inspiration and design process by Zoe Burt Ceres artists in Residence at MoDa

2019-05-23T07:36:23Z (GMT) by Zoe Burt
This project is part of Ceres Artists in Residence at The Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (MoDA). The aim of the residency was to use objects from MoDA's collection as a starting point for exploration of natural prints and dyes with the aim of raising the awareness of sustainability in design research.

These documents highlight the inspiration and design process together with outcomes.

Circles and leaf print
The circle is a key motif in design. Here I using the archives to cross fertilise inspiration from the katagami autumn leaf K2.48 and “reciprocation” by Barbara Brown from 1962. Dropping the decayed leaf I had pressed and scanned into photoshop into a circle motif to create a repeat design. I printed citric acid circles and iron leaf screen print patterns first before dyeing the fabric with weld extract onto wool. I then overprinted with 2 blue colours: saxon blue and indigo mixed with chlorophyllin. After printing, the fabric was dried then steamed to fix the colour. Washed with cold to warm water. The wool was scoured and pre-mordanted with alum

Nature inspiration print
Inspiration for this design came from Wallpaper produced by Sanderson and Sons 1925, SW2258 (image top left) together with another image from the archives seen on a site visit: the image of the moon through the trees.
The textile design I made inspired by these images uses a large moonlit circle as a central motif, with rose leaves pressed from my garden as a resist print. The hemp-silk fabric is dyed with saxon blue and printed with a saxon blue print paste. The colours evoke a sense of contemplative evening time.

Geometric inspiration
The inspiration for these prints came from a small Enid Marx watercolour geometric design sketch, a copy of which I pasted into my sketchbook, seen on a site visit and shown here. I tried different interpretations in my sketchbook. I carefully cut-out paper stencils from newsprint, to print design options onto hemp-silk fabric. This was pre-mordanted with alum and dyed with lac then printed with logwood, cutch and saxon blue. I added some handcrafted mark-making using edges of cardboard to add a more artistic flare akin to the style shown in the original.

Zoe Burt – Ceres
This document gives an insight into the Ceres design collaboration and MoDA residency. It illustrates the initial collective starting points of inspiration highlighted through a lens of natural dyes, prints and sustainability and my own individual approach to researching the archives.

Katagami inspiration
The inspiration for these textile prints come directly from the katagami archives at MoDA. The katagami stencils are exquisite items in themselves made from layers of mulberry paper, soaked in persimmon juice then smoked to a rich shade of brown. These toughened papers are then cut-out with incredible precision to form a resist repeat for printing with rice flour pastes to be dipped in indigo to make everyday blue and white cotton kimonos in Japan.
Here I have taken the fluid rhythm of the katagami designs as a key element to follow and used multiple layers of carefully yet intuitively cut paper stencils to create dynamic repeats using natural dyes and print pastes on hemp silk and linen. Backgrounds dyed with madder and onion skins printed with brazilwood, logwood, saxon blue and iron. Photos show sketchbook pages and fabric samples drying in the wind at Designme print studios in Brixton.