Yemi Awosile: designer-maker

Yemi Awosile is a designer living and working in London, producing materials and textiles for objects and spaces. Her practice is driven by industry-led research, special commissions and collaboration across a range of disciplines within manufacturing, design and the visual arts. Read below to hear about Yemi’s work in her own words.

In this project, I looked at both Charles Hasler’s professional and personal work. He collected things like envelopes, and he had a fascination with all sorts of packaging design.  So his collection included wine bottle labels, water bottle labels, cigarette packaging, and a lot of invitations and exhibition posters.

I was very interested in the process of design and I think that’s very typical of how I work. Normally I don’t make end products; I make materials for other people to use. So I guess this project was interesting for me to learn more about how I work as a designer and what attracts me.

I think I focused more on the envelopes because I found the design very strange. They have these very intricate patterns but only on the inside, so you only see it when you open the envelope. And for me, this resembled some of these micro-patterns that you often see in textiles that you find everywhere, all over the place, in public space. So it was the connection between surface design and pattern, and how I could relate that to textiles that I decided to focus on.

Working with the Archive

Working with the archive helped to develop my practice because it slowed me down. I had to spend a lot of time going through the archive and really being careful about selecting the things that I thought would be useful to me.

In the end I decided to make textiles and also some paper-based designs. I focused on the use of sublimation printing on to textiles, which is quite a basic form of printing but I liked it because I could focus on really subtle mark-making. Because one of the things about Hasler’s work was that he had strong attention to detail, so I wanted to pick up on that. I decided to look at riso printing; I wanted to look at the most basic form of printing and creating surface design, because I was looking at simple images for inspiration.

I mixed up some dyes, and hand-painted them onto paper to create a colour palette that I was happy with and waited for that to dry; then transferred it onto fabric. I also work with knit, so I decided to make some really simple bags using knits. But I wanted to focus on the structure of the knits because they looked a lot like grids – again referencing some of the patterns I’d seen on the envelopes. I decided to focus on quite bright colours like the bright neons, because some of the images I’d looked at in the archive had a technicolour quality to them. There was a kind of heightened visual quality that you get with some of the inks from the archive and I wanted to try to recreate that.

Request a free copy of the Hasler Gallery publication from the Middlesex University online shop.

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