Graduate of the Glasgow School of Art studying Textile Design, Ella found inspiration for the project that grabbed the judge’s attention under her toes on a beach in Greece. Her sensitivity to colour and her expert use of it within her knitted fabrics is outstanding. Find more about Ella and what she wants to be inspired by next.
How did you feel about being spotted as a One to Watch and what does it mean to you?
I was delighted to be selected as One to Watch. Colour is such an important part of my process so to receive recognition from a group of such established designers and practitioners is very encouraging.
How important is colour in your work and how do you choose and narrow down colours?
Colour is usually the first place I start within a project. For this piece, I gathered colour research from a collection of pebbles, picked from the beaches of the Argolic Gulf, Greece. I was limited to the colour possibilities by how many pebbles I could actually fit in my suitcase home! Later I created a more curated selection of the stones by experimenting with different combinations of four pebbles.
I experimented with colour tests on the knitting machine to see how well they blended together. This established the basis of my plan for colour combinations when knitting my samples. However, I often don’t stick to the plan, getting too excited by the endless possibilities! In the end I tried to knit every sample in a different colourway to see what worked and what didn’t. Due to the nature of the knitted structures, it was important to see how the colours looked in context compared to just block stripes. This is due to the way the colours blend when the yarn is plated.
What is your main source of inspiration?
I am really inspired by pattern. In this instance, I really enjoyed experimenting with how negative and positive space within pattern can create a three-dimensional material. I am also heavily inspired by the design movements Weiner Werkstätte and Bauhaus and the idea that good design can be appreciated in all facets of life. I think by having more thought, and creating more meaning, one generates a slow design practice that adds value to garments. I really love this as a design philosophy.
What makes you happiest/most fulfilled in your creative process?
I find that a really hard question to answer as so many different parts of the process make me happy. I really love taking an idea or design to the machine and not always knowing how it’s going to turn out. The STOLL knitting machine really enabled me to experiment fully with this and seeing the transformation from a flat digital drawing on the screen to a sculptural and tactile knit was super satisfying.
What are you working on now?
I am currently doing an internship at Victoria Beckham, which has been really fun. Also, at the start of lockdown I invested in a knitting machine. In my spare time I have been enjoying designing and making my own knitwear. It’s been really freeing to sit at my machine and think “what should I make today?”
Where do you want to be in 3 years’ time?
In three years’ time I would love to work within a studio, designing innovative knitwear garments – I love minimalist design which has a textile focus. I also want to develop my current fabrics into some wearable pieces. This was my aim as part of my graduate collection, so I’d be very happy to see that vision come to life.
Creative high point?
My creative high point on this project was after the second full day knitting on the STOLL machine. At this point, I’d made a few samples that I really loved and I was so excited to develop my samples even further. The development stage was very experimental. I would try and go into the studio with an open mind sometimes just picking two colours at random from my research and see how they looked together. It was so fun having such a free approach, when usually the time constraints of knitting would force me to plan everything.
Creative low point?
My creative low point was just before we broke up for Christmas. I hadn’t properly got into the momentum of sampling. I knew what I wanted to do but it was taking too long to physically knit it. Consequently, I didn’t receive the grade I had hoped for, which of course was very disappointing. However, this really gave me the push that I needed to move forward and in hindsight, without this set back, perhaps the project would not have been as strong.
Is there anyone special who helped you on your creative journey that you would like to mention?
I have always looked up to my brothers. They are both in the creative industry and I think it is from their inspiration that I have learnt what good design is. I love it when they show me something, or someone new that they have discovered. They’ve been really good mentors having experienced art school and the industry themselves. They have been great at guiding me through it all, the ups & downs, giving me lots of constructive feedback along the way which has been really helpful for my development. I feel very lucky.
love cornflower blue and burnt orange. There was a time in college when I’d pretty much wear something orange every day, I became a bit obsessed!
Image Credits: Ella Fletcher