creative spaces :: maggie’s cancer caring centre

My creative spaces posts are usually about the environments that creative people work in, implying an effect of their surroundings on their creativity. We all know instinctively that our surroundings affect how we feel and behave, but this month’s creative space goes as far as to help people cope with one of the most traumatic things any of us can face, cancer.

Maggie's Cancer Caring Centre, London

Maggie's Cancer Caring Centre, London

I was recently privileged to spend a few hours visiting and photographing the Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centre in London. Continue reading

Advertisement

interview :: fine cell work

Fine Cell Work is a social enterprise that teaches needlework to prison inmates and sells their products. Prisoners work while locked in their cells, and while the earnings give them hope, skills and independence, the work itself seems to give them some sort of peace.

Fine Cell Work - Inmates stitching

Fine Cell Work - Inmates stitching

I spoke to Elena Hall to find out more. Continue reading

out and about :: coffee and design in London

Even the most hardened of London explorers sometimes need to refuel. And the design geeks among us would always prefer to do so in a cafe or bar with some serious design credentials. Luckily, a few real gems have popped up lately. Here are my three favourites; first the V&A Reading Rooms on Exhibition Road in Kensington.

V&A Reading Rooms

V&A Reading Rooms

A bookshop with a bar; why has no-one thought of that before? Continue reading

creative spaces :: allan manham

Allan Manham‘s pots have a wonderful organic quality that drew me to them from the first time I saw them. So you can imagine how excited I was when Allan agreed to show me around his studio.

My very own Allan Manham pot

My very own Allan Manham pot

Walking down the alleyway that leads to Allan’s Putney studio is like stepping back in time. Continue reading

here’s one I made earlier :: blah blah pocket monster

I love Donna Wilson. I love her products, I love her brand… I even love her outfits. The thing is, try as I may, I just can’t convince the boy that we should spend £70 on a cushion, not even a 100% lambswool, knitted in Scotland, grey with ebony robin, 40cm x 40cm, comes with a duck feather cushion pad, Donna Wilson cushion.

Donna Wilson 'Make Your Own Monster' kit

Donna Wilson 'Make Your Own Monster' kit

So imagine my joy when I spotted this Donna Wilson Make Your Own Monster kit in the Design Museum Shop! And for only £15! This is what was inside… Continue reading

interview :: javier mariscal

I was recently very lucky to be given the opportunity by the London Design Festival to interview Javier Mariscal. He is a truly multi-disciplinary designer, his work ranging from branding to furniture design and from interiors to films.

Still from Chico and Rita

Still from Chico and Rita

Here’s what he had to say… Continue reading

out and about :: london’s libraries (part 2)

Now, where were we? That’s right, just outside Holborn Central Library.

Festival-style canopy outside Holborn library

Festival-style canopy outside Holborn library

In my last out and about post, we got half way through the 20th Century Society’s tour of London’s libraries; “Lend us your books, a day ‘in Libris’” and now for the rest… Continue reading

creative spaces :: alexandra abraham

Alexandra Abraham sees the beauty in things others have discarded. She collects them, she arranges them, she covers them in gold leaf and then rubs it away, and in doing so reveals the beauty she first spied in the mud or the sand, so that we can see it too.

Close-up section of one of Alexandre's paintings

Close-up section of one of Alexandra's paintings

She very kindly invited me to her studio in a former sweet factory (where Sherbet Dips were once made) in Wood Green to see some of this process and the space in which it all happens. Continue reading

here’s one I made earlier :: graphic design with anthony burrill

A few weeks ago I went along to a graphic design workshop with Anthony Burrill at Outline Editions.

Anthony Burrill holding my masterpiece

Anthony Burrill holding my masterpiece

Anthony had provided lots of his designs copied onto brightly coloured paper. The idea was to take his designs, cut them up and make them your own.  Continue reading

thinking about :: how social media changed my life

Another month with five Sundays; another opportunity to deviate from my usual post topics.

This Thursday was Social Media Day. To celebrate, CNN iReport and mashable asked people to submit their stories in answer to the question “How  has social media changed your life?” So I thought I’d share my story with you.

It all started on a Thursday evening in March 2010. My colleagues were heading off the pub after work and wanted to know if was joining them. Sheepishly I admitted I couldn’t, because I was traipsing halfway across London (on my own!) to adrem’s private view of ‘Off the Wall’ – an exhibition of original hand printed wallpapers by a group of East London Printmakers.

Claire Hynds Klecksographien wallpaper

Claire Hynds Klecksographien wallpaper at Adrem's Off The Wall

Continue reading

interview :: anthony burrill

I still can’t quite believe I have met and interviewed the man behind the “work hard and be nice to people” poster that adorns so many design studio walls and  provides daily inspiration for the design community and beyond.

Watching the ping pong outside Outline Editions

Watching the ping pong outside Outline Editions

Arguably the driving force behind the current appreciation for typography; you might describe Anthony Burrill as a designer’s designer. Continue reading

out and about :: london’s libraries

Having recently joined the 20th Century Society, the boy and I joined them for “Lend us your books, a day ‘in Libris;'” a day exploring the development of the public library from the turn of the 20th century right through to the 21st; focusing on architecture, planning and design.

Peckham library

Peckham library

We started the day, bright and early, at Kensington Central Library. Continue reading

creative spaces :: emulsion

This month’s creative space is Emulsion, an architecture studio in Baker’s Yard; a little-known 1980s industrial estate in Clerkenwell, tucked away at the bottom of Back Hill and just down the road from The Eagle; reputedly the first ever ‘gastropub’. 

Door bell for the studio Emulsion share with Matteblak and Studio Baer

Door bell for the studio Emulsion share with Matteblak and Studio Baer

They’re on the top floor, in a double-height space they fitted out themselves, which used to house Continue reading

here’s one I made earlier :: yellow owl workshop

I love the Yellow Owl Workshop so I was very excited indeed to hear that Christine and Evan were coming to London, for the launch of Christine’s new book, Print Workshop.

My copy of Print Workshop signed by Christine Schmidt and the little fish stamp she made me!

My copy of Print Workshop signed by Christine Schmidt and the little fish stamp she made me!

So excited in fact that I booked the afternoon of work and went along to Urban Outfitters in Spitalfields for the launch, and I’m very glad I did. Continue reading

interview :: experimental jetset

The first time I saw Gary Hustwit’s 80 minute documentary about a font, Helvetica, was at the ICA; part of a competition with some friends to organise the geekiest Friday night out which had started with a screening of This is Tomorrow (a documentary largely about a carpet*) at the Royal Festival Hall with a live score performed by Saint Etienne. Needless to say, I won, albeit by a fairly narrow margin!
saSA
From left to right: Erwin, Danny, Marieke. Poster part of the 'La Zafra de los Diez Millones' series, by Olivio Martinez Viera, Stedelijk Museum. (Photo by Karina Bisch)

From left to right: Erwin, Danny, Marieke. Poster part of the 'La Zafra de los Diez Millones' series, by Olivio Martinez Viera, Stedelijk Museum. (Photo by Karina Bisch)

Helvetica, now my favourite film, was my introduction to a number of influential graphic designers, not least Wim Crouwel and Experimental Jetset. Continue reading

out and about :: barbican

The boy and I recently spent an enlightening Sunday afternoon exploring the Barbican on one of their official architecture tours led by the very knowledgable Richard Burton.

Once voted Britain’s ugliest building, this 35 acre, Grade 2 listed estate has been the subject of much controversy and misunderstanding.

The Barbican

The Barbican

The word ‘barbican’ means Continue reading

creative spaces :: wimbledon art studios

For the latest in my series of creative spaces features, artist Fiona Brown very kindly invited me along to see her space at Wimbledon Art Studios
and suggested I time my visit to coincide with Open Studios weekend (12th – 15th May 2011) so I could also get a look those of her fellow artists.

Wimbledon Art Studios

Blue Studios, Wimbledon Art Studios

In 1993 six artists started renting spaces in a paper warehouse, Continue reading

here’s one I made earlier :: screenprinting

I recently had the great pleasure to spend an evening at The Make Lounge on their Screen Printed Textiles workshop. I first tried my hand at screenprinting at the Print Block in Whitstable, during the Oyster Festival and I’m starting to think I might have caught the bug!

Screen printing ink

Screenprinting ink

We started with a demonstration from the lovely Helen Rawlinson who led the class. Continue reading

thinking about :: festival style

A month with five Sundays affords me the opportunity to deviate from my usual topics and include a little something about Festival Style; topical at the moment due to the Southbank Centre’s 60th anniversary celebrations of 1951’s Festival of Britain which began last week and run until September.

Original Guide to the Festival of Britain, 1951

Original Guide to the Festival of Britain, 1951

The Festival of Britain took place from May to September 1951, and was designed to commemorate the centenary of the Great Exhibition of 1851. Continue reading

interview :: john miller and anna hart

MARK, with its strap line “Product of Cornwall,” is so much more than just a “range of furniture and lighting designed for home, work and leisure,” as the website describes it.
MARK Net chair

MARK Net chair

Since its launch at 100% Design in 2008 (at which the Net chair scooped the Blueprint 100% Design award for best new interior product) it has been putting Cornish design and Cornish designers on a national if not international stage. Continue reading

about and about :: wim crouwel in conversation

On March 31st I went to see Rick Poynor in conversation with Wim Crouwel and his son Mels Crouwel at the Design Museum. It was first in a series to mark the retrospective of the iconic graphic designer and typographer; Wim Crouwel, a Graphic Odyssey.

Wim Crouwel (photograph by Luke Hayes)

Wim Crouwel (photograph by Luke Hayes)

Afterwards, I plucked up the courage to speak to the man himself to ask for a short interview – and he said yes! But more of that later; first the talk… Continue reading

creative spaces :: ian lettice

This month’s creative space belongs to Ian Lettice. I met Ian through the Friends of Putney School of Art and Design, and discovered his wonderful studio during Wandsworth Artists’ Open House.

Ian Lettice's studio

Ian Lettice's studio

He first noticed the building that is now his studio when helping out with the local scouts. Once a bomb shelter to the factory building that is now the scout hut, Continue reading

here’s one I made earlier :: cyanotype

Inspired by a recent exhibition about camera-less photography at the V&A called Shadow Catchers, I thought I’d try my hand at cyanotype, a type of ‘sun printing’.

 

Cyanotype buttons

Cyanotype buttons

 

Cyanotype, originally used for reproducing notes and diagrams in engineering circles (blueprints) Continue reading

interview :: helen lang

Helen is a Westcountry lass, now living and working in South West London as an illustrator. Her quirky artworks convey her slightly obscure sense of humour with a sense of craft and elegance.
All My Love by Helen Lang

All My Love by Helen Lang

Her many and varied artistic influences include Continue reading

out and about :: pick me up

Somerset House is the place to be at the moment, with Joy of Living, John Makepeace and Pick Me Up all happening at the same time. On Friday evening, I went down to have a look at Pick Me Up.

Pick Me Up at Somerset House

Pick Me Up at Somerset House

I had great fun following the shapes to find the exhibition (having come in through the Strand entrance, not the one pictured above in case you’re confused!)… Continue reading

here’s one I made earlier :: an explorer of southwold

In dire need of a bit of R&R, some inspiration and a birthday treat, the boy and I headed off to lovely Southwold for a weekend break. For a change of creative tact we went armed with “How to be an explorer of the world” by Kerri Smith and no less than four different cameras – a Fuji Instax, a digital camera each and the Diana Mini.

Southwold via Fuji Instax

Southwold via Fuji Instax

These are the best of our Fuji Instax shots. To get ourselves in full explorer mode and to avoid the usual seaside photographic cliches, we set nine photographic themes. Here are the best shots from each theme… Continue reading

interview :: max fraser, the joy of living

Max Fraser, editor of the London Design Guide (a book which rarely leaves my handbag), has been working on a rather special project. Joy of Living finally sees the light of day on March 15th at Somerset House.

Joy of Living artwork

Joy of Living artwork

In a bid to raise £50,000 for Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres, Max has asked a stellar cast of over 100 designers, Continue reading

interview :: the father of british furniture design

I was recently very privileged to meet, and spend almost an hour talking to, ‘the father of British furniture design,’ John Makepeace, ahead of his first solo exhibition, which opens at Somerset House on 16th March 2010. I am pleased to report that he was both fascinating and lovely.

Invitation to John Makepeace: Enriching the language of furniture

Invitation to John Makepeace: Enriching the language of furniture

Here’s what we talked about…

I believe you first saw furniture being made when you were just eleven. How did this come about? Do you remember what you felt at that time? Continue reading

out and about :: isotype

I recently found myself in the deliciously geeky world of Room 17a at the V&A; home to an exhibition about ISOTYPE (International System of TYpographic Picture Education) – a system for organising and displaying information and statistics using pictures.

Symbols of Pictorial Statistics

Symbols of Pictorial Statistics

Continue reading

creative spaces :: emma bond

This month’s creative spaces post features the enchantingly titled “Orchard Studio;” home to Emma Bond’s garden design business. The wonderful photography is all by Emma herself, who, as well as designing, building and writing about gardens, is a keen photographer with a love for vintage cameras.
Coloured pencils

Coloured pencils

Continue reading

here’s one I made earlier :: bathroom design

A while ago, I showed you my bathroom concept board, developed as part of the klc Diploma in Interior Design, and I promised you that I would show the bathroom design that resulted.

William Holland Bateau bath

William Holland Bateau bath

Whilst I’m (still!) not quite finished inking up all the drawings and compiling the furniture booklet, I can give you a sneak peek into some of the items I’ve chosen to include.  Continue reading

interview :: nic rysenbry, design for dementia

I first came across Gregor Timlin and Nic Rysenbry‘s Design for Dementia project at RCA at the LDF in 2010.

Colour contrast tableware

Colour contrast tableware

Design is about making people’s lives better. When that can be done for people whose quality of life is compromised by something like dementia, a designer’s role becomes a very special thing indeed. Continue reading

out and about :: john pawson plain space

John Pawson Plain Space at the Design Museum opens with; “…I think a plain space near the eye gives it a kind of liberty it loves; and then the picture, whether you choose the grand or beautiful, should be held up at its proper distance. Variety is the principle ingredient in beauty; and simplicity is essential to grandeur.” William Shenstone, 1714 – 1763.

Site specific 1:1 installation, John Pawson for the Design Museum

Site specific 1:1 installation, John Pawson for the Design Museum

I prefer Pawson’s far simpler explanation; “I’m from Yorkshire – plain speaking, plain space.”  Continue reading

creative spaces :: michael anastassiades

For the second post in my series of sneaky peaks behind the scenes into the thinking, working, and making spaces of designers, I was lucky enough to be given a rare glimpse into the studio of Michael Anastassiades.

 

Tube Chandelier, 2002

Tube Chandelier, 2002

 

The Chandelier above, one of the pieces Anastassiades is most well-known for, hangs in the stairwell leading to his living area, above his studio.  Continue reading

here’s one I made earlier :: sketchbooks

A sketchbook is a great way to collect and explore ideas – and of course the best thing is to keep one on you and get into the habit of using it every day.

Wax crayon and watercolour pencils - inspired by swimming pool

Wax crayon and watercolour pencils - inspired by swimming pool

I’m not that good, but I do always try to find the time when I go on holiday. Continue reading

2011; the year of hygge

‘Hygge’ (pronounced heu-gah) is a Danish concept. The nearest literal translation into English is ‘coziness,’ but it’s so much more than that.

Kits Boutique tweedmill grey check blanket

Kit's Boutique tweed mill grey check blanket

It’s a state of warmth and contentment; a sense that all is right in the world. A freedom from anything that might annoy, worry or overwhelm you. Continue reading

here’s one I made earlier :: the joy of stamps

Two of my many lovely design-related Christmas presents were sets of stamps from Yellow Owl Workshop all the way from San Francisco.

 

Thank you cards made with Yellow Owl Workshop stamps

Thank you cards made with Yellow Owl Workshop stamps

 

I supplemented them with an alphabet set from Muji and immediately got to work making my thank you cards (above). I’m really proud of them, but I think the credit should really go to Yellow Owl Workshop for the beautifully designed and made stamps. Continue reading

interview :: tom raffield

Pendant no 1 in ash

Pendant no 1 in ash

I love Tom Raffield’s beautiful steam-bent wooden creations – they are so clearly inspired by my favourite corner of England; the wild West(country). He very sweetly agreed to an interview, which is as inspirational as his creations… Continue reading

out and about: the temporium

On Thursday evening, I went along to London’s latest pop-up design shop; The Temporium, a collaboration between Dezeen, Deborah Spencer and Alice Breed. It featured some of my favourite designers, so I was very excited – and I wasn’t disappointed.

The Temporium

The Temporium

The first things I spotted were… Continue reading

quirky gifts for the design geek in your life

I’m fed up with buying the same old presents from the same old shops every year. So this year, as well making some teacup candles myself, I’ve spent some time researching unusual and original presents that (hopefully!) will be warmly received and cherished for years to come, rather than swiftly ending up as landfill. Here are the fruits of my labour.

Bird print grand espresso set, Dutch by Design, £15

Bird print grand espresso set, Dutch by Design, £15

Continue reading

interview :: penelope jordan

I met Penelope Jordan at this year’s TENT and immediately fell in love with her quirky brand of 3D textile design, which cannot help but make you smile, so I was over the moon when she agreed to answer a few questions for me.

'Pouch' by Penelope Jordan

'Pouch' by Penelope Jordan

Penelope,  what’s the most important thing to know about you? Continue reading

creative spaces: bernard leach

I’m always very inspired by seeing the spaces creative people work in; the tools they use, the things they keep around them for inspiration, the effect of their environment on their work – so this is the first in a series on that very subject; featuring Bernard Leach’s studio and the Leach Pottery in St Ives, Cornwall.

Leach pots

Leach pots

Continue reading

here’s one I made earlier :: a nice cup of tea

Inspired by Kirstie’s Homemade Home and an increasing cynicism about the annual Christmas cycle of shopping-presents-landfill, I decided to get crafty and make my own Christmas presents this year.

Teacup candle

Teacup candle

The first step was a lovely afternoon spent trawling charity shops for teacups, Continue reading

Interview :: one for sorrow, two for joy…

I first spied the Furniture Magpies at this year’s Tent and loved their quirky brand of ‘up-cycled’ furniture. With a manifesto like “We don’t believe in good furniture going to landfill when it can be redesigned into a piece that people can love all over again,” what’s not to love?
 Furniture Magpies' "Hang on to your drawers"

Furniture Magpies' "Hang on to your drawers"

The magpies were kind enough to answer a few questions for me…

here’s one I made earlier :: mini diana

I was recently very excited to open a present and discover this little lady nestled inside…

Diana Mini Lomo

Diana Mini Lomo

And as a result, I was introduced to the world of lomography.

Continue reading

out and about :: superdesign

Hidden in the basement of Victoria House on Bloomsbury Square for four days last week was SuperDesign 2010.

Studio Olgoj Chorchoj from Vessel Gallery

Studio Olgoj Chorchoj from Vessel Gallery (Photography: Will Wilkinson)

The basement location, the stage lights, and the fact a fellow design geek and I had sneaked out during our lunch hour; all added to the sense of anticipation Continue reading

interview :: zoe murphy

Tent 2010 favourite, Zoe Murphy, lives by the motto ‘love what belongs to you.’ Inspired by the fading glory of her seaside hometown Margate; she lovingly breathes new life into discarded mid-century furniture and vintage textiles – creating colourful products you’ll want to keep forever.

 

Zoe Murphy Dreamland drawers

Zoe Murphy Dreamland drawers

 

Despite being a very busy lady after another successful year at Tent; Zoe very kindly took the time to answer a few questions for me. Continue reading

out and about :: wandworth artists’ open house

Today was an unexpected delight in many ways. Firstly, the sun shone as if it was summer, which was wonderful after the last fortnight of gloom.

Wandsworth Artists Open House

Wandsworth Artists' Open House

Secondly, we spent the day exploring the Putney Artists’ Trail as part of the second weekend of Wandsworth Artists’ Open House, which was a series of multifarious delights unfolding one after another. First stop was The Cottage on Cambalt Road Continue reading

out and about :: rca @ ldf

The Design Products Collection is one of four London Design Festival exhibitions presented by the RCA and the launch of new products designed and made by alumni and staff from their Design Products course.

Greetje van Helmonds sugar jewellery

Greetje van Helmond's sugar jewellery

This bling-tastic ring is in fact made from sugar, Continue reading

out and about :: trend spotting at 100% design

A very large and well-scribbled upon blackboard at 100% Design posed the question; “what is the future of design?”

What is the future of design? (Photography: Philip Vile)

What is the future of design? (Photography: Philip Vile)

So with that question in mind, at my last big LDF event for this year, I thought I’d try my hand at a little bit of trend spotting… Continue reading

out and about :: pennies from heaven

Not willing to concede the end of London Design Festival quite yet; I swung by Paul Cocksedge’s Drop installation on the terrace of the Royal Festival Hall tonight.

Paul Cocksedge's Drop installation with RFH in background

Paul Cocksedge's Drop installation with RFH in background

The highly magnetic brass metre-high ‘coin’ supposedly “fell to Earth from a giant’s palm.” Continue reading

out and about :: origin

I am very sad to have been greeted by these closed doors when I excitedly arrived at Origin, thinking I had a good couple of hours to check it out…

All I saw of origin :(

All I saw of origin

Happily, some of my fellow bloggers were luckier and so here are my best bits of their best bits… Continue reading

out and about :: tent

I rushed back from the West Country on Saturday and headed straight over to the East side of town for this year’s TENT, and boy was I glad I did!

Tent London 2010

Tent London 2010

Hosted in the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane; Tent London is one of London Design Festival‘s edgier events… Continue reading

out and about :: moquette for london

Last night saw a wonderfully geeky series of talks at the London Transport Museum entitled “Moquette for London” as part of the London Design Festival.

Wallace Sewell moquette

Wallace Sewell moquette

If I’m really, really honest…

Continue reading

out and about :: london transport museum

I made (well, decorated!) some tumbler glasses! As part of “Moquette for London” at the London Transport Museum, I attended a workshop by The Make Lounge and designed my own glasses inspired by tube seat fabric patterns.

Glass tumbler

Glass tumbler

Start with one tumbler, cleaned with window cleaner…

Continue reading

out and about :: tom dixon in the dock

Tom Dixon has a shop; in London; selling “spectacular everyday things”… so naturally I went along to take a look…

Tom Dixon Shop

Tom Dixon Shop

It’s set within “The Dock“; a design hub housing… Continue reading

interview :: sarah hillman

I am a huge fan of Sarah Hillman‘s work, having acquired my first piece after Origin 2008 and my second piece for my 30th birthday in 2009.

Sarah Hillmans petal pod

Sarah Hillman's petal pod

My fiance and my best friend have both met Sarah in the process of buying these pieces for me. I was secretly heartbroken to discover from them that…

Continue reading

thinking about :: every chair I sat in today

A very long time ago, I read somewhere* that the average person sits in seven different chairs every day, and had an idea; to photograph every chair I sat in for a day. Here’s how I got on:

Eero Saarinen Tulip Chair

Eero Saarinen Tulip Chair

I spent most of the day sitting in this chair working at my dining table (you guessed it, an Eero Saarinen Tulip Table!). I needed the cushion to get myself high enough up to work comfortably on the laptop – they were obviously designed for…

Continue reading

out and about :: 1:1 architects build small spaces

Friday night at the V&A was a like treasure hunt. They had asked 19 architects to submit plans for ‘small spaces’ that explore the idea of refuge and retreat – and seven were selected to make 1:1 scale models, which are now on display all over the museum. A map (and my terrible map reading skills) led us to the first installation; the delightfully wooden “woodshed” by Rural Studio (a programme of a school of architecture at Auburn University):

"Woodshed" by Rural Studio

"Woodshed" by Rural Studio

Our explorations then took us on to my idea of heaven…

Continue reading

creative spaces :: tessuto

Through the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) Student Mentoring Programme, I was recently fortunate enough to spend a day at interior design agency; Tessuto.

Tessuto offices

Tessuto offices

I started my day by searching for a coffee table and a lamp for a show flat in Devon. They were needed because…

Continue reading

guest blog :: port eliot festival, by clare howdle

You might think British festivals are all about the mud, pop-up tents and plastic pints – leaving little space for beautiful design. You’d be wrong. This year’s Port Eliot Festival refused to bow down to stereotypes, despite the intermittent rain, which tried its damnedest to turn the site into a mudslide.

flags at port eliot festival (hipstamatic photo: clare howdle)

Flags at Port Eliot Festival (Photo: Clare Howdle)

These stunning silk flags billowed weekend-long; overlooking…

Continue reading

here’s one I made earlier :: the print block

I made a t-shirt! Well, technically, I just decorated it, but it was a lot of fun either way.

photo emulsion stencil

photo emulsion stencils

The Print Block in Whitstable was having an open day as part of the Whitstable Oyster Festival and offering the chance to make screen printed t-shirts, pirate flags and mono-prints, which naturally I jumped at. I decided to print a t-shirt, and…

Continue reading

out and about :: whitstable

Spent the weekend at the Whitstable Oyster Festival; lots of inspirational sights and smells, colours, textures and shapes…

oyster shells

oyster shells

Continue reading

out and about :: ernesto neto: the edges of the world

Ernesto Neto: The Edges of the World is a thoroughly inspirational installation that creates a weird world within the Hayward Gallery and really challenges conventional thinking about interior design.

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves…

Ernesto Neto at the Hayward Gallery

Ernesto Neto at the Hayward Gallery

Continue reading

out and about :: the new decor

Last weekend I went to the Hayward Gallery to see two exhibitions, The New Decor and Ernesto Neto, both of which promised to challenge the conventions of interior design. 

There were two pieces at The New Decor that really stood out as examples of how an artist’s mindset applied to design can create something truly magical.

The first piece that I liked was Spencer Finch’s Night Sky (Over the Painted Desert, Arizona, January 11, 2004)

Spencer Finch's Night Sky (Photo: The List)

Spencer Finch's Night Sky (Photo: The List)

Firstly, it was a beautiful light installation that would be equally at home in a public or commercial space, or even a large home.

Continue reading

thinking about :: design democracy

As part of the MyDeco Design Democracy Blog Awards process, I have been asked to write a blog post about what design democracy means to me.
dsadsa
I started by thinking about what the words ‘design’ and ‘democracy’ mean separately.
Design democracy definitions

Design democracy definitions

From those definitions, I got to a definition of ‘design democracy’ that is about creating things around the needs of any user, regardless of who they are; which made me think of the Modernist movement…

interview :: people will always need plates

As many of you will know, I am a massive fan of People Will Always Need Plates. So much so that I even designed my wedding invitations in an homage to their work (albeit with much lower skill levels involved!):
PWANP-style wedding invitation

PWANP-style wedding invitation

 So I was delighted to discover that they too got married at the Pump House Gallery in Battersea Park and in fact designed these plates to commemorate the occasion:  

Continue reading

thinking about :: putney school of art and design

Very excitingly indeed, I have been accepted onto the Friends of Putney School of Art and Design committee. I will be helping them with attracting younger people to take part in their events and fundraising by putting in place a social media strategy, starting with a Facebook page, which is in progress as I write. In the meantime, here are is my second ever project created at the art school, my Godrevy vases; inspired by ‘Jamaica Inn country’, the North coast of Cornwall, where my Dad lives:

Godrevy vases

Godrevy vases

They play with the contradictory ideas of soft bends in a hard substance, and echo the colours and textures of the North Cornish coast. The art school has a very special place in my heart…

Continue reading

out and about :: elephant parade

There is just one week left of elephant-spotting! Since May, over 250 brightly painted life-size elephants have appeared all over London, to raise awareness of the plight of the endangered Asian elephant, which has dwindled in numbers by 90% in the last hundred years, and could be extinct in the next 30. Here is my favourite…

Blue Patch by Sir Terrance Conran and Design Team

Blue Patch by Sir Terrance Conran and Design Team

Yesterday I visited the Elephant Parade Gallery Shop, where you can paint your own elephant and buy anything from miniature elephants to posters showing every single one. I love, love, love the pink this chap has chosen to paint his elephant…

Continue reading

out and about :: clerkenwell design week

Heartbreakingly, as you can probably tell from this sad little unused wristband, work commitments kept me from Clerkenwell’s inaugural Design Week, so I’ve trawled the net for the best bits.
Clerkenwell Design Week wristband

Clerkenwell Design Week wristband

Many thanks to the bloggers who did make it for sharing the following:

Continue reading

here’s one I made earlier :: bathroom mood board

I’m still slowly making my way through project two of my klc course. This is a mood board for the bathroom project; to design a luxury bathroom for a male client’s art deco house for use by him and his girlfriend: 

klc bathroom moodboard

klc bathroom moodboard

 

And I’ve found some gorgeous items to go into the scheme… 

Continue reading

out and about :: andrew martin

What can I say?! I finally had the good fortune to spend some time wondering around Andrew Martin‘s London Showroom. Whilst the overall effect was a cacophony of craziness, there were some stunning individual pieces there, which I actually think is a great approach – it entertains and amuses you for long enough to spot something you like; cunning! Apart from the sound of falling water, which I can’t recreate here, these are the best bits:

OMG, like the best coffee table ever, dude!

OMG, like the best coffee table ever, dude!

  Continue reading

here’s one I made earlier :: colour matching exercise

I’m currently studying for my Diploma in Interior Design from klc by distance learning. For my second coursework submission, the first project was a colour matching exercise. We had to take a fabric with 3-5 colours in it; and create a whole room scheme by finding other items that matched the colours within that fabric. This is my board:

colour matching board

colour matching board

It’s a great way to develop a cohesive scheme for a room.

Continue reading

out and about :: pick me up at somerset house

The boy and I went along to Pick Me Up at Somerset House yesterday afternoon; the first contemporary graphic art fair in the UK, and I have to say, it exceeded our expectations. It smelt of paper and ink and making things, which is always a good start(!) and there was some great young talent there, but most exciting of all was Rob Ryan‘s studio, which had decamped there in its entirety…

Paper cutting in Rob Ryan's studio

Paper cutting in Rob Ryan's studio

I had no idea his work on this scale was hand-cut; it was quite incredible to watch.

Continue reading

out and about :: campana brothers

The Design Museum are running a series of talks at the moment – I went along to this one given by Fernando and Humberto Campana with a Brazilian friend I met on the CSM Furniture Design course. She had intrigued me by describing their work as “representing everything that it means to be Brazilian.”
campana brothers book signing

campana brothers book signing

The talk was a fascinating insight into Brazilian culture and the Campana brothers’ design process.

Continue reading

out and about :: v&a: quilts 1700-2010

I saw this exhibition at the V&A on Friday evening, with a friend who wants to make her first quilt. I was mostly attracted by the fantastically geeky title of the exhibition and surprisingly enough, it wasn’t overrun on a Friday night! It was however a very good exhibition, even for someone like me; who’s not a textiles-nut.

This was my favourite piece:

Punctuation by Sara Impey

Punctuation by Sara Impey

Inspired by the tradition of sewing love letters into quilts, in this piece Sara Impey used a line from a letter she discovered after her mother’s death, from a friend hinting at a possible relationship, which was signed off “See you suddenly one day.” She wrote the poem in this quilt using that fragment as a starting point.
 
Sara very generously gave me this rare picture of the quilt and also took the time to answer a few questions about her work:

out and about :: ron arad: restless at the barbican

Saw this exhibition at the Barbican today – really good. I’d only recently realised that both the Rover Chair…     

Ron Arad Rover Chair

Ron Arad Rover Chair

 

…and the Well Tempered Chair…     

Ron Arad Well Tempered Chair

Ron Arad Well Tempered Chair

 

…were by Ron Arad and had struggled to see a connection between the two, but this exhibition really helped to show the development of his work, so you could see the link between pieces as different as these two. It starts upstairs and is divided into eight types of production / phases of his output.     

Continue reading

out and about :: shoreditch and brick lane design guide walk

On Sunday, the boy and I did the Shoreditch and Brick Lane walk from the London Design Guide 2010. Here are the best bits…    

Arnold Circus, Boundary Estate, London's first council-housing project, build in 1900 to replace a Slum

Arnold Circus, Boundary Estate, London's first council-housing project, built in 1900 to replace a slum

Continue reading

out and about :: furniture design course, day 4

Wow, I was up until 12.30am last night and up at 6.30am this morning to make sure I had everything done ready to go straight into the workshop today. (Geeky, I know, but I am loving this course and really want to get the most out of it.)    

So, here’s my homework:    

Inspiration word (futuristic) board: CSM furniture design inspiration word board (The idea is that as you’re designing, you keep your user profile and your inspiration board in front of you at all times. The user profile obviously helps you stay focused on who the item is for; while the inspiration board can help you take the design in different directions – you can even change boards to explore different ways of tackling the brief.    

Top three ideas drawn up as ‘general assembly’ drawings (a 3/4 drawing, a front elevation and a side elevation to scale):    

GA drawing 1 - chaise longue and then some

GA drawing 1 - chaise longue and then some GA drawing 2 - moving chair

 

  Continue reading

out and about :: furniture design course, day 2

Homework for last night was to find a piece of furniture we liked and decide:

– why we liked it

– who it was for

– what it would be used for

– how it would be used

– how it was made

This is mine: CSM furniture design course flow chair board

Afternoon of lectures which I’ll share if I can get hold of them

out and about :: furniture design course, day 1

Furniture design at Central Saint Martin’s – a four-day course run by Rock Galpin. Apparently in four days I will go from knowing absolutely nothing about furniture design to making a scale model of an item of furniture I’ve designed. I started the course convinced I’d still be trying to decide whether to design a chair or table on day 4, but after a morning of lectures we started drawing chairs and then imagining what we might do to change their design, and by the end of the day, I’d produced these…  

drawing of robin day style chair

drawing of robin day style chair

 

(slightly wonky legs – my drawing skills would definitely benefit from more practice!)  

Continue reading

out and about :: off the wall

On 25th March, I went along to adrem’s private view of ‘Off the Wall’ – an exhibition of original hand printed wallpapers by a group of East London Printmakers.  

Here are a couple of my favourites:  

Claire Hynds Klecksographien wallpaper

Claire Hynds Klecksographien wallpaper

 

 I love this one – the idea is that you interpret the shapes and add to the design yourself.  

Continue reading