Tuesday, 30 June 2015

The Up and Coming | New Designers Part One: Business Design Centre

Celebrating its 30th birthday this year, New Designers is the destination for businesses, trend spotters and design-savvy individuals to set their sights on the latest budding designers. Part one was a visual sensation with universities featuring work from their textiles & fashion, jewellery and ceramic courses to name a few.  With plenty of activities to keep the creative juices flowing and the opportunity to talk to so many enthusiastic students I was in my element – pattern galore and a textural feast of materials. Here are my picks of the (very bright) bunch who are definitely ones to keep on your radar.

Rosie Shillinglaw | Printed Textiles Designer | Instagram: rosieshillinglaw
Geometric shape and structure has obviously been an influence to Rosie’s work. The collection is inspired from the close-up architectural photography of Michael Wolf. Although simple in form, colour makes an interesting asset to these pieces and the combination of a few designs could really add a statement area to any room. Rosie was also selected by the Absolut Vodka team as one of their Top 30 Favourites of New Designers - maybe we'll see her design on a bottle soon! I’m looking forward to following Rosie after New Designers as I’m currently coveting one of those yellow cushions!


Stephanie Glen | Textile Designer | Instagram: @stephanieglen_textiles
I took an instant liking to Stephanie’s simple monochromatic prints. Her stand clearly showed her process and this made all the difference when standing out from the crowd. The simplicity of her pieces was striking when compared to the clashing prints that surrounded her and I am certainly after one of those digital prints for my living room wall. Paired with her extremely likeable personality I am sure this girl will go far whether that be in fashion or continuing to push her obvious flair for graphic prints.


Emily Downer | Textile Designer | www.emilydowner.com
Emily brings a visit to the zoo to life in her fun, quirky illustrations. There was a lot of animal inspired print this year but Emily captured the zoo narrative perfectly and showed a clear target market with a strong focus on children’s interiors. She brought a sense of nostalgia to her whimsical creations and all of her work would be perfect for any young explorers’ bedroom.


Katie Alderson | Ideology Workshop | www.ideologyworkshop.co.uk
An organised student if I ever saw one, Katie has truly gone above and beyond with her Individuality Vessels and Element Lamps. Each vessel represents a star sign and different materials have been used in order to emphasise the characteristics such as peacock feathers embracing the flamboyant Leo character and white feathers showing the carefree attitude of a Sagittarius. The series makes a salient collection and I think this may perhaps be that next Bethan Gray discovery that New Designers so proudly boasts you may find. Katie was also awarded Highly Commended by The Contemporary Glass Society confirming her status as young designer to watch.    


Lois Downs | Printed Textiles Designer
Lois was another stand out for me with her extremely commercial work - already fit for a shelf in any local homeware boutique. Beautifully illustrative ceramics and scarves featured on her stand with vibrant pattern and drawings of fanciful objects and animals. The playful designs highlight characters and conversations within both urban and rural environments making for a lovely collection.


Emily Ward | Printed Textiles Designer | www.artsthread.com/profile/emilyward
This collection really caught my eye. I’m not necessarily a fan of the floral, tropical theme but I found Emily’s take on this quite edgy and a little more House of Hackney in style.  The collection is of course inspired by the rainforest but with a strong focus on the variety of shapes and colours found in that environment. The colour combinations give across a really strong visual identity and that is definitely what had me searching for more information.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

The Studio | Bow Arts

After having a little nosy around Bow Arts studios this weekend I am seriously considering sneaking in every week to spy on all of the wonderful people that inhabit the former convent on Bow Road.  The studios were open to the public over the weekend and it was a great opportunity to go and meet some of the tenants and see what they were up to.


The organisation aims to support the community in East London by providing grants and space to local artists who can in turn provide art and creative services to others. Indeed, there is a community vibe that runs through every fibre of the building and it was an absolute pleasure to gain just a little insight into each artists world, even if it was a little tidier than the normal Friday evening would have been.


Unfortunately, Open Studios is an annual event so this isn't something you can attend in the near future but the Nunnery Gallery on the ground floor is open Tuesday - Sunday for your viewing. Exhibitions are focused on area history so it's definitely a cultural excursion if you are in need of one after a long week. The bacon sandwiches from the Carmelite cafe also smelt pretty delicious. If you can keep it on your mind until 2016, I can assure you it is worth the wait - I ended up leaving with wonderful stories of naughty studio dogs and lots of appreciation for Marcel Baetigg and the fantastic team behind this superb organisation.


Friday, 19 June 2015

The Recommendation | Nelly Duff

It’s nearly the weekend and the weather is looking lovely - Columbia Road is calling and along with rows of bright blooms comes Nelly Duff, an affordable art gallery with a quirky charm and lots of love.

The gallery exhibits editions and originals from artists all around the world with a strong focus on Street, Tattoo and Graphic arts. It is also committed to developing artists and releases special editions they have collaborated on as well as hand-made pieces. With friendly staff and a staircase to boast about Nelly Duff is perfect For a Sunday morning browse and a destination if you are looking for something to adorn your walls. 

With the likes of Anthony Burrill, Dan Hillier and Angelique Houtkamp all gracing the gallery in an eclectic mix of frames you are sure to find something that takes your fancy. Prices are extremely affordable ensuring you are likely to end up with a purchase, even if it is just one of the whimsical greeting cards. It's advisable to return every time you get a chance as stock is constantly changing and you never know what you might miss. 2012 saw them exhibit at Pick Me Up with a zoo theme and since their last show was in November I'm hoping for an update very soon…

Friday, 12 June 2015

The Exhibition | London College of Fashion | BA 2015 Degree Show

Graduate season is well and truly upon us and it is fascinating to see the next generation of designers and artists expressing themselves through their exhibitions. An innovative display space can set you apart from the rest of the shows and the LCF15BA show certainly provided a professional platform to send off their students.

Set in a rustic building in the heart of Shoreditch this is the first time all of LCF’s undergraduates have presented their work together. With catwalk shows, performed installations and public drawing sessions there is lots to participate in and a chance to talk personally to the students about their visions.


This year students with an interest in illustration worked with Cass Art as part of a competition in order to encourage students to explore their drawing practise. Each artist produced some stunning original pieces and paired against exposed brick the different techniques and styles of each student looked wonderful.

Quirky, vibrant illustrations from  Nelly Rose Stewart captured a different element of the fashion scene and would look perfect as prints for shirts or possibly even a horoscope series. Dave John also offered a unique set of work using black pen and ink in order to create some mesmerising characters - probably not my usual style but I found myself drawn to it and wanting more!

The exhibition remains open to the public until Saturday 13th so get down there for some free beverages in the evening or just for an early morning inspiring wander. There are new visions and ideas for the future of fashion waiting for you - not to be missed if you have a hint of interest.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

The Up and Coming | Exhibition | Free Range 2015, Design Week

Overview | Free Range, now in its 15th season, will be showcasing some of the best offerings from the graduates of 2015. This is a great opportunity for students to get their work outside of a university environment and offer them a helping hand in starting their careers. Each week provides a new set of work and an insight into the next wave of art, fashion, photography and design talent.

Middlesex University | Communication Arts | Piles of bold monochromatic catalogues were stacked on entrance, featuring a geometric typeface entitled ‘Mazeing’, designed by Sina Buschlinger. The curation of the show revealed a labyrinth theme throughout and this demonstrated the thought the students had put into the execution of the exhibition. A great social media campaign also confirmed the effort made. The show was impressive overall but here’s a few budding illustrators/designers to look into:


Dervla Mary | www.dervlamary.com
This fluorescent, psychedelic work hit the spot with me immediately. Surprisingly, there was quite a large variation between pieces and although her style stayed consistent the subjects didn’t. Pieces varied from neon pineapples, to eccentric prints and record covers to embroidered portraits – all of which work perfectly for the music industry and the ever-growing need for surreal vinyl artwork. Bravo, Dervla!
Yun Ru Tan | Instagram: @yunroo_ru
Stylistically, Yun Ru’s work is very strong with her social media presence also endorsing her fun, child-like illustrations. 
I was drawn to this Arts & Crafts movement poster due to its layout and brilliant use of colour – it would be interesting to see a series of these featuring other movements, especially considering she embodies a modern day pop-art vibe in her illustrations. Also featured were tongue-in-cheek patches which I’m quite sure are emerging as a trend so hopefully she will get selling online soon.


Kerstin Toepel | http://kerstintoepel.com/
Kerstin is certainly a powerhouse to be reckoned with  judging from her online status – a beautiful website already up and running along with a portfolio of perfectly designed pieces. The featured children’s book How Henry Finds Colour In Grey is thoughtful and also available with a cover made out of real birch tree bark and twigs.  From how well produced this book already is, I’m sure it won’t be long until Kerstin is stocked at your local Waterstones or illustrating for Random House within the next year. 

Shu Ying Doi | www.behance.net/sarahooi88
Optical illusions always draw me in and although now slightly over done I was still a fan of this piece and the rest of the pieces shown by Shu Ying Doi. Minimalist and effective, it’s nice to see the same piece of work looking completely different in the catalogue to how it came across in real life. The things that make you stop and stare to focus are intriguing and most definitely here to stay. 

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