If you are coming along for the first time, From The Mood Board To The Finished Product with Liss Cooke 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 jewelry 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 the innovative studio, Acorn Conceptual Textiles, creating bespoke one-off fashion swatches.
I specialize in embroidered and embellished textiles. I am passionate about combining the old with the new, mixing and layering traditional hand embroidery techniques with contemporary digital stitch. I strive simply for fun and joy within my own practice by choosing uplifting colors and rich materiality. I have worked on a wide range of projects for several different outcomes for fashion, interiors, and trends alike- but my final graduate collection indulged my personal obsession with contemporary jewelry design, for which this mood board was created. This resulted in a newfound love affair of something unique – textile jewelry designs created through a combination of digitally stitched motifs, handcrafted 3-dimensional ceramic embellishments; all finished with a hand-embroidered touch, a combination I believe is new and a niche in the market of statement jewelry. And most importantly, I had so much fun creating it all. As a young designer, this was an inspiring time at the beginning of my career. I hope to continue to build a long-standing career within the amazing studio environment and hopefully keep creating my jewelry 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 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 visualize how an aesthetic will pull together, so mood boarding comes very naturally to me. For me, it’s 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 addressed, 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 are 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. However, I think there are basic principles to stick to in balancing color and space, etc. I don’t think there is one straightforward formula for me; my process differs every time.
However, I always spend a lot of time gathering fascinating materials, trims, and fabrics, mixing colors to create tonnes of interesting color chips, doing 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 an extensive 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 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 understand how a color story will work. As I use a lot of bold colors, it is useful to see how different proportions of color can alter the overall feel and aesthetic of a theme. As a designer, you often have a huge amount going around in your head, imagining how an idea will look right down to the smallest detail, but this can be exhausting, particularly if you’re 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 it made for, and how did it help?
The mood boards and styled compositions that I have designed were created for my final graduate collection – ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights. I designed them to collate and organize the extensive research I had gathered and piece together how my final collection would eventually turn out. Creating these mood boards helped inspire my final collection’s color choices, motifs, material combinations, and styling considerations. It helped me bridge the gap between my project research stage and creating final jewelry outcomes.
You can follow Liss’ work on Instagram and send her a direct note if you are interested in a bespoke creation. Thanks so much, Liss; it’s been fascinating following your creative process! G, x