Thursday, 14 May 2015

Design Journal: Sonia Delaunay Exhibition

So last weekend I went to see the Sonia Delaunay exhibition at the Tate Modern in London. I was particularly interested in seeing her work because her name pops up a lot in my research, and I just find Delaunay's use of colour intriguing. Unfortunately I wasn't able to take any pictures (which I find so frustrating! there was so much stuff I needed to take pictures of), but I have found some online from the exhibition.
My favourite part of the exhibition was the large room featuring her textiles. I was particularly interested in an old sketchbook of her's which had several interesting print ideas, including some stripes which relates to my work. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find these prints anywhere else, not in books or on the internet - which is very disappointing. Looking back, I could've attempt to sketch it somehow - but I'm so used to the V&A not allowing sketching that I didn't think about it. (I personally think banning sketching is ridiculous, and I think exhibitions should allow students to take photo's with no flash)

Sonia Delaunay's work, for the most part, can be conceived as very 'straight forward' and not overly complicated. However, her portraits in particular have a lot of detail and I just love the fact that she doesn't use any 'regular' (e.g skin tone) colours. But her other but more well known work, such as her colourful shapes, is not necessarily simple but it could be mistaken for being so. But I sometimes feel simplicity is the hardest thing to achieve. Even within my own designs I'm almost trying to create something that appears simple in a clever way - I don't feel complicated always works, particularly for high-street/wearable garments. 


Delaunay's understanding of colour is what I appreciate most. I think for me, colour is one of the most important, and difficult parts of forming a collection. I also feel that for me personally, I am drawn to very particular colour formations, which seem to be similar to Sonia Delaunay's. I'm still trying to come up with a stripe pattern at the moment, and it's the colours that I'm thinking about most so I keep referring to Delaunay's work. I was able to see my tutor yesterday, and she thinks it would be a lot easier to just find a stripe that matches my floral print (which is going to become my colour palette) but I haven't been having much luck. We were also discussing that because my floral actually has some black in it, it means I can bring some black into the collection which opens it up to a lot more people. However, I don't think I want to make any black garments, just have them in my line-up, but I also want black to very much be a background colour and to keep my collection very bright and light.

I have been experimenting with watercolour and ink on paper this week, both with stripes and florals, and I'm hoping I have time to scan them in and digitally play with them soon. At the moment I'm focussing on my module 2 hand-in (as I've got a 4 week extension) which is very soon, so I'm trying to get a presentation together. I know I won't have a fully finished garment ready, but my aim is to have a fully toiled dress in mock stripe fabric, which I feel is the best I can do in this short time limit. I think it would also be good if I can get some print samples done - if I can find time - but I have a lot of other work that needs catching up with, and my tutor keeps reminding me that I'm not a print student. I'm never going to be a print designer, however print and colour is very important to me and I'm very particular, and most of the time I don't see what I'm after in fabric shops - plus I feel a stripe will be attainable for a beginner in the length of time I have... hopefully. I have signed up to attend New Designers with the rest of the class at the end of June, which you have to have just 1 garment to show there, which for me is very scary and worrying when I'm a month behind everyone else, but I think it is doable. I'm trying to stay positive, and a lot of my coursemates have been giving me a pep talk this week. It seems to everyone else it's clear what I'm doing, except to myself! So I just need to remember why I'm here, and that I'm in control of my own MA. I think it's about time that I start having confidence in my work, and doing what I want to do, and what I've wanted to do for so long!

Until next time,


  1. Hi Charlotte,
    though I don't really comment all that often I would like to let you know how much I love your design journal!! Whenever a new post is up I get really excited, because following your creation process helps me understand much better how much thought it takes to design something... until I find it on a hanger in a shop to buy.
    Keep up the good work, I am really looking forward to see how your pieces turn out (and to maybe get to buy & wear an original "Charlotte" dress at some point).
    Best wishes,

    1. Hi Vicky,
      Thank you so much for commenting!
      It's so lovely to hear that people are enjoying my journal posts and that I'm able to give you an insight into the design world!
      Awww, it is my dream to have people like you wearing my clothes! Fingers crossed.

      Charlotte xx