After my initial idea, the starting point for all my designs is often a single image. This can be something I have drawn or painted, as in the roses and emblems of the “Wars of the Roses” design, or, like the one of a peacock feather used for the peacock scarf, a simple photograph . More often than not it is a mix of the two.
Using the peacock image as our example, I first worked on the photo by painting highlights on the areas where I wanted to bring out the colours, then I cut the feather out and laid it over images of brass or bronze, then cut it out again. Using this process of cutting, blending and laying over of different backgrounds I am able to build up complex designs. This painstaking process can take several weeks, and requires the creation of multiple images. For example, the fan detail at the end of the peacock scarf, required me to create at one stage, almost 150 images, the clockwork jewel beetle on the “Steam Punk” design required about 20, and this small 2.5cm tudor emblem required the creation of all of the images above which does not include the resizings. Eventually the final versions of the elements are built up over the background and worked on once more until I achieve my desired effect. An advantage of using the digital process is that it means the scarves can be produced in bespoke quantities, meaning that all my designs are printed to order in small batches.
Inspiration can come from the strangest places.
I was searching for something that I could use for the background of a design I was working on, to do with Vicotrian Fairgrounds. I wanted something that was full of scrolls and glitter, but I'd come to the conclusion that I would have to paint what I needed. However, while I was waiting for my son in a barber's shop, I suddenly saw the footplate of the chair he was sitting in..just what I wanted!