Cara Ellen

BA (Hons) Textile Design / BA (Hons) Textiles for Fashion & Interiors


My Story

I am a textile designer-maker who sees my designs through from the concept to the final textile

production, I have a huge passion for pattern and colour. I love to work with lines and shapes that come together to structure the design or patterns on the surface of textiles, either as large repeats or singular elements. Exploring colour on cloth is a very important element within my designs, I do this by mixing and layering colour on the textile surface until I get the exact shade and tone of colour I am looking for. As an emerging contemporary textile designer, I aim to make connections with a diverse audience and to share my passion for the pattern and colour on cloth as it moves and falls around the body with movement.

The Psychology of Mandalas

The mandala is a spiritual symbol from the Buddhist faith, it is a sacred, circular, symmetrical pattern that can be “understood in two different ways: externally as a visual representation of the universe or internally as a guide for several practices that take place in many Asian traditions, including meditation” (Invaluable, 2018). Reflection occurs in more than one way within a mandala design, as a circular symmetrical pattern reflecting round on its axis, and as a deeper meaning of reflection on your inner self, mental health and wellbeing on both the creator and audience of the art. Within my designs I harness this form of inner reflection and peace as your eyes are drawn into the centre of the mandala.

My research led me to gain my inspiration from natural mandalas that occur naturally in the universe, by looking to nature to witness forms of organic mandalas, from flowers, tree rings, a pebble thrown into a pond, seashells and snails. This has allowed me to extract the reflective symmetrical, geometric shapes and patterns of these naturally made objects to construct my healing mandala designs. Freely drawing and designing these mandalas patterns was a very therapeutic process, which gave me time for relaxation and self-reflection.

The perception of colour can be a highly subjective experience, which can trigger individual emotions and memories. As a textile designer I show this through my exploration and massive love for colour and pattern, presenting this idea through the colour palette for this project. My colour scheme is also very closely inspired from nature and the natural world, because of the positive effects that are offered from the use of biophilic colours. Within my designs, I have used natural indigo dye, due to its positive effects on the environment and user. Traditionally believed to have been used to heal and protect over history, offering physical healing properties such as being placed on burns and cuts to aid the healing process.  As well as using bright eye-catching colours to draw in the viewer, in order to bring a sense of calm, comfort and reflection that a mandala can already offer.

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Cara Ellen | Textiles 7
Large hand stitched and dyed shibori indigo dyed sample
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Video of my process as I created my three-dimensional Mandala string art
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Large hand stitched and dyed shibori indigo dyed sample
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Large hand stitched and dyed shibori indigo dyed textile constructed into two fashion garments and displayed on mannequins
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Touching Mandalas: Hand dyed and screen-printed dot Mandala design produced in opaque and foil print pastes (left). Digital representation of this design as a repeat print (right)
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Power of healing: Combining indigo dyed stitched shibori with my screen-printed Mandala design, produced in opaque shades of blue
Cara Ellen | Textiles
Digital representation of my Power of healing textile design on the wall of a hospital or care facility waiting room