY? 

Studio space board of inspiration and sketches photo taken by Aleks Byrd 2017.

Studio space board of inspiration and sketches photo taken by Aleks Byrd 2017.

Though sometimes the feedback can be confusing and conflicting. How do you let go of something you started with and redirect yourself? It can be hard to take a step back. In my freelance work it seemed easier because the work was about the client and their wants/needs. This project, as much as I might at times  think differently, includes more of me in the design process and presentation. What version of myself do I want to present in this collection/ project? I am interpreting information and visual information from my research, which inherently reflects my perspective as a designer.

I think its a matter of finding balance and being realistic.

  • How much to take on
  • Finding the right  information/sources
  •  Creating something that reflects my desires for the project and balancing that with feedback received and interest of the market.

For me right now that means finding the primary research (photos, objects) that speaks to me and the research I've done from secondary sources (visual inspiration sources and academic texts on knitting history and symbolism).

This circles back to why I'm interest and inspired by this topic? 

What I love about the various knitting and other handcraft tradition in the northern european countries is the range and variety of the patterns and colours! a large part comes from my love of the sheer range that comes out of Estonia, my connection to this part of the world. Just by looking at the pattern and colour palettes you can tell where a pattern is from, practically to the exact village. It is mind boggling to think a small country like Estonia can have so much rich variety. Having traveled to other areas in the this part of the world and just looking at photos its interesting to see the similarities and the differences that make certain motifs unique. I'm curious about the stories behind the motifs in these patterns... where do they come from? Do they represent something? Does it have symbolic meaning?

II also need to not worrying about making everything work perfectly right now- PLAY & EXPERIMENT! So I'm going to start playing and experimenting more with my sketches by collaging with yarns, photocopies and different papers- just expand and experiment with different medias!

I mentioned in my "Plans" post about taking on nordic culture of knitting and patterns mixed with textures. That seems like two very separate topics to take on and that was reflected in some of the feedback I received. The texture aspect is going to occur on its own in the making process- creating marks in sketching, embroidering on knits (experimenting with combining different textile techniques). 

I feel a little more focused now after jotting down my thoughts and organizing them.