PDP Constellation and the Dissertation Process

Throughout my time at university I have often struggled to see how Constellation was relevant to my subject, Textiles. However, when I came to select my first Constellation option by Cath Davies “Smells like Teen Spirit,” I began to really enjoy this part of the course as it was something different from what I was doing in textiles. Though sometimes I still felt that it didn’t relate to what I was doing in Textiles, I enjoyed the lectures and concepts discussed. I went on to select Cath’s module in year two, “Goddesses and Monsters: Glamour and the Grotesque in Visual Culture,” the main idea which intrigued me in this module was the idea that femininity was a constructed notion. This was not something that I had researched before and the interest lead me to write about femininity in my dissertation. I also appreciated how Cath prepared us for writing essays. We were encouraged to analyse imagery using a column system which broke down the essay into smaller fragments. I studied English Literature and also Psychology at A Level so I was used to writing essays before starting university but it is not a strength of mine, so this was very helpful and made writing the essays less daunting.

When I look back over my journey of writing my dissertation, I feel that it has been a lot less of a struggle than I had originally thought. At the beginning of the process, I was quite apprehensive of the idea of writing an academic essay with a word limit of 10,000 words. The thing I struggled with most during the process was dedicating time specifically for my dissertation. I am a slow reader so needed to give myself a couple of days a week at least, in order to get through the books that I accumulated which related to my topic. However, I often put this off and decided to focus on my subject work instead. This was one of my biggest mistakes. During the process I learnt that I needed to balance my time. I feel that this was something which I achieved. I knew that I needed to complete a lot of the work over Christmas in order to have enough time to edit my dissertation.

I have been surprised by how interested I have been in my topic, for the most part, the research and reading has not felt like a task and I have really enjoyed it. I found that some of the books I read at the start were not completely relevant but soon found the specific areas which interested me and which I wanted to include in my dissertation.

I was left feeling quite disheartened after receiving my feedback from my dissertation proposal in second year. I felt that I had worked really hard on it and didn’t get the feedback I had wanted. However, looking back on my original proposal I can see that the feedback was fair and I had not been as clear and concise about my ideas, I had also not done enough reading in preparation for it. I feel that this feedback gave me a boost as I knew I needed to work harder if I wanted an overall better grade at the end of the process.

One thing I worried about during the writing of my dissertation is that my topic wasn’t really related to my subject of textiles, though tutors assured me that this didn’t matter, I felt that if I had a topic which I could relate more to my practice I could link in my research from my dissertation to my final major project in textiles. Though my chosen dissertation topic didn’t relate obviously to my practice, I think that constellation has helped me in my subject and field in other ways, including being more articulate when discussing my own work. Through the three years I have learnt skills in analysing imagery which has therefore helped me to analyse my own work. One way my dissertation has influenced my subject is that my investigation into how body types and ideals changed throughout time has inspired me to investigate how textiles has been changed due to events throughout time, including World War Two.

The main reason I decided to choose my topic about Body Image and the media is that I knew there was a lot I could read up on about it. I am not ashamed to say I wanted to make the process as easy for myself as I possibly could. As I have said previously, I don’t feel that academic writing is one of my strengths so I wanted to ensure I wasn’t worried about not finding enough material. I feel that I would have struggled a lot more if there wasn’t a lot of academic writing I could use for reading and researching whilst having to balance my time with projects in subject.

I feel proud that I have managed to complete this dissertation, as there were definitely times when I thought it wasn’t going to happen. I think these were more personal boundaries and excuses I made for myself rather than not actually being able to do the work. Once I got writing about my topic, I found that I didn’t struggle with what to say. I think this was due to the amount of books and journals I read before and during the writing process. However, this did then lead to its own problems, once I had finished my writing and counted my word count I found that I was over the word limit and needed to make my writing more concise in areas and not allow myself to discuss things that were not so relevant to the topics I was covering, however, I didn’t see this as a huge issue. One thing I really enjoyed doing was my content analysis which made up my second chapter, I wasn’t anticipating doing a form of research in my dissertation but it was really interesting and I think it helped me to build my argument more as the evidence for my argument was there in front of me.

Overall, I feel very proud and will hopefully be happy with the grade I achieve.



Professional Practice : Kirsty Stewart – Costings

This morning our professional practice lecture was run by Kirsty Stewart, who discussed ‘Costings.’ Kirsty owns a shop in one of the arcades in Cardiff and discussed with us how to cost a product, how to approach a retailer and how NOT to do it.

She explained to us the difference between cost price, whole sale, recommended retail price and trade price and also how to price a product.

Cost price – Tvery product has one, it covers everything to make the product, this includes rent, fabric, technique, personal time. Kirsty explained we have to keep this price to ourself!! Example – £20

Whole sale price – This is the price shops and galleries pay to have your product. Whole sale is the cost price plus mark up to ensure you make a profit. This price can be shared to retailers and galleries – do not send this to the press! Whole sale is normally twice the cost price. Example – £40

RRP – Recommended retail price is the price seen in shops and online. This price should be consistent. RRP is roughly 2.5 or 3 times the whole sale price. Example – £100-£120

Trade price – It is good to offer a trade discount, this is approximately 20% off retail price when ordering in bulk!


Kirsty then explained how to approach retail:

First, make a list of retailers that are relevant to your product. Visit them and ensure their shop would suit your products! Have a range of your products ready. Then ensure that you know what your target market is, for example, is your product aimed at mass market or higher brand, your target may work in Cardiff but may not work in London or vice versa, this will affect the price of your product. Next, you need to decide whether you want to sell online, in shops or wholesale.

Ensure you have a good brand and it is put together well. Email the retailer before you visit – this is polite! They will be ready to talk to you if they know you are coming. You can also send them samples through the post as a nice gesture.

Do NOT get the shop name wrong, have links that do not work, copy and paste emails and not edit them accordingly. Do NOT rock up out of the blue, do NOT ask them “how do i price my product” and do NOT offer different prices!


This lecture was incredibly helpful! Though I believe I would like to go into Buying once I graduate, I have always had a dream of selling my own items and think that I would like to do it as a side project at some point in my life. This was therefore very beneficial in knowing exactly how to and how NOT to go about this.


Colour Palette

I want to get a good start on this project and in my timetable for this week I have planned on doing mood boards. I had a tutorial with Keireine last week and she mentioned that it doesn’t matter if my mood boards are not hard copies, on boards for example. But that I should start gathering imagery and colours.

So far, I have started on my colour palette and theme board. I want my colour palette to be very feminine so a focus will be placed on muted, pastel tones. I wanted also to include darker tones to use for detailing within my drawings. I always find colour palette mood boards to be the easiest out of the four, theme, colour, client and market competitors. I may add more colours but this is a good start.

Colour Palette


Self Set Brief

BA (Hons) Textiles

Bethany Clarke st20044619

ADZ6888 Field 3: Exhibition

Self-Set Brief

Brief Title: A Homage to My Craft

Overall Aims and Objectives: To create a collection of textile and paper designs for the stationery and homewares market, aimed for the study or craft room. The collection will be Inspired by by the craft of textiles with a vintage 1940s and ‘50s theme yet the overall designs will be modernised. The collection will be aimed at women, aged between 15-30.

Specific Objectives:

• To explore the history of textiles and how it has influenced women

– The importance of textiles within World War 2, exploring the ‘Make Do and Mend’ campaign

– The importance of craft, specifically textiles in the Women’s Institute after it celebrated its 100 year anniversary last year

• To research colour and trend forecasts using WGSN to ensure the creation of an on-trend colour scheme for S/S 2017

• To create 4 mood boards which will display client, colour, theme and market competitors

• To create drawings from my theme, exploring a range of media

• To produce a final collection of fabric and paper designs, some which show:

– Co-ordinating designs

– Repeat patterns

– Alternative colourways

• To create a range of products which display my final designs as stationery and homeware products

• To create CAD visuals of my designs to show them in a study/craft room area

• To present my work in a professional and appropriate way in my exhibition space

Introduction to proposal which clarifies context, audience/market:

Since I was a young girl, textiles has been something I have enjoyed. I loved to experiment using a sewing machine, often resulting in badly fitting dresses for my Barbies in bizarre fabrics. It is something which has bonded the women in my family and I, especially, myself, my mother and my sister. The support from my family to always pursue things I enjoy rather than the things I feel I “should do” is the reason I am here in the final year of university, studying textiles. For these reasons, my Final Major Project will be “A Homage to my Craft.” I propose to research into the craft of textiles, and create a collection inspired by a vintage 1940s and ‘50s theme. I will create prints and patterns using drawings of vintage sewing machines and sewing accessories such as thimbles, knitting needles etc. as motifs and inspiration. I will modernise my theme and imagery to ensure the designs are current and on-trend. The collection will be for a study or sewing room accessories and stationery. I will show this by creating a range of products to display in the final exhibition of my work and also by using CAD visuals. The target market will be women from age 15 to 30. I have left the age range quite broad because I grew up working on a sewing machine and I do not want to restrict the age range and therefore eliminate where the inspiration from this project has come from.

Your Proposal – concept, materials, processes, techniques, area:

I would like to experiment using a range of techniques which I have enjoyed during my time at university. I feel it important to include different processes due to my chosen theme and inspiration. I found and developed skills in digital stitch in my previous project, creating designs for ‘New Home’ greeting cards. I intend to develop my skills further with this technique during this project. I will draw in an illustrative way, using the media of fine liners and other pens which I found to be successful in my previous project. In addition to the illustrative drawings, I wish to create mark making experiments which will be used within my designs inspired by marks within textiles processes including hand embroidery, knitting, crochet etc. I will use Photoshop and Illustrator to edit and create these drawings and mark makings into designs. I also aim to incorporate screen printing into this project, after enjoying it to create simple designs in the field project in second year. In addition to creating hand printed fabrics and paper designs, I will digitally print designs.

As the collection is specifically for women, I will be using very feminine colours included muted pastel tones such as duck egg blue, mint green, pastel pink and lilac whilst adding darker shades to incorporate depth and detail including tones of grey.


I shall be researching my theme and overall inspiration for this project in a number of ways:

• Library research including Journals e.g. Embroidery, Selvedge and Design books e.g. Print and Pattern Bowie Styles

• Artist and Designer research

• Colour and trend forecasting on WGSN

• The history of textiles and the handcrafted

– The WI and the influence of craft

– Make Do and Mend campaign during WW2

• Museum visits including The V&A and The London Sewing Machine Museum

• Comp shop of current products

• Primary research

– Visit independent haberdasheries, fabric and craft shops e.g. The Makery in Bath

Possible Outcomes:

• Research Folder

– Artist & Designer research

– Market research

– Colour

– Theme

– Trends

• Mood boards

– Colour

– Theme

– Client

– Market Competitors

• Technical File to include workshop samples and croquis

• Sketchbooks to include mark making and drawings

• Design progression in the form of drawings, ideas and prototypes

• CAD Visuals

• Reflective Journal and Blog Entries

• Written statement (1000 words)

• Exhibition statement (100-150 words)

• Final collection of designs displaying alternative colour ways, co-ordinating designs and repeat patterns in displayed exhibition

Publicity Options:

• Social media event page

• Posters and Leaflets

• Post on Cardiff Metropolitan website and on screens in university


My dissertation is finished! All my writing has been done and I have read and re read through to make sure of any spelling or grammar mistakes. I have sent off my dissertation to friends and family to proof read so I will wait for their comments before handing it in. I feel that the dissertation hasn’t been as bad as I had originally thought, I have given myslelf personal deadlines and kept on top of the work load, I have continued to read books and journals to inform my dissertation throughout the whole process and have attended each of the tutorials with Ashley, so any complications or challenges I was facing I was able to verbalise with her and get the help and advice I needed. So far my word count is at 9,609 without quotes which I am very happy with. In the beginning I thought I would struggle with 8,000 words so I’m proud that I have achieved it! At the end of this week I will be writing a PDP about my whole dissertation and constellation experience over the past 3 years at university.


For the past two weeks I’ve wanted to go into the workshops to practice screen printing, I didn’t spend a lot of time in the print room last term so I wanted to practice exposing a screen with Steve’s assistance and printing it. My plan was to screen print mark making experiments inspired by hand embroidery stitches. I created an experimental pattern of marks on Illustrator which I changed the size and design of in three different ways to screen print. Unfortunately, the pressure washer is broken and hasn’t been fixed these past two weeks so I’m still waiting to try out the technique. I wanted to try it this early on so that I could plan whether I was going to include it in my final designs or not. If the designs I do now are not very successful I do not want to add a technique I am not great at in my final designs! Hopefully in the next few days the pressure washer will be fixed! For now, I will experiment with mark making in stitch instead. 

Trip to St Fagans

In my timetable for this project I have given myself specific times for trips to gain research and inspiration. The first trip was to St Fagans, I remembered from going before that there is a section in st Fagans outside set up like a vintage village, there are a couple of shops and houses showing what they would look like and be decorated like during different eras. I hoped that there would be houses set up to look like the 1940s and 50s and hoped that there would be some kind of craft related things lying around as I couldn’t remember from my last visit. Fingers crossed for a singer sewing machine! 

Unfortunately when I got there, here wasn’t too much in the way of inspiration for my raft theme but I took photos of the shop window displays as they were very much vintage themed so thought they could come in use for inspiration in so,e way or another. No luck on my vintage sewing machine. 😦 Tomorrow, I will go to All Saints in town and take pictures of the sewing machines they display in the window as I know they have them for definite!