QUESTIONING TEXTURES AND PRINTS THROUGH NATURE
This month’s theme explores nature, calling on emerging talent to discover and dissect the intricacies of design through nature and how our world around us can act as a stimulus for creating.
Carry on reading to discover what our designers think about patterns in nature and how we can recognise the fragility of our natural habitat.
INTRODUCING THE DESIGNER
Bnita describes herself as a colourful and spontaneous designer who enjoys indulging in colour, pattern, mark making and texture. She likes to develop prints that are unique and quirky that make people question the story and process behind it, both through the screen- printed designs and digital (Photoshop). Bnita is known to use a variety of vibrant colours within the collection of designs which explore different ideas/ objects that are often overlooked in nature, such as bugs. She enjoys working with mixed media, combining, and collaging contrasting textures together as a form of idea generation. She often find herself taking risks and trying new things to allow her to push the boundaries of design to create bold statements. Combining a variety of techniques excites her as she is able to create prints which are more courageous in comparison to flat printed surfaces. Preserving nature has always meant a lot as it is Bnita’s main source of inspiration which allows her to be explorative and express passions and talent within the world of textiles for fashion.
How did you become interested in design?
Since a young age, I was fascinated by surface design and colour because I was bought up in a very colourful Indian household. As I was often exposed to such vibrant colours and intricate patterns, it sparked my interest in pursuing textile design as both a hobby and in my education. Not only that, but my mum’s fashion sense and style also lured me into the world of fashion as she often dresses in patterned outfits and bold colours. Since I have looked up to her my whole life, I became motivated and enthusiastic to create my own collection of designs which are loud and confident. This interest of mine grew more and more where I decided to finally dedicate my time into designing prints for fashion further. I felt that this would be my time to push the limits, learn new skills and express my true self.
How important do you think looking after our natural habitat is?
I think it is very important! If it wasn’t for nature, we wouldn’t have explored most of the things we have access to now such as medication and natural dyes. Nature has influenced the way we live and has made our lives easier. Biomimicry has become more popular as a result of technological growth, allowing us to examine and imitate nature, benefiting us in the long- term. Both Biomimicry and Biophilic designs are terms that I was heavily invested in and researched in my final year. I wanted to understand the impact of nature in design on our mental health, as well as in industries such as fashion, pharmaceuticals and general business. Linking nature to textiles, we have been able to mimic plants and bugs to create products such as Velcro and waterproof clothing. Without nature, we would not be living in such as diverse and intelligent world. To continue growing and expanding, we need to preserve nature as much as we can. If we take care of it, then will take care of us.
What inspires you most on a day to day basis?
My surroundings inspire me the most. Even just going for my daily walks, I manage to find things that catch my attention such as the bark of a tree covered with intricate textures with unusual colouration and patterns. I seem to be more interested in odd things that are unnoticed by most people. I prefer creating designs that are different and make people say “wow, I haven’t seen this before”. Even transforming something creepy such as bugs, into a beautiful print makes me feel satisfied and fulfilled as I have been able to change people’s perspective and show them a side of nature which they not seen before. Our surroundings are always changing and so there is always something new to identify and work with which keeps me on my feet where I am able to stay active and engaged which I love the most.
My culture inspires me, where I come from means a lot to me as it is so colourful and full of life. Having my dad who comes from Africa and my mum who comes from India has given me to opportunity to embrace two different cultures. Identifying the way colours, techniques, materials and shapes are used and manipulated within my cultural background excites me where I want to push the barriers and create designs where I am embracing who I am. By researching and understanding my culture more, I have been able to carefully identify and pick colours and marks which represent certain feelings such positivity which I use with my design work to give them more meaning and significance. In my family, we are strong believers of peace and happiness which makes me want to reflect this within my own designs. I wish to share all things good with the world.
My love for colour inspires everything that I do as I become so captivated when surrounded by lots of it. It represents who I am and my personality. For me, it is important to express the type of person I am in my designs. Being a bubbly and energetic individual, I believe that this energy should be reflected in the designs I create by use bright colours and bold shapes to represent and show people who BNITA VAGHELA is. Colour makes me feel happy, free and confident, I want people to feel like this too which is why it means a lot for me to use it in all my work.
What’s your go to stimulus when you start to create work?
It is important for me to gather images and group words that associate with my project. This then allows me to create connections and identify which direction I find more interesting. Being physically surrounded by my previous project work always helps generate ideas as I begin combining techniques together to further enhance my designs. I also think about what message/ feeling I want to convey through the designs. How do I want people to feel, what do I want them to think about and why is it important for them to know this? By understanding this, it allows my imagination to run freely where I begin exploring different compositions, colour- ways and styles. If I know that I want my audience to feel confident and powerful when wearing my prints then I will consider the shades of colour and arrangement of shapes that will help evoke this feeling.
What intrigues you about the patterns and designs you can find in nature?
I feel that each part of nature is so unique and individual. For example, you will never find two flowers that are identical, their textures, colouration and shape will differ. Identifying this difference intrigues me as it firstly proves to me how extraordinary nature really is, but it then sparks ideas in my mind on how I could transform and translate the marks and patterns into something that can be wearable. When I sit and think about how extraordinary nature really is, it makes me want to appreciate and celebrate it more by designing in an abstract way and playful way. The fact that the patterns seen in nature are not always for the purpose of aesthetics but instead exist because of their function and structure makes me wonder how extraordinary our world really is. There is beauty in everything, it is just a matter of how it is extracted within textiles to transform into beautiful and elegant patterns. I find it mind blowing how such small insects can be so colourful and have intricate designs on their exoskeletons. I feel that this type of beauty must be enlarged to a bigger scale for the world to see. Beauty like this should not be hidden but appreciated in the world of fashion textiles. The simplicity of many patterns in nature makes me feel so calm and peaceful, however I then like to combine it with my energetic personality by layering and using different colours to make it more personal.
Do you think people’s attitude to nature has shifted over the past 18 months?
Yes, I do believe that people’s attitude has changed over the last year as they have spent majority of their time at home which has only pushed them to explore nature and their surroundings more by going on daily walks. I feel that since people have had more time to spend at home, it has given them the opportunity to really observe nature and witness how calm and soothing it really is when enough time is dedicated to appreciating it. Realising how extraordinary nature it, many may feel more connected and aware of what they have been missing out on during their busy work schedules. I feel that in a way, the lockdowns during the pandemic has given people the chance to have a break from their work life and embrace the different elements of nature. I believe that people have now realised that there is more to their life than just work and that they should take more time off to indulge in nature as it can bring peace and positivity.
I know for a fact that my attitude has changed about nature as during lockdown I did not sit still. I began to spend most of my days exploring the outside world with an affinity to notice details that I previously took for granted or were unnoticed. Through these regular walks, I noticed so many bugs around me. The colouration and the vibrancy of bugs inspired me to explore more into the world of insects. I was mesmerised by their colours, textures, patterns and scale, it was like beauty in the creepiest forms. Bugs are amazing and contribute so much to our environment, sustaining our ecosystems through pollination. As we live such busy lives, we don’t often get the time to stop and observe in detail small in scale life. As a result of COVID, it gave me the opportunity to view life with a different perspective and to accept nature for what it is.