Mhairi McDowall graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone in 2012 and set up textile design studio Paper_Houses.
Paper_Houses create unique patterns incorporating fashionable trend forward Scottish style.
The main base is in Scotland where Mhairi creates her designs. Mainly inspiration comes from the man-made structures found in the day to day life.
If you look for quality, style and want to know the story behind what you buy then Paper_Houses is the perfect brand for you.
Made in Aberdeen: #BehindtheStudioDoor
Check out the video showing the final garment collection Ailtearachd mu Geamhradh (Architecture of Winter) from our project #BehindtheStudioDoor. This project was funded by the Made in Aberdeen funding from Aberedeen City Council.
All designs are copyright of Mhairi McDowall. If you are looking to buy, license or commotion a design drop me a line! Any designs already sold are marked clearly as so. No part of a design should be used without previous permission, thanks!
Fix Your Accent
My inspiration came from geometric buildings around where I live in Dundee and Glenrothes. I also looked at designers such as Lucienne Day and 1950’s design. I like the simple shapes from these two inspirations and I made a repeat print design. When it came to colour choice I looked at colours that went well together (blues & purple) then added an accent colour (orange, because it is opposite blue on the colour wheel, & pink).
When printing I layered, I done this as I seen in Frank Lloyd Wrights buildings layers of the same shape. I also made textured surfaces to print on top of using puff binder and devoré. This gave another interesting layer before I printed on top. Then I used accent colours to bring certain layers to the surface, as so to create order in the print. I really enjoyed experimenting in this way.
My designs are for use in interiors. I based my idea around reusing old furniture and re-upholstering it to give it a fresh look or adding a trim to the side of a set of curtains to give them a new lease of life. The designs themselves can be of multi-functional usage.
I answered the brief on Modern Age where I had to make an environment more homely for an elderly person. I concentrating on part B which is specific to an elderly persons care home, the aim was to make people in the care home feel at home and feel part of the present community. I was interested in designing for elderly people that may be going into care homes soon or in the next ten years. I decided to look at people that are around 75 today and look back to see when they were around 25; this took me to the 60’s era.
From the 1960’s I looked at colours and shapes. I got my colour inspiration from such things as movies and adverts from the time as well as other designers. I also looked at adverts and designers that seemed to have sixties feel to them at this present time, doing this helped me to make sure that I was not just copying the sixties but rather I was using it as my inspiration and giving it a modern twist. For shape and form I looked towards architecture with simple geometric forms. Using the geometric shapes and my colour pallet I want to make a versatile printed design that could be used for a number of different upholsteries an area such as a living room.
As the material was for care home usage I also researched coating different properties that can be put on materials, yet still keeping the materials original feel. These coatings included making the material water resistant and antibacterial; to avoid the spread for bacteria or infections. This is key due to the health care environment the material was proposed to be used in. However it is equally important that the material must keep its original feeling and movement as so the people in the care home feel they are more in a large home with in the community rather than a health care residence cut off by stigmas.
The Trend of ‘The Trend’
This project looks at the role of trend forecasting within textiles and raises questions into the standardised nature of this process. Within western culture people rarely copy a trend and ‘wear it’ head-to-toe, they take elements and construct their own styles, therefore making things their own. Taking this crucial point in the development of trends I decided to buck the trend and create a new trend. Traditional textile designers follow fashion forecasts I have looked in to previous, present and future trends and have created a ‘McDowall’ trend for Spring/Summer 2013. Through dissertation research, ‘What Role Do Subcultures Play Within Fashion?’ I found out how culture uses and influences trends therefore, I decided to link my theoretical research to practical research. Attending a trend forecasting event for Summer 2013 in Glasgow, this February, was significant as it helped to focus my context further. I chose to shape a selection of existing trends into a new trend that reflected how culture constructed and manipulated visual phenomenon.
I gathered images of man made constructions from which to take inspiration, together with source drawing. The choice of manmade construction came from the concept that man constructs their own ideas of fashion trends which then feed back into the design process, an ever occurring cycle, hence it is appropriate to take something else man constructs and use it to feed back into the cycle. The aim was to produce bold, elegant and edgy textiles for fashion. To create these effects I used geometric shapes combined with different weights of fabric and a strong but balanced colour pallet. Sheer fabrics, laser cut elements and devore techniques give a see through aesthetic. Whereas embroidery adds another layer of texture combined with colour. Keeping the patterns relatively simple added more emphasis on these techniques, giving it a sophisticated feel.
Tigerprint Everyday Surface Pattern Competition
The brief for the Tigerprint Everyday Surface Pattern Competition >
“The first brief of 2014 is all about surface pattern. We would like you to design a contemporary surface pattern for a male or female recipient that could be used across a range of our everyday products including;
Gift bags, wrapping paper, stationery products or greeting cards.
The surface pattern should focus on different male and female icons, look at restyling existing icons or think about what the next big thing could be. You could focus on love and the icons that celebrate love throughout the year. Alternatively, think about the classic spot and stripe and how you can move this forward.”
I made it into the shortlist for this competition.
Onward and Upwards!
Press – Building Bridges
Building Bridges – May 2012
Press – Jolly Good
Jolly Good – May 2012
Press – Business Boom Collective
Business Boom Collective – November 2012