‘Think Differently’

Dyslexia isn’t the obvious inspiration point for a collection of interior fabrics, yet for our final degree project we were encouraged to choose a subject close to our hearts, and learning how to support our daughter through school with dyslexia remains exactly that.

‘Think Differently’ was my title, reflecting both how a dyslexic mind operates and to encourage a wider viewpoint regarding dyslexia in general.  I wanted my collection to stand alone aesthetically, yet dig a bit deeper and the designs tell a story.

Dyslexia Scotland was an obvious starting point for my research, as well as many other inspirational organisations all working to promote a similar message.  Visual research and developments naturally started with imagery such as the brain and brain cells, yet 6 weeks into a 16 week project I was going nowhere, until, I too started ‘thinking differently’ about my approach.  Revisiting my research I started to develop abstract visuals representing the 1:10 known to be dyslexic and thankfully the creativity began.  The next ‘eureka’ moment came in week 8 after watching ‘The Big Picture – Rethinking Dyslexia’, screened by Creative Stirling and Dyslexia Scotland. One comment, ‘crack the code’, immediately conjured up one of my 1:10 designs featuring dots and dashes and I couldn’t wait to get home and write ‘dyslexia’ in Morse Code.

After experimenting with various Morse Code ‘messages’ regarding dyslexia I chose to have a design which told both sides of the story.  The negative design read ‘dyslexia – a learning disability’ and the positive design read ‘dyslexia – a gift in life’, and so it grew from there.

Colour is all important and having researched the psychology of colour I adopted strong lime greens, and oranges which represent energy, enthusiasm and excitement; emotions I felt strongly that anyone with dyslexia who can crack their own code can enjoy. The choice of grey was a ‘happy accident’ – discovered when I quickly printed off some design ideas in black and white in the absence of a colour printer and it was decided that soft grey provided a good contrast. Unusual colours for anyone’s home I agree, although a final degree project is thankfully a chance to choose ‘concept’ over ‘commercial’.

I continued to develop designs that featured the Morse Code and 1:10 concepts and after many developments and samples I eventually settled on 4 designs I was ready to get digitally printed, leaving me to work on the designs I wanted to hand screen print.  At the same time I was learning how to screen print, navigate Photoshop and also sourcing furniture, fabrics, paints, dyes to create the final collection and equally thinking how I was going present my designs in the context of the interiors market.

The final deadline loomed and it was done, a curtain panel featuring a hand screen printed design embellished with hand embroidery accenting the morse code message, 2 digitally printed upholstered chairs, a hand printed side table and 4 cushion designs featuring both digital and hand printed designs with various stitch embellishments.  I was delighted with how the collection developed and how well it was received, and even more delighted to get a pass with distinction.

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All images and designs : © Caron Ironside 2013 All rights reserved

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