I have always found the sea to be such an abundant and enchanting source of inspiration.

For someone who works with textiles, as a theme it offers so much in terms of texture, colour, mood and pattern.

To me, the seaside can mean 2 things: either the subtle, understated but deeply haunting, sand or pebble coastlines of the UK, or the exotic, sandy beaches in hotter countries, where the waters shimmer with the brightest colours, exhibited in tropical sea creatures. Of course I am generalizing, but those are the associations I have!

Anyway back in January I decided that it had been far too long since I had explored the ocean in a textiles project, so I looked at lots of images of marine life online. I felt most drawn to corals because of their delicate, lacy patterns; jellyfish, because of the beautiful, dreamy and muted, transparent colours and the arrangement of fish scales in mesmerising iridescent and glittering colours. My aim has been to explore each of these qualities.

I began by drawing some of the patterns found in corals. To begin with they were hard to decipher, however with practice, I made more sense of them. It wasn’t long before the potential for patterns became obvious.

In terms of colour, I actually really like the fact that both incredibly intense colours are present, as well as more gentle pastel versions. I chose to use watersoluble pencils and watercolours to explore some of the strong colour combinations.

My next consideration was how to explore the addition of iridescent effects. I decided to experiment with metallic papers, crumpled and dry-brush painted.

I also painted on glitter paper with gesso, leaving areas unpainted to subtly reveal areas of sparkle.

I was most pleased with the effect created by painting on holographic paper.

As I am also very interested in transparency, I have also looked at how tracing and tissue paper can be used with colour.

Now I am working on combining these elements as well as considering ways I can use textile materials and processes.

Lourdes x

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