If you are coming along for the first time, From The Mood Board To The Finished Product is a series where creatives of several disciplines share their initial inspiration reflected on a mood board up to the final product, collection, blog, etc.
Today we’d like to introduce you to British textile designer Liss Cooke specializing in embroidery.
1// Can you describe briefly who you are and what you do?
I’m Liss, a textile and jewellery designer, and recent graduate from Birmingham City University, in the U.K. Originally from the small town of Stone in Staffordshire, I am now based in Nottingham. I work in the historic Lace Market as a Graduate Textile Designer for innovative studio, Acorn Conceptual Textiles, creating bespoke one-off fashion swatches.
I specialise in embroidered and embellished textiles and I have a particular passion for combining the old with the new; mixing and layering traditional hand embroidery techniques with contemporary digital stitch. Within my own practice, I strive simply, for fun and joy by my choice of uplifting colour and rich materiality. I have worked on a wide range of projects for a number of different outcomes for fashion, interiors and trends alike- but my final graduate collection indulged my personal obsession with contemporary jewellery design, for which this mood board was created. This resulted in a new found love affair of something completely unique – textile jewellery designs created through of combination of digitally stitched motifs, hand crafted 3-dimensional ceramic embellishments, all finished with a hand embroidered touch; a combination which I believe is new, and a niche in the market of statement jewellery. And most importantly I had so much fun creating it all. As a young designer, at the very beginning of my career, this is a really exciting time in my life. I hope to continue to build a long standing career within the amazing studio environment, and hopefully keep creating my jewellery in my own time.
2// How and why did you start mood boarding?
As a design student, creating mood boards was an integral part of my study, and a tool used to convey new project ideas and give a sense of the vibe and mood for a new collection. But for me, it’s been something that I’ve always done, long before my studies began. I’m a very visual person, and I really need to see all my ideas laid out in front of me to visualise how an aesthetic will pull together, so mood boarding comes very naturally to me. For me its kind of like creating a visual and aesthetically pleasing to do list; as I progress through a project, I mentally tick off the ideas I’ve adressed and I can see what else I still need to explore.
3// Do you have a certain technique you want to share with us or is it just intuition you use when setting up a mood board?
Intuition and spontaneity is definitely the way I create my mood boards- I never particularly plan how they are going to look and seeing how they turn out in the end is always an exciting reveal. I really feel that it is an experimental process; although I think there are basic principles to stick to in terms of balancing colour and space etc, I don’t think there is one straight forward formula for me, my process differs every time.
I do however, always spend a lot of time gathering really exciting materials, trims and fabrics, mixing colours to create tonnes of interesting colour chips, lots of research to find contemporary imagery, photography and even collecting 3 dimensional objects. Essentially, I create a big box of exciting ‘stuff’ to delve into before I even start my board. For me, mood boarding needs to be playful and to do this you need a really wide range of objects and things that you love to begin with. Ultimately, to create something that looks effortless despite having a huge amount of thought, process and research behind it.
4/ What use do you give your mood boards?
I don’t have any direct contact with clients in my job so I don’t need to use my boards to try and explain or show a concept to a client; for me creating a mood board is definitely about gaining clarity on a theme or idea. The number one use of the mood boards I create is definitely to get an understanding of how a colour story will work. As I use a lot of bold colour, it is useful to see how different proportions of colour can alter an overall feel and aesthetic of a theme. As a designer, you often have a huge amount going round in your head, imagining how an idea will look right down to the smallest detail, but this can be exhausting, particularly if your working on multiple projects at one time. Getting all of those ideas out of your head and onto a page is an extremely refreshing process.
5 // What exactly is the outcome of the mood board we see in this post? What was is made for and how did it help?
The moodboards and styled compositions that I have designed, were created for my final graduate collection – ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’. I designed them in order to collate and organise all of the extensive research I had gathered and begin to piece together how my final collection would eventually turn out. Creating these mood boards helped to inspire the colour choices, motifs, material combinations and styling considerations of my final collection. It helped me bridge the gap between my project research stage and creating final jewellery outcomes.
You can follow Liss’ work on Instagram and also send her a direct note in case you are interested in a bespoke creation. Thanks so much, Liss, it’s been very interesting following your creative process! G, x