The first stage is about linking my intrinsic inspiration to the external inspiration coming from exploring and looking at the exciting work of scientists and the search for information on the oceans, its ecosystems and pressing environmental issues. I try to connect all of that to the inspiration found in people and nature, its colours, smells and sounds, walking at the beach, diving or snorkelling, visiting a city and even taking pictures around random places where beauty or interesting features are unexpectedly found. Then I let the subconscious work for a little while.
Now it’s time to select a project from a list of potential themes, collaborators and a draft timeline. Sometimes I’ve been approached by a scientist directly, sometimes the opportunity presents itself as it was meant to be and sometimes I wait a long time for the right moment.
This is the crucial part, establishing a collaboration and a journey together with the scientist as a partner and other possible team members. I love this part, each collection is a unique world with its own set of rules, aesthetics and messages. A collaboration is a partnership based on trust and mutual admiration and the desire to bring out relevant ocean stories worth telling.
Once a collaboration is established, I proceed to reading about the research, interview the scientist and other people involved and look at relevant research images and samples. It’s a great way to make friends. Gathering materials, images and data and looking at samples is key at this stage. It is not about pretty images, it’s about looking for information and images which convey something that can be used in the creation and design process. This process can take several months.