Saturday, 31 October 2015

The Recommendation | Make E11 | Paper cutting with Stacey Williamson-Michie of Two for Joy

I've said before that Leytonstone is a dream for young creatives and I've been actively trying to get more involved with local initiatives and supporting the community I live in. Thanks to a tip from the lovely Laura Lea I found myself at the Make E11 workshop evening at quirky cafe All You Read Is Love. After requesting to join in with a paper cutting class I sat down with Stacey Williamson-Michie of Two for Joy to create a sugar skull masterpiece (if I do say so myself!) Taking halloween very seriously here on the blog...

Stacey is both a paper cut artist and a talented illustrator and is truly passionate about offering workshops and teaching people about something she loves so much - the perfect lady to teach you some new skills. She's a member of the TOMS shoes artist team and regularly joins them to create bespoke artwork, which is then hand painted on to TOMS shoes at their Style Your Sole events. She has created several large scale paper cut installations for TOMS stockists in Cornwall and has painted large scale murals at the new TOMS shop in Carnaby Street. If you happen to be in Norway this November you can catch her at the Paper Artist Collective Pop Up Shop in Oslo in November which is in conjunction with Norway Designs. With a string of workshops behind her for the likes of The Affordable Art Fair, Waltham Forest Council, The Women's Institute, Leytonstone Arts Trail and Laura Lea Designs, I was excited to get stuck in to our spookily themed few hours.

The workshop was chilled out and very relaxed - purposefully kept fairly small to ensure a more personal experience. If you haven't tried out paper cutting before, it's very therapeutic and you find yourself obsessed with completing your design. Ted, Sarah & Jessie joined me on our paper cutting venture and it was lovely to meet new people and chat about numerous things, all whilst producing something and having a cuppa. Stacey has drawn the designs already for you to cut from so there's no need to worry if you're not a natural at the drawing thing.

After hearing more about Stacey's latest ventures and future ambitions (watch this space) I came home feeling truly inspired and I'll certainly be taking the housemates back for an evening of crafts. It even works well as an activity with family as Ted and Sarah well and truly proved, so do think about it for a little birthday or christmas surprise! We were also given a little goody bag to take home with some extra gorgeous treats from the Two for Joy range. I'll be taking some friends back to meet Stacey first but on a typical event you can also letterpress with Russell, wood carve with Sophie or paint pottery with Siobhan.

Siobhan is actually the lady behind Make E11 (what a gal.) She has gathered this group of lovely local artists and designers to host craft nights and not only can you book these specific workshops, but you can also drop in on the night and bring you own art projects to work on and soak up the creative atmosphere. 

For future details of dates with Stacey and Make E11 take a look here. The next event allows you to create a winter poinsettia plant complete with a little pot so perfect for anyone who can't keep a real plant alive. Stacey is also very kindly offering you guys 10% off the workshops. Just use the discount code "EJPiwantin" - go on now off you go!


Thursday, 29 October 2015

The Exhibition | Bright Smoke: Revisited

Looking for some colour inspiration? Or just a good ol' music fan? If you make time for one thing this weekend take a trip to the A-Side B-Side gallery and marvel at Bryony Marie Fry's vibrant range of paintings and collages. As a musician herself, Bryony has used her own influences to capture the essence of icons such as The Beatles, David Bowie and Patti Smith as well as newer bands such as Temples and Peace.

As a huge fan of the Pop Art era it's fair to say it was love at first sight for me. As well as including some of my favourite ever musicians, I love the drip and splatter paint effects used in the paintings - each piece was completed whilst listening solely to the musician which directly inspired the colour combinations, techniques, and text collage. Bryony is also showing some of her own music artwork. The highlight - a painting painstakingly directly copied from one of her collages. Her detailed work is quite breathtaking and you can see the craft that has gone into it. Anyway take a look at a few snippets below and go and say hello to her. She'll be working from inside the studios all weekend so a great chance to see her in action.

Open 12 - 6pm until Monday 2nd November  |  A-side B-side Gallery, Hackney Downs Studios, Amhurst Terrace, E8 2BT
You can also check out more about bryony here:


Thursday, 22 October 2015

The Inspiration | Designers / Makers | Introducing the CRAFTMOBILE

Having stumbled across this brilliant campaign from Designers / Makers this morning I had to share it immediately - it would be silly not to have this idea come to life and the quirky animation by Lee Shearman supporting it is just adorable.

Designers Makers began in 2010 as a small market in Hackney and have grown to curate regular selling events including exhibitions, pop up shops and workshops in collaboration with creative organisations. I know I always spot them hosting in Spitalfields. With the designers interest at heart, fees are kept to a minimum whilst trying to uphold quality and this has led on to the lovely idea of the CRAFTMOBILE. Watch the video below for a little more insight...

It can be so hard for start-ups to reach a large audience and CRAFTMOBILE solves the problems Designers/Makers face when wanting to source a regular selling outlet to a targeted group. With the CRAFTMOBILE Designer / Makers can take their members work on the road across the UK to various design and craft led events and reach a much larger audience. All whilst providing some smaller places with some lovely products from all over the UK!

Now comes the hard part of choosing what to pledge. There's a selection of goodies from a number of designers and it took me a while to choose what I wanted (so they better get funded!) I love the fact that all of these makers have donated products to support the idea. It's clearly a great organisation to be a part of. Here's what I deliberated between, finally settling on a new make- up bag by Depiction.

It's time to go and make this dream come to life and spread the word even further. You must have christmas shopping to do and why not support something innovative whilst purchasing your gifts? It's a worthy cause. Pledge on Designer / Makers Kickstarter here and hopefully the CRAFTMOBILE will be visiting us all shortly. 


Monday, 19 October 2015

The Designer | Tom Dixon x Caesarstone

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited to a breakfast at MULTIPLEX for a special announcement on a collaboration between leading quartz manufacturer Caesarstone and Tom Dixon (yes, him again!) Since 2013, Caesarstone have run a designer programme to push the boundaries of pragmatic design and we've previously seen works from Nendo, Raw Edges and Phillippe Malouin - Phillippe did THOSE Milan swings if you didn't know. 2016 will see Mr Dixon involved in the programme, with a focus on celebrating the theatre of food and cooking whilst also demonstrating the qualities of Caesarstone. If you haven't seen Caesarstone before, they've got that marble thing down.


The morning involved a breakfast with a difference. Tom's vision for the programme includes four semi-professional kitchens based on Ice, Fire, Earth and Air so of course we experienced food reflecting the qualities of each element. Francesca Sarti of Arabeschi di Latte, who will  be consulting on the programme, developed the food concept and provided us with some stunning, alternative breakfast offerings as shown below. 




As you can see it's all rather delicate looking and everyone was a little weary to ruin anything at first. I soon found the lovely Hannah though and we tested our way round the tables before hearing a little more about the collaboration. 

For the first time the 2016 programme will span multiple locations, commencing in January at the Interior Design Show Toronto, continuing to Milan in April for Milan Design Week and followed by other locations in North America, Europe and Asia - all pretty exciting stuff and I hope I get to catch it at one of the shows.

Each kitchen will be themed around an element relating to a feature of the local culture. Processes such as freezing, harvesting, pounding and chopping will be celebrated, with the noise, steam, flame and smoke all playing a part. The first Toronto kitchen will experiment with the translucency and luminosity of Caesarstone in an art gallery installation. Playing on the tradition of Canadian ice fishing and challenging Caesarstone surface materials with very low temperatures, food will be served on a floating water conveyer belt across frozen surfaces. Sounds bloomin' great.


After leaving with marble adorned packages of burnt cheesecake (it's meant to be) and the softest meringues ever, I'm very much into this partnership. You've already seen my love for Tom Dixon and I can't think of anything better than incorporating his designs with food. Match. Made. In. Heaven.

Oh and if you didn't know, I'm working on a lovely little Shop featuring some of my favourite things. You guys will be able to shop directly through my blog and everything will be handled by the brilliant bunch at Showroom. Here's my first selection - a few element inspired products from Tom himself.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

The Inspiration | P H O T O D I A R Y | Frieze London

Took a little visit to Frieze London today. I find the whole show can be a little repetitive, especially year on year, but actually it makes the pieces that do inspire me stand out a whole lot more so I'd say it's definitely worth a visit. This year there was a lot of neon lights and mirrors which is always the case, but selfie opportunities are certainly a crowd pleaser so I can see why it has become a favourite in the art world. My preferred pieces involved texture and lots of colour (no brainer!) but another highlight for me was Ken Kagami creating a bespoke piece based on something a little raunchy. Yes, he saw right through my shirt, I promise. 


Wednesday, 14 October 2015

The Inspiration | O C T O B E R | Publications

After the chaos of LDF, where I obviously picked up thousands of magazines, I figured it was time for a bit of relaxation and 'me' time. That down-time definitely involving a sparkly bath bomb and reading to my hearts content.  I tend to be a little disloyal when it comes to publications as I can't afford them all, but I try to stick with bi-annuals such as Printed Pages and coffee table pleasers like So It Goes.  However, this month I actually managed to pick up some freebies (hurrah!) and I kind of fell a little in love  with a few of them, hence the round-ups below.

Now, it's fair to say this won't be for everyone as the main focus of this beautifully designed publication is residential design. I've been drawn to it before due to the typography and layout but actually the content is useful, informative and shouldn't be overlooked. There are updates on exhibitions, who's moving where as well as new projects and products - if you work as an architect / interior designer / property developer / manufacturer / designer this is a must-have for you! Better still if you are a residential design professional you can subscribe for free here!

"Hole & Corner is a magazine about people who spend more time doing than talking, for whom content is more important than style; people whose work is their life – stories of dedication" Figured that they explain their own concept better than I ever could. I seriously love the ethos of this magazine and the stunning styling and photography makes it a firm favourite for the tiny amount of minimalist within me. The latest issue from Hole & Corner is focused on fashion and features interviews with Zowie Broach of the RCA and hat extraordinaire Philip Treacy. Pick it up in-store from like-minded brand Another Country.

This publication is free all the time. SO GO GET IT.
A little different from the others, Sonos Studios provides this neat, little magazine in their amazing cafe and studio setting. I grabbed a copy whilst checking out the current exhibition, A Portrait of British Songwriting which is 100% worth a visit. Two birds, one stone. Music, technology and culture all takes over this creative publication and if you haven't had enough of me going on about Tom Dixon, his music background gets its own little feature too. Oh, just to add, I'm a massive fan of the block colouring and graphic patterns used.

Good job you haven't had enough of me going on about Tom Dixon as this is his latest venture and I adore it (surprise, surprise!) Tomorrow combines editorial on how objects are made, used and how buildings are built, used or misused and abused. Anything that talks about coffee, copper and and secret spaces in London is a winner for me. There's even picture diagrams showing you how to make your own copper plating - I just need a lot of scientific equipment that I definitely haven't seen since college. My boyfriend also just mentioned how good it smells and that is surely yet another reason to pick up this intriguing first issue.


Saturday, 10 October 2015

The Recommendation | Tom Dixon MULTIPLEX

As a Tom Dixon fanatic (you may have seen me go a little crazy at their pop-up store here) I was over the moon to hear that the Old Selfridges Hotel was being transformed into a Dixon haven as the first ever pop-up department store. Challenging the current standard of retail, Dixon aims to bring people away from their laptops and into his own immersive environment complete with over 30 brands.


Heavily inspired by Andy Warhol's studio space The Factory, each wall is adorned with silver foil. Can I live there please? Honestly, the interior of the space is super striking and if you are a fan of the metallic trend get yourself down there for some serious home inspiration. With the department store being placed next to retail queen Selfridges there's a lot to aspire to but I'd quite happily see this as a permanent fixture. I mean, I've visited three times now. How does Dixon think you reach the people? By coming to where the people are . Thanks for coming to where I am Tom! It's not just the entire Dixon store thats been moved to this historical, yet previously empty space. There's plenty to check out from well known brands such as eyeko to small tech start ups such as Teenage engineering.


You could get your fashion fix from Obataimu who have brought their Indian atelier to London. It' here that you can order a customised design and then watch it being made on-screen in the Mumbai production studio - now that’s an intriguing concept. For those of you with lightbulbs illuminating in their heads, visit Mindblower an their idea-to-product platform. Talk through your pitch with them and they'll offer tips. If an idea is chosen for development, MindBlower takes care of the rest, and successful products reap the inventor royalties of up to 20 percent. 


Further enticing the creative crowd in is the Spring pop-up photo studio which is hosting shoots throughout the day. Visitors are able to watch the action live on set with a range of magazines, fashion brands and Central Saint Martins students using the set-up as their office. I could people watch all day, with a drink from the bar, food from Deliveroo and a copy of Tomorrow of course. It really doesn't end there though. There's more installations from Aston Martin, Haeckels, Boskke and Cubitts - definitely something for everyone.  


It's your last weekend to visit MULTIPLEX, with it closing on the 15th October so get down there now for a last-minute inspiring experience. The store really goes above and beyond and if this is what the future of retail looks like I can assure you my online shopping addiction is in the past. I also had the pleasure of being invited for another little Tom Dixon preview so be sure to check back for more news on Dixon's next venture (spoiler alert: it involves food and marble surfaces!) 

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

The Story | Patrick O'Mahony 'My first week at the RCA'

My aim for this blog is to offer insight into the industry and also follow the journeys of the many creative students that supply the design world with new and innovative designs. I hope that it will allow someone, somewhere, to think a little differently and perhaps take a risk to do what they love.  I've wanted to get stuck in and follow someone's complete journey so when my university friend / neighbour made it into the RCA this year I asked him if he wanted to document the process. Thankfully he agreed, so meet Patrick - the Irish illustrator and animator who's worked pretty darn hard to get to where he is today. He even used our basement as his studio to complete his degree so actually I guess he owes me one. We're He is gonna try and make this a regular thing but we'll see how it goes. I'll also be showcasing some of his work along the way. If you have any specific questions drop me an email but for now here is Patrick's story so far....

"A couple of years ago, the idea of doing a Masters, let alone at the Royal College of Art was merely a dream in the distant future. I mean, three years ago graduating from the University Of East London seemed like a life time away, yet here I am with three years living in London behind me and two years at the RCA ahead.

What made me decide to study a masters you ask? The idea came from being inspired by many ex-RCA students coming to teach and talk to us during the final year of my BA at UEL. Each of them had made amazing short films and maintained a strong presence in the medium, whilst also giving us valuable advice on our own films. The likes of Sarah Beeby, Mikey Please and my own lecturer Will Bishop-Stephens, inspired the start of me wanting to go to the RCA. I wanted to follow in their footsteps whilst also developing my own skills to a more professional standard. 

As a late applicant (it took me a long time to finally build up the courage to submit my application) I finally heard back about an interview in early July. At first I wasn't fazed - I was confident in my ability to proclaim my love for animation and talk about my own work. However, on leaving the interview I felt it was the end of the road. I can't pinpoint why but something in my head told me I wasn't ‘RCA’ enough (whatever that means). During the interview I had been told I would be notified within two weeks and after week three I began to re-think my entire life and what I would do next. A month later I received an offer email – cue punching the air in delight multiple times and then a serious realization of what enrolling at the RCA meant – a lot of hard work.

During the build up to my first day, I continued to ask myself more questions. Who would be on my course? What exactly would they be like? Will I ever learn the building layout? (It’s complicated. Trust me) What exactly would I be doing? Most of these questions were answered on the first day through intros, talks and tours although I still don't know the layout I was lucky enough to meet people during this time who were also studying animation. I established quite early that these were people who were as passionate as I was about puppets, pencils and paper - phew! I won’t forget the amazing moment when everyone shared their past work and we all eagerly asked each other questions about how it was made and so on. For an institution with such a high reputation I felt the RCA had a great casual attitude and I was put at ease by the friendly, thoughtful lecturers and like-minded peers. 

The second day consisted of more welcome talks and an induction to the variety workshops. For each workshop, we could sign up for a two hour induction to be able to use them throughout the next two years but not signing up meant they were off-limits. To me, it seemed obvious to take part in all of these. I don’t know if I’ll need to create a life-size bust of my own head using a block of wood and a lazer but it's better to have it and not need it, then to need it and not have it.

During the sessions we continued to tell everyone all about where we've come from and what we've done without spoiling the personal presentations we need to do next week - another chance to try and remember everyone’s name. After my classmates and I went to sit on the decking area between the two main buildings which is overlooked by the Royal Albert Hall. It should be noted that the first time I went to visit the RCA I did believe the Royal Albert Hall was the RCA and after declaring how fancy it looked I was told that I needed to go across the road to the smaller, greyer, less round building.

The final day of my first week consisted of a party along with the second years. I think this is when it hit me the most where I was and what I was doing. As all us newbies sat around a bench in the middle of everyone, feeling like we had completely gate crashed. I could hear talk of the 'freshers' and people saying 'I’d hate to be where they are now'. I began to feel very young and out of my depth. According the RCA, the average age for people studying there is 27 and being only 23, I questioned whether going there straight out of university was a good idea. Nevertheless, I was quickly reassured by knowing there were other people my age on the course and all was well again.

It's hard to know how the two years will go from my first weeks experience. With recent budget cuts to the school looming over the minds of some of the students along with the strong reputation the RCA has, conversations can seem a little negative. What started out as a hobby for me over nearly 10 years ago has now become a way of life and on my 7th year of studying animation (3 years in college, 3 years in uni and now two years at the RCA) I can't help but hope that everything will work out. For the moment though, I'm just going to enjoy it all, remember that it's what I make of it and that nothing will change the fact that I’m in this lucky little bunch who have been given a great opportunity!"

Stay tuned for more from Patrick on the RCA and follow him on twitter for regular updates: @RickpatArtpick


Saturday, 3 October 2015

The Up and Coming | Interview | Hannah Lois Sangwin

As someone who brought a lot of doodling to their own degree (ahem, yes me) it was lovely to find someone else who can put in the hours to create and isn't afraid to be a little different. I was instantly drawn to Hannah Lois Sangwin's work earlier this year at May Design Series due to its monochrome tones and geometric patterns. I love how simple the designs are whilst still being eclectic and busy - it makes them super versatile but striking at the same time. Hannah is also the perfect example of someone staying true to herself and knowing her own style. It's rare to see hand-drawn textiles anymore which is such a shame but I'm convinced that there is going to be a huge trend for this kind of visual fairly soon and it's one of the reasons why I wanted to highlight Hannah on the blog. Have a read of her process and do think about how much hand cramp has gone into these designs. I can tell you it's probably a lot.

Firstly, can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your practise?
I graduated from Birmingham City university in 2014 and have an obsession with drawing. It started with just a simple doodle and then I realised I can easily sit for around 24-48 hours completing just one design. I don't seem to get bored of it. I just get really excited to see the end result as I actually have no idea of what it's going to look like. Interiors are my passion, I love how you can transform a room with pattern and design. 

I first saw you work at May Design Series, why did you enter the New Design Britain awards?

Initially I entered just to see if people liked my work. After previously exhibiting my work at New Designers I wanted to see how my work was received 6 months later and for the judges to get a glimpse of my designs.

Well seems like it went well and they liked it! What kind of exposure do you think May Design Series brought you?
I got some brilliant feedback and definitely learnt a great deal more about exhibiting and making contacts. It gave me the opportunity to communicate with different companies that I never thought would be interested in my work - for example rug makers, etc. More than anything I think the New Design Britain stand was in a brilliant space to exhibit up and coming design.

I love the fact that all of your work is monochrome - whats the story behind that and will we be seeing any coloured versions in the future?
The question everybody asks! Monochrome was purely because I didn't think my designs were as effective in colour - I absolutely love colour, the brighter the better but the simplicity of black and white really bought my drawings to life and people were drawn to them because of their minimal colour palette, it made them different from the rest. At the moment I don't think I'll be doing any colour pieces but who knows what the future will bring.

How many fine liners do you get through per piece?! 
(cue me rambling on about fine liners don't last long enough!)
I would say on average I get through 20-25 fine liners per piece. 

Where do you take your inspiration for projects from and do you have a way of collating this?
My inspiration for my monochrome pieces is taken from shape and pattern in our everyday lives - literally anything that grabs my attention. I am obsessed with Pinterest - what a brilliant resource. I can spend hours looking for inspiration. I search for anything from objects to materials to interior design. 

Who's inspired you on your journey so far? 

The way design is evolving and the fact that 'anything can go' inspires me. I love the weird and the wonderful and I'm all for 'out there' designers from fashion to interior, architecture to installations. If your work is different or has a wonderful story behind it I am guaranteed to love it. Photography is so powerful, it's probably the main thing that inspires me.

Any secret textile designers I should be watching out for?
I absolutely love anything colourful and geometric, my fellow finalist at the New Design Britain awards Zohreh Adle-Ghadjar produces beautiful hand woven textiles & also I love the work of Mary Locke and her Wall Jewellery.

Brilliant! Finally, whats next for you? What's the dream?

Ah, the dream! In the coming months I shall have my paper print shop up and running on my website and also my cushion shop. I am currently learning how to reupholster which is what I want to be doing most of all, so I'll soon be restoring some pieces with my fabric ready to purchase on my website in the new year!

And now whilst I wait for these cushions to become available, why don't you take a look at Hannah's newly opened print shop? Or follow her on Instagram to stay updated : @hannahloissangwin
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