Sunday, 22 July 2012

Found Furniture...

In the last round of our graduate fave finds, we focus on furniture, and a few pieces in particular from New Designer Part 2. Universities from across the U.K pulled out all the stops to impress this year with large scale stands which transformed the white boxes into mini design showrooms...

One stand that stood out was from Northumbria University, showcasing a combination of small-scale products to impressive polished furniture offerings. You can often tell from a curated collection on display the passion that exists, not only of the individual designers, but that the course leaders and tutors give the well-needed support and key nurturing needed to succeed.

How can we gauge that from one stand you may ask, but trust us, when every designer is jostling for position, stepping your game up on all levels is so important, because after all it's not just an advert and opportunity for the designers, it's an advertising platform for the Universities too.

So starting with Northumbria, one of our top finds was by Chris Corkery and his perfectly balanced book storage unit. It's mini proportions and simple aesthetic teamed with the honesty of the material and detailing would look great in a student room or a city pad. 

Also from Northumbria is Natalie Hough, and in much the same way as Chris, her use of simple materials caught our eye. There were many stools on show in various guises, but what we loved about Natalie's was the subtle details, the finishing of the legs coming through the seat, and the mini softly formed shelf beneath added a homely quality. (Image from Claire Potter)

Last but definitely not least is Jade Moyse from Bucks New University. The stand was fun and bright, and with support from not only SCP but mid-century modern furniture company Ercol, the standard was high across the board.
Experimentation with timber as well as steel caught our initial attention, and Jade was on-hand to explain her pieces, and her drive and entrepreneurial spirit was evident from the start. She talked about researching manufacturers and finding the right market and price-points. We certainly don't expect her feet to touch the ground any time soon!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Art as Life...

Not feeling the pressure at all when Wallpaper magazine asked for our thoughts via Twitter on the Bauhaus exhibition, we wanted to make sure we did it, and them justice!

The Barbican always manage to mould their iconic art gallery to fit in with its ever-changing residents and the current exhibition, Bauhaus: Art as Life currently on until the 12th August, did not disappoint. Curated in chronological order, sees the Bauhaus origins move from Arts and Crafts to the more recognisable Constructivist powerhouse we are more familiar with today.

Original works from icons such as Kandinsky and Klee sit alongside the more stark works by Mies Van der Rohe and Walter Gropius, which in essence summed up the mix of styles and influences that existed through its fourteen year reign.

Some of the more intriguing aspects were the insights into the designers lives, shown through film and photography, with self-portraits and group scenes showcasing the freedom of expression artists-in-residence were encouraged to embrace.

What surprised us the most was the range of designs, not only art, furniture and architecture, but textiles and clothing too. But what did exist in all aspects was the attention to detail, the intricacy and thought process involved, whether a woven tablecloth or the iconic Bauhaus building itself.

As a member, you lived and breathed it, and the title of the exhibition certainly sums up the ethos of the Bauhaus,  Art as Life...

For more details visit: The Barbican

Images credited to Zimbio

Monday, 16 July 2012

Scratching the Surface...

In the second part of our talent scouting round-up we wanted to focus on Surface Print. There is something we find quite special about taking something hand-drawn and turning into a crafted signature, it makes each designers work unique and equally personal. An illustrated diary of likes and loves, whether abstract or literal, these designers become artists in their own right.

First up is print designer Mandy Nguyen with her kaleidoscopic range of wallpaper designs we found on display at New Designers. With many prints being created using digital techniques, Mandy's come from her initial hand-drawn creations. Taking a small section, she scans and plays with configurations to create her unique, complex mix of geometry, colour and floral motifs.

Louise Dormer, a recent graduate from Leeds College of Art took her Spirits, Rituals and Superstitions collection to form the back-drop to her display at New Designers. We were actually drawn to her collection in particular a couple of times during our recent visit, and we especially liked the monotone designs she created with its repeated motifs and bold graphic statement.

It really is lovely to meet designers face-to-face and talk about their motivations and aspirations, and in the 'One Year On' showcase, we had a chance to get talking with Jessica Hogarth. She graduated in 2010 from Leeds College of Art, and has already established herself within the design industry using her hand-drawn aesthetic to create her brand, which spans across home accessories, gifts and greetings cards. Based in Yorkshire, she takes inspiration from where she grew up and depicting daily life on her travels across the U.K and Europe.

Another favourite from the 'One Year On' showcase was the work of Joanna Corney. In a similar way to Jessica, she takes inspiration from her travels, with a particular interest in Brighton. Her fresh take on the sea-side destination depicts some of the town's most recognisable features, with a bright and breezy feel which translates from textiles to tea-towels, bringing a bit of the sea-side to any home...

Next up...we'll be showcasing some of our favourite furniture finds...

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Some real gems...

As this year's degree shows come to an end, once again we have been bowled over by the variety of creative work and diverse and interesting collections that have caught our eye. We found some great talent, so here are a few of our show highlights from the class of 2012...

First up is a selection of stand-out sparkly bits from New Designer's Part One...

Natasha Thorogood has just graduated from Nottingham Trent University specialising in Decorative Arts. Her collection of organic rings drew us over to her stand like a couple of magpies! They have a painterly quality, almost Monet-esque, and the combination of aquamarine and ochre mixed with metallic accents of copper, silver and gold were perfection...

Beth Jones, a contemporary applied artist based in North Wales showed that jewellery can come from the simplest of forms. Under the name Mine is Thine, her combination of sculptural and wearable pieces explores domestic references, and experimenting with techniques like enamelling, maintains a minimal aesthetic...

Victoria Thay ticks all the boxes for our love of pretty much anything geometric and structured. Throw in a touch of gold and silver and quite frankly we'll want to buy it all! A graduate from Central St.Martins, her surroundings in the capital become the inspirational backdrop, but rather than take literal references, she has explored the architectural landscape and the skewed perspective of buildings you often see when moving around the city...

Amy Logan formed part of the showcase of designers in the 'One Year On' space and in complete contrast to the work by Victoria above, her current collection takes inspiration from the drawn line. The translation from paper and pen to crafted metalwork makes each piece unique with its hand-drawn to hand-made quality...

Nicola Crawford was also showcasing her latest collection as part of 'One Year On' which took inspiration from the nostalgic routes of letter-writing. She came across a letter in an antique shop penned during World War Two, and used this as her basis for her 'Lost Words' collection...

And finally, Mairi Burrow of Mustard & Peaches, produced a stand-out collection as part of the consistent high-quality that comes out of Duncan of Jordanstone at Dundee University. We were already familiar with Mustard & Peaches through our link with Vanilla Ink, and we were excited to not only see Mairi's collection, but to meet the lovely lady herself. Her thoughtful and considered approach to her work was stunning, and tapping into a subject matter such as Alzheimer's was inspiring and heart-felt...

Look out for our round-up of our top finds in textiles, print and ceramics in the next few days...

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Press Gang...

Creativity comes in many forms, so it was such a treat for us when we were contacted by recent Contemporary Media Practise graduate Maresa Harvey. In search of an internship with us working on our blog, (something we unfortunately cannot offer at the moment), we thought we would invite her to write a guest post using a recent show or exhibition she had seen. So while we were scouting New Designer's in Islington, Maresa was down on Brick Lane looking out for work that caught her eye at FreeRange.

Of course, we know what we like, so we were intrigued, and equally excited to see someone else's take on the current crop of graduate talent, and she has not disappointed! Maresa's curated collection of illustration, photography, fine art and sculpture creates a perfect mix of truly talented new designer's and artists...

by Maresa Harvey

Now drawing to a close, I visited the opening of the penultimate week of Free Range last night; showcasing graduates work from disciplines in art, illustration and graphics. There was an extreme wealth of creative talent, making it very difficult to make a selection for recommendation. However, here are the eight that really caught my attention from the Arts University College, Bournemouth.

Downfall - Hollie Mackenzie

Mackenzies’ practice aims to discuss notions of utopia and dystopia. Her most recent project Downfall, explores such themes whilst looking at the transitional space of a stairwell. Created entirely of pine wood, her masterful carpentry skills present an alluringly mutated version of a passageway that we so commonly use. 

Liminal - Rebecca Pretty

The work of Rebecca Pretty looks at emerging and submerging figures. Placed inbetween a position of apparition and disappearance, the ambivalent nature of the work causes a contradiction of feelings between unease and tranquility.

Extractions - Becky Welford 

With her project Extractions, Becky Welford considers the continuing damage a thirty-six year long Civil War can impose on a country. Six years since the conclusion of peace negotiations in Guatemala, the stronghold of devastation, fear and distrust, are still ever prevalent throughout its society. The fragmented nature of the body of work metaphorically highlights this on-going process of repair.

Four Faces Eight Places - Alex Whitey

The sequence of photographs by Alex Whitey is produced in a western codex book, with a large-scale print at the entrance to the exhibition. The black and white, high contrast images document a relationship between spatial and temporal worlds that question notions of the common-place and mysterious.

Please Wait... - Louise Byng

Capturing moments of stillness, the series of work is captivating in its approach. Louise Byng successfully portrays the repetitive scenes of everyday life in Britain; highlighting the  ever common task of waiting that is such an inherent part of our culture.

Nikoo Bafti

Already familiar with the work of Nikoo Bafti, it was really nice to see her work in exhibition. The delicate fine line detail of ethereal scenes where truly beautiful to view. Exploring myths and fairytales, the body of work is captivating to look at.

Vinter Himmel - Marta Fjellheim
Illustration/ Animation

Norwegian artist Marta Fjellheim showcases a stop frame animation inspired by the cold winters of her home country. Set to a mystical soundtrack, the work is impressive in its craftmanship. The use of movement is particularly enjoyable, with seamless scenes of action.

Kirsty Britten

The large scale works of Kirsty Britten use photographic fragments as the basis for a exploration into the elusiveness of the image. Issues of memory, place and identity are discussed through the disjointed portrayal of the familiar and the foreign.

Exhibition continues: Friday 6th July - Monday 9th July
See for further details.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Hot off the press...

A few months after first chatting to the guys at Plog Magazine, and realising we genuinely share the same passion for supporting and promoting new creative talent, we are incredibly excited to be part of Issue 5 which comes out today!

As well as a feature about us, (a bit scary having our photo full-size on a page!) There are some amazing designers featured, including a great cover, quite possibly our favourite to date by Spiros Halaris from KOKOMI, with work and words from graphic artist Danny Aldred.

As well as receiving a print from Barnacus Knock, entitled The Tubers with every purchase, we have also donated ten of our tote bags, and a series of postcard sets to go to the lucky participates that re-tweet and spread the love of the latest issue through Facebook.

All the details can be found on the Plog website, where you can also buy the magazine on-line...we hope you all like it...!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Transferrable Skills...

Zoe Alexandria Richardson, a London-based jewellery designer approached us as she embarks on her new venture under the name Dual Nation Jewellery.

Having already completed a degree in fashion design and marketing, she needed another creative outlet, and enrolled in a diploma course for creative jewellery making at the London Jewellery School.

When she approached us with her collection, it was something we hadn't really seen before, and were intrigued to find out more, so we set up a meeting last month to meet her, and see her pieces first-hand.

Zoe uses a material called poly-clay, a plastic-based substance to form the decorative parts of her jewellery, and applies transfers she finds interesting to finish the look. Using a simple colour palette of gold, silver and bronze, she creates an interesting mix of uniquely shaped statement pieces with a vintage postcard quality, as well as drawing inspiration from her British and Australian heritage.

With her perfect mix of fashion, design and marketing skills, we see big things for Zoe as she has also talked about extending her ranges with her own illustrations, as well as looking to collaborate with other illustrators too.

We have a small selection of her work available through the Look Like Love store, so head over to take a closer look...