Being widowed at 30 years of age made me stop and consider how I spend my time. After a decade of working in a corporate environment I decided to return to doing “something creative” and completed an MA in Design (Textiles).

This blog was created as a record of my research and work for my MA undertaken at Bath Spa University and has continued beyond my year of study.

The name “isla design”, originates from being inspired by the islands in my life:

  • me, Desiree Isla Goodall.  First used in the 20th century in Scotland, the name Isla originates from the island of Islay in the Hebrides.  This traditional Scottish name is still in use within my family today.
  • the islands in my life who have taught and encouraged the techniques I use to make; my parents and grandmother (and the one I am named after).
  • literally, the islands I have lived on and am inspired by; New Zealand, Ireland and the United Kingdom.

My knitwear is inspired for dark, stormy, rough coastlines, for keeping warm; thick, heavy, wool capes and accessories to pull tight around you against the elements.

My inspiration comes from the beauty in everyday things I see around me.  The shapes and contours in my work come from a variety of sources, seashells to tree trunks and everything in between.

The process used to create is crucial, with the act of handcrafting being key.  The hand aesthetic should be apparent in the finished work.

Using simple knit stitches and shaping techniques I create sculptural, hand-knitted garments and accessories from natural fibres.

I create many smaller samples, testing the techniques to see how I can manipulate the yarn and the stitches, before deciding on a larger piece to be made up.  The final making up almost becomes a meditative process as each new stitch is created in repetition.

I am fascinated by making garments without seams, with most of the shaping created during the knitting process.  The contours aren’t rigid; they should move and bend with the human form inside, and return to their original shape when still.


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