I'm starting to think that I probably need to get my 2016 sorted, or at the very least January. I'm looking for the perfect planner so please give me a shout if you've come across something fancy. My current diary was from Merci in Paris and it's feeling quite irreplaceable as I'm not quite feeling the ones they have online at the moment. You've gotta have a wall calendar though and I'm feeling quite happy to have stumbled across this Mini Risographed Calendar by Risotto Studio. I'm a lover of the results Riso printing brings and this little patterned beauty would hang perfectly on my print wall. Perhaps a late visit from Father Christmas? Buy yours here.
& a Happy New Year to you too. What better way is there to capture Christmas than this? A pig decorating the tree or as I like to imagine it this is me taking down the tree (after way too much feasting.)
This is the kind of post I should have written weeks ago so you could all stock up on these delightful cards but I didn't. Sorry, I'm awful at Christmas planning. There is so much more in the range though so don't despair. Jo Ham, the London based designer behind these playful prints is committed to supporting the British design industry and I'm a little in love with her stories of the wonderful lives of a rabbit and a pig.
See more of DJ rabbit and scooting pig here: hammade.com
Over the past few months I have become increasingly interested in the workspaces and studios that artists inhabit. Every time I visit a designer in their working environment I feel like I'm seeing a little into their world. Messy, clean, organised or chaotic; each aspect of a studio reflects the creative process of the artist and of course everyone works differently. I've decided to document little snippets when I visit these creative homes and first up is Walthamstow-based Daniel Heath, who I encourage you all to get to know and enjoy.
Daniel is a designer-maker specialising in wallpaper, textile and surface design. I'd heard his name floating around for a while but I really fell in love with his work after seeing this lovely video which was used as part of the W is for Wallpaper exhibition at the Ruthin Craft Centre. I'm quite the wallpaper fanatic (made my own ya know!) so it was a delight to take a closer look at Daniel's designs and snoop round the studio whilst he worked on his latest bespoke project.
Blackhorse Workshop is Daniel's community studios of choice. It has a really great social vibe with a coffee shop, brewery and monthly markets happening for the artisans of Walthamstow. I've seen some of the breakfast options available and it all looks pretty darn tasty! The downstairs area of the studio is actually a public workshop which can be used if you sign up to a membership so look no further if you are after a woodwork or metalwork shared studio. Upstairs are more permanent studios which are occupied by a variety of crafts people including Daniel and his team of two Laura's, one of whom his is wife which is rather lovely.
Mr Heath started off at Loughborough University before moving on to train in the traditional process of silk-screen printing at the Royal College of Art. Having started off sharing a dingy space with a fellow graduate after the RCA, Blackhorse is now his workplace home and when he's not occasionally teaching at Bucks New University, he's creating beautiful limited edition pieces for a range of clientele working for a number of months on each project.
I was pretty chuffed to catch a glimpse of the Onyx Skyline Wallpaper which launched earlier this year at London Design Festival. The metallic hues on this art deco piece would make any wall look a million dollars and interestingly the piece was inspired by The Hoover Building in Perivale. It's the inspiration behind Daniel's pieces that make his designs playful and fun as well as providing a little narrative. His work is decorative and this is something he's not afraid to shout about. He's simply putting a lot of passion and love into beautiful illustrations and hand-crafted products. Having been faced with the issue of needing to be 'conceptual' throughout my whole university life its pretty bloody brilliant to meet someone successful in the industry with this way of working. Although of course its taken him a lot of hard work and late nights to get there.
Thanks so much to Dan for having me over for a little chat and for allowing me to photograph him whilst being busy at work.
It's time for Part Two from guest writer Patrick O'Mahony on his time at the RCA. If you haven't seen the first instalment then do have a butchers here. Patrick is taking a closer look at the projects he's been working on over his first semester and it clearly shows how diverse his course is. I'm quite jealous. Anyway, over to Patrick. I hope you appreciate his work as much as I do!
"I’m nearly at the end of my first term, and with the modules all slowly coming to an end, it’s strange to look back over the past few weeks and realise how much I’ve achieved. Our chosen elective, 'Friction', has given us a great insight into how to create a film narrative; from the beginning stages of constructing a story, to finalising the storyboards and animatics. Throughout these weeks key experts in the animation industry were brought in as guest lecturers, all presenting their unique insight and advice on their methods and how to make it out in the "real world". The first of these classes saw famed animator Jonathan Hodgson teach a creative writing workshop on the ways of crafting the beginnings of a story. We were asked to write, without stopping, for 5 minutes, thinking about a type of journey we have been on. If we couldn’t think of something to write we had to write “I can’t think of anything” over and over till something popped into our heads. I couldn’t help but think about commuting to work and uni and more specifically my journey to and from college for three years when I lived in Ireland. The train went from a tiny town to a city and on this journey we travelled through a zoo. At first, seeing a flamingo every morning was quite amazing but it soon grew tiresome and I slowly started forming my story from this. I also ended up with this drawing which I think sums it all up quite well. Over the classes I built on this story and have began to develop it as a short film!
Another different experience saw us recording a short story in the sound studio - but only sound effects with no speech. I had to act out throwing up after a horrible meal, pretend to be a cat having a party, and cough to the point where I could barely talk. We then needed to turn these short stories into animatics, changing them to make the sounds reflect something different then what we originally planned the story to convey. Some people completely readapted the sounds while others created more abstract videos. I think if there’s anything I learned, its how surprising it is that so many different objects can be portrayed by a single piece of plastic and a comb. Alongside this, Our ‘Embodying Voice’ workshop covered the basic principles of animation whilst also getting us to focus on the performance of the characters we animate. A good crash course and refresher in all things animated, these classes were led by animator and ex-RCA student Matt Abbiss, who also happens to be my personal tutor for the year. The outcome of this was to produce a short lip-sync film where we were able to select a pre-recorded conversation from a short list and create and animate a character in whatever medium we chose to speak along with the recording. One of my favourite projects during my time at the University Of East London was doing this exact same project so I took it upon myself to try and make a more advanced one, featuring two characters and replacement mouth pieces for the puppets instead of digitally creating them. This meant each character had to have around 5 mouths made for them that could be taken off the face and switched out to create the illusion of speaking. Watch my video below!
With our lecturer classes coming to an end in a few weeks it’s now getting to the stage where we’re beginning to think about our first year films which begin after Christmas - a short 1 to 4 minute film. It’s quite clear now that the “easy” part is now over as from here on out I’m going to be making two films as well as writing my dissertation, which leaves all progress from now up to me. My own deadlines. My own schedule. My one shot at getting a masters!" Stay tuned for even more from Patrick on the RCA and follow him on twitter for regular updates: @RickpatArtpick
After my recent interview with Dan Howden, seeing all his travel inspired prints and hearing of his solo adventures I decided it was time to fall well and truly back in love with my own city and spend the whole weekend exploring. As well as making it to some of the exhibitions I'd had my eye on, I also took the time to visit some spots in my local areas of Leyton and Walthamstow. To top the week off, I had the absolute pleasure of working from The Shard on Friday - what a view of London, be still my beating heart. Here's a few of the snaps I took along the way including getting lost in Ann Veronica Janssens, the best hot chocolate from Deeney's, ribbons at VV Rouleaux and a neon lover's paradise at Gods Own Junkyard. Now get out there and see your city / town / village and appreciate every little bit of it. I'm off on more adventures tomorrow!
This Friday The London Illustration Fair will be taking over the Bargehouse at OXO Tower Wharf for three days in what promises to be the perfect inspiration for any creatives in the city. The Bargehouse is a four-storey warehouse in the heart of the South Bank and will be providing a cultural festive atmosphere for over 70 illustrators, designers, printmakers and publishers to exhibit their work and meet like minded artists. The fair aims to “capture the enjoyment and creativity of an industry flourishing with talent and passion” so if you’re looking for an alternative place to do your Christmas shopping and want to support emerging designers (I definitely am), this is it!
As well as a selection of emerging artist led stalls there will be a handpicked selection of The London Illustration Fair’s favourite publishing houses, creative agencies, illustration collectives, print studios, galleries, crafty businesses and designers. I’ve got my eyes on featured artist Camille Walala and her geometric prints (pick up one of her limited edition totes at the show) as well as accepted artists Marylou Faure and Mariery Young. Wide Eye Editions, Unlimited, Puck Collective, Art on a Postcard and Yuck Print House are also collectives to take a close look at.
One of my personal favourites, Unlimited will be showcasing their latest cheekily titled collection ‘Four Play’ in which 40 illustrators have collaborated with the design studio to create a typographic led piece. The self-initiated project explores the unique response by the chosen participants to a four-letter word given to them at random. “We wanted to engage like-minded creatives who were not only strong image-makers but open to playfulness and collaboration,” states Sara, owner of independent shop and gallery.
Site-specific, immersive installations and one-off murals will also be popping up around the industrial site with the likes of Thierry Noir and Rupert Newman having been asked to participate. Noir, the first artist to paint the Berlin Wall, will be creating an interactive, three-dimensional installation in the courtyard whilst Newman, CultureLabel’s Artist of the Year, will be revamping the exterior walls of the gallery with an eclectic live video mapping show.
For an even more jam-packed experience, London market extraordinaires Crafty Fox will be selling handmade one-off gifts and seasonally appropriate items from a selection of their premium designer-makers. To match the holiday spirit there will be a winter warmer bar and live DJs for you to get a little jolly whilst you peruse the Christmas offerings. I’ll be doing ALL of my christmas shopping with a glass of mulled wine. Be sure not to miss out on the programme of artist-led talks or variety of workshops and do let me know if anything catches your eye if you go! Images courtesy of The London Illustration Fair. Follow them on twitter: @TheLIFLondon