Catherine Sinclair of Cove Design
“The contrast of colours and textures found in the wild, and the interruption of human activity have together inspired this project.”
Knitted Textiles for Interiors and Fashion
BA (Hons) Textile Design
Glasgow School of Art
‘Awaken your spirit to adventure; Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk.’
“‘Building Shelter’ arose from a search for the hidden, secret places discovered within nature and our desire for escape and adventure. The contrast of colours and textures found in the wild, and the interruption of human activity have together inspired this project. Thinking about the North West of Scotland, the predominant colours that come to mind are nature’s greens, blues and greys. However a closer observation discovers the jewels of heather and gorse, the variations of seaweed and rusted metal. The interaction of humanity brings the need for signposts and warnings, not to mention the washed-up debris, providing tiny but intense highlights of colour.
The final collection of knitted textiles grew from a desire to experiment with materials and technology to create fabrics with a sense of fluidity and surprise. Deliberately restricting the materials used to lambswool and elastic has enabled me to be more courageous with colour proportions and experimental with technology.
Supporting the UK textile industry is a vital part of the ethos behind this collection, using 100% geelong lambswool, spun and dyed in Scotland and working with a small digital knit facility in Leicester. The focus is on composition, placement of colour and shape and the result is a collection of interior fabrics designed for customers looking to add a sense of vibrancy and individuality to their own shelters.
Two years ago we moved up from Edinburgh to the far north west coast of Scotland. We sold our home and bought the side of a hill, with an edge of coastline and an inlet, or cove. Living on the side of a sea loch surrounded by the most dramatic scenery has inspired me to work in a bolder, more instinctive manner. It was a deliberate decision not to use my own name for my textiles as I believe the name ‘cove’ evokes more about the types of products I will be selling in the future. Moving to the remote Highlands has meant that the natural forms, textures and colours that surround my life now inform what I find inspiring. However the influence of urban environments still have a significant effect on my drawings and collage work. I also have a keen interest in the human condition and concepts of shelter, protection and intimacy play a sensitive role in my engagement with the surroundings and my design process.
Despite living in a place where there are more deer and sheep than humans, and the scenery is unspoilt and spectacular, I am drawn to the micro details that make up the space, the language of a surface. I enjoy the contradictions of textures and colours that arise through the rhythm of changing seasons. Having gone to Art School later in life, I feel my process is very different to how I would have approached this had I started earlier. Currently juggling running a holiday business, being a parent and a grandparent means although the time given to the process of research, drawing, design development and colour choices is still considerable, it is often interrupted. Fortunately this way of working has enabled me to work more instinctively, and the results have been more satisfying and surprising. ”
Materials and Techniques
Merino lamb’s wool and elastic.
“Coming into this project my Photoshop skills were fairly limited. I also had no experience of working with digital knit technology. However my determination to design a collection of samples ready for commercial use ensured I spent a considerable time experimenting and developing what was achievable with the technology. Whilst the initial stage of exploration created some fairly clumsy designs, I learnt a great deal about stitch and complex colour blends as well as what different gauge machines could and could not do. Experimenting with elastic brought a level of spontaneity to my samples and I was particularly drawn to the randomness of the effect. Deliberately restricting the materials to lamb’s wool and elastic enabled me to be more courageous with colour proportions and experimental with technology. I also liked the challenge of limiting myself to two yarn types to reduce the temptation to try something else if I didn’t like what was happening. The result of this experimentation led to textiles where the front and back were often dramatically different, giving more design opportunities, and customers more for their money.”