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2019 winner - Zelma Balode

Colour in Design Award Winner 2019 - Zelma Balode

Graduate of Glasgow school of Art, Zelma also has a degree in architecture and it is within the structure, form and detail of buildings where she finds inspiration for her highly technical lenticular knitting process which allow fabrics to change colour in multiple fascinating ways.

Where did you study and what was the course title?

Glasgow School of Art, Textile design course - specializing in knit

Name of your lecturer – course tutor?

Leader of knit specialism course - Leigh Bagley

How important is colour in your work and how do you choose and narrow down colours?

Colour has always been an inspiration and the aim of my work. I have constantly tried to find the most creative and unconventional ways how to mix and play with colour in design and to push the boundaries what colour could do within knitted textiles.

I believe, choosing and narrowing down colours needs to be a fluid and flexible process. Ether starting from mute tones adding a pop of colour or doing the opposite, I think there needs to be a balance and an understanding to it, that comes with a lot of experimentation and trial and error.

Tell us about our creative process – where do you find inspiration?

As I have a bachelor’s degree in architecture, the interest for architectural form, structures and details has carried into my textile practice and has become a fundamental source of inspiration for my work.

What is the best bit of the creative process – journey or destination?

In my opinion, the best bit of creative process is the journey. It is not always an easy one, as it consists of a lot of failing, trying again and believing in yourself and what you want to achieve despite not knowing how to get there. The curiosity for the unknown and the discoveries you make along the way, will always keep you going and will ultimately guide you to your destination.

Creative high point?

There have been various small creative high points throughout this year, but the main one, undoubtably, has been the achievement of creating lenticular knitted structures which allow fabric to change colour in multiple ways.

Creative low point?

I have had many creative low points this year. Firstly, I debated and questioned everything I was doing and the reasons behind my work, secondly, working with colour has been challenging and, thirdly, pushing myself to the limit, in order to create something that is true to myself. In the end though, all these low points have evolved into being the high points of my creative process, because without failure and hard work I couldn’t have made anything.

Where do you want to be in 3 years’ time?

In 3 years’ time, I still want to do what I love, which is to design and create, challenge the ways you can use colour in design and push the boundaries of what is expected of knit. I want to be a part of a community of designers that don’t shy away from the problems the world is facing and works towards building a more sustainable and ethical future for next generations.

Is there one person during your studies/life who has really made a difference to you? – Maybe in terms of encouraging you when you were at a low point, pushing you in different directions unlocking your potential etc.

There have been many people who have helped me and have left a real impact on me – starting from my family and friends who have always supported my crazy endeavours, to all the lovely tutors and technicians at the Glasgow School of Art. I would single out my tutor Leigh Bagley as the person who has pushed me the most, supported me through low points of my creative journey and has always encouraged me to look beyond the obvious.

What does it mean to win a Colour in Design Award?

To win a Colour in Design Award means a lot to me, as I have worked so hard to push the creative use of colour and colour development in my design practice. I feel very grateful to be appreciated for my creations and hope this award will give me new opportunities and help to open doors for me in the future. Thank you so much.

What do you plan to do with the prize money?

This prize money will help me to further develop my project, it will give me the possibility to scale up and expand my designs and will give me the freedom to experiment a bit more too.

What is your favourite colour?

The short answer to this question would be navy blue, but realistically for me to pinpoint one colour in a favour above another would be impossible. The combinations and proportions of different colours next to each other make them special, so I will be cheesy here and say that I love all the colours equally.

Contact details

Instagram: @zbalode_design

Image credits: Zelma Balode

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