New Designer’s Part 1-2016

Year on year the level of talent that comes out of UK universities continues to rise, making New Designer's a pivotal and key event in my calendar. Part One consists of Fashion and Textiles, Jewellery, Ceramics and Contemporary Design Crafts, combining contrasting tactility of fabric, metals and porcelain.

Thursday for me is always a good time to look around, just far enough away from the stress of setting-up and the hustle and bustle of the preview and awards evening, it allows time and space to enjoy the array of stands, and talk with some of the designers about their work.

Inspiration ranged from the idea of zero wastage and the challenge of evolving work in this way, (Nikkita Palmer) to using the culture of Japan as a back-drop to not only the design process, but also the way that East and West gravitate towards different forms of beauty. (Samantha McNamara)

Bold colour mixed with brutalist architectural references, (Bethany Stafford) added a modern approach to ceramic design, allowing the user to play and create their own block combinations, whereas a more muted collection in pastel hues was presented in a cluster of curved vessels, (Holly Kemp).

It was also impressive to see an interior business already in full swing, professional and focused with a lean towards homeware, the ceramics on show used natural textures working alongside grey hues (Day Design)And away from the ceramics and craft, the sparkle of silver and gold took a back seat as the hard, angular metal pieces caught my eye, (Violeta Kozlova).

Whether practical or decorative, the range of work on show was inspiring, exciting, forward-thinking and brimming with confidence.

Designers from Left to Right...

Top - Day Design/ Nikkita Palmer/ Violeta Kozlova
Bottom - Bethany Stafford/ Samantha McNamara/ Holly Kemp

Design With A Story

Discovering like-minded and passionate people is always inspiring, whether a designer, advocator, educator or blogger, so it was lovely to be introduced to the Scandinavian version of Look Like Love, Nordic Design Collective. Having a received an invitation to their first pop-up shop based in Putney, South West London, it was an opportunity to share our approach, ethos and ideas on how we both support, nurture and promote our own native designers.

With a global appeal and popularity for Nordic design, (just add 'scandinavian style' into Pinterest and you'll see what mean,) founder Maria Richardsson spotted an opportunity to showcase a variety of designers from across the Nordics, and provide an online marketplace to sell their wares. With a strong emphasis on homeware and accessories, there is a beautiful freshness to the curated mix of independent designers on show, with simple materials, forms and colour combinations perfectly surmising the ever-popular Nordic style.

Designers from across the region can apply to be added to the site, but what links both Look Like Love and Nordic Design Collective is that there has to be story, a meaning behind each piece. This is not design for design sake, the layers of aesthetics have the ability to be peeled back to reveal something about them as a designer, their inspirations, their aspirations and ultimately their meaning.

Earlier in the year, the team sat down to try and outline their passion for what they offer and how this could influence and empower others. After several discussions and brainstorming sessions, the Nordic Design Collective Manifesto was launched, and now forms the basis for the company's approach and outlook not only on the business, but also as their own personal mantra.

Be Passionate. Life is too short to settle for less.
Create Great Things. Make stuff that makes you proud.
Share your Ideas. And give credit to the one who deserves it.
Be Kind. Compassion brings happiness.
Be Brave. Find your way and believe in it.

A simple set of rules, but powerful nonetheless, and with degree shows opening across the country as we speak, they feel even more important and relevant to to the next generation of new, independent designers.

Nordic Design Collective Popup Store in collaboration with Blåbär Nordic Living in Putney, London. Open from 20th June to 20th August.

Haran-01

New Talent Search 2016…here’s the shortlist!

After several weeks of deliberation and going through multiple applications, I’m pleased to announce the shortlist for New Talent Search 2016.

Haran-01

First up is husband and wife team, Joel and Helena who set up Studio Haran after graduating from Falmouth University last Summer. Their emphasis is on sustainability and using locally sourced materials to create their furniture and lighting pieces.

Based in Cornwall, not far from where I grew up incidentally, they have steadily established themselves and their brand, and are testing the market with a few key pieces from their first collection.

I absolutely love the honestly of the craftsmanship, and the way that sustainability is such an important aspect of their design ethos. Katie at Confessions of a Design Geek has also recently interviewed them which you can read here.

Second on my shortlist is textile designer Adriana Jaroslavsky. A recent graduate of Chelsea College of Art and Design, she has developed a signature style of bold, geometric shapes and colour combinations that she has converted to silk scarves, and more recently her first range of notebooks.

Her experimental mark-making with a cross section of products, working without the constraints, and obvious order that tends to be a common theme today, means she was an easy choice as part of this year’s shortlist.

My final shortlisted designer is weaver Rowenna Mason. Based at Cockpit Arts Studio in Deptford, she has been honing her craft, building a strong portfolio of geometric, monochrome and colour blocking pieces, taking inspiration from London’s dynamic environment.

In her own words, she ‘…brings together the best of traditional technique, rural materials, innovative design and urban inspiration…’ The softness, the modernity and skill in Rowenna’s work that translates to soft furnishings and upholstery won me over, and I can’t wait to visit her studio to see her work in progress.

I would like to thank everyone that applied this year, it feels like the level of talent keeps going up, and it’s exciting to see the huge potential and range of UK based designers out there. We'll be back next year!

Colours To Dye For

As a designer myself, it feels like there is a natural default when looking at concepts for a new project. Unless otherwise briefed of course, a moodboard can quickly emerge that includes sleek, minimal images. An abundance of monochrome details, and the mainstay, grey, whether warm or cool, will feature in some capacity. We are sometimes a little afraid of colour, there'll be an accent here, a detail there, but to fully embrace colour is often a rarity.

House of Arike, the independent British brand has tapped into this fear, and are asking us to fully immerse ourselves in not only colour, but pattern too. In 2013 Creative director Yemi Onibiyo decided to leave her career in Criminal Law behind and follow her dream to start a luxury interior design business.

Taking inspiration from traditional African fabrics, Yemi and her design team create prints with a contemporary edge. Using responsibly sourced, sustainable materials, everything is designed and produced in the UK.

I met up with Yemi a few weeks ago as she launched her new collection at Tent London, her first time there, as part of London Design Festival. Having spent time developing her brand, and launching her website, the latest collection shows a new level of confidence in her bold use of colour. Something that did not go unnoticed by interiors magazine Living Etc, picking House of Arike out as their 'one to watch'.

As well as continuing to produce soft furnishings, Yemi is also expanding her brand with small homeware pieces, namely coasters and oven gloves, to appeal to a wider audience, as well as spill colour across every room.

House of Arike's mission is clear, even if you remove just one bland piece from your home, replace with a hit of colour. Whether a coaster or a cushion, it's time to not be afraid of bold patterns and clashing prints, and you'll be safe in the knowledge that it'll always look good next to a grey backdrop.

House of Arike's new collection will be available to buy at The London Artisan at Truman Brewery, on the 22nd November at the Look Like Love stall.

 

New Designer’s 2015 – Part One; Surface Pattern & Textiles

After a few technical issues with the blog this week, I can finally bring you my favourite Surface Pattern and Textiles graduates from New Designers...All my top finds from Part 2 are coming soon...

Harriet Mackie
Leeds School of Art
Printed Textiles & Surface Pattern Design

I had the pleasure of meeting Harriet when I visited, and she took me through her extensive portfolio of colourful, clashing, bright prints. Each design starts with a simple hand-drawn study which is then converted into a repeat pattern to eventually be used on wallpaper, gift wrap and accessories. Harriet is intending to use the facilities available at Leeds School of Art to further develop her collection, and in the meantime, I’ll be seeing how many rooms I can re-decorate to include her designs.
http://www.artsthread.com/portfolios/tropicalefflorescence/

 

Siobhan Louise
Carmarthen School of Art
Textiles; Knit, Weave, Mixed Media

Siobhan’s collection of cushions, plates and mugs with her geometric influences really stood-out. Inspiration comes in many forms, so it was surprising and refreshing that her final pieces were based around her love of football, and the abstracted patterns have created a strong collection of simple monochrome magic.
www.facebook.com/SiobhanLouiseTextiles

The Hands-on Approach

With a mere 5 weeks to go to the next pop-up, I’m excited to announce the full line up of talented, emerging British designers you can expect to see.

The week long pop-up shop is aimed to highlight designer-makers with an emphasis on hand-crafted techniques, a trend that has been emerging over the last couple of years, with a move away from digitally-aided design. Focusing on the tactile relationship between the designer and consumer, each designer’s collection has a sense of honesty and craftsmanship, with many pieces either a limited edition or one-off item.

The designers has been honing their craft over the last few years, and by having more of a hands-on approach provides a better understanding of production, and the best techniques to use instead of relying on computer-aided enhancements.

From the 19-23rd May, as well as presenting new collections from 13 up-and-coming designers, we will also be holding a series of in-store workshops, talks from the creative industries, and daily portfolio surgeries for up-coming graduates throughout the week, and I’ll have more on the full events calendar in the next couple of weeks.

Amongst the 13 designers taking part are a selection of designers who showcased at the exhibition last September with their new collections for 2015, alongside new additions to Look Like Love.

Roisin Connolly is one of Look Like Love’s original designers and showcased her early collection at our first pop-in in Peckham in 2012. Since the launch of her own website, Roisin has built a strong following, and has been non-stop fulfilling orders as well as developing her latest collection of statement jewellery.

Since September textiles and print designer Holly Eden has been teaching as well as exhibiting in various local exhibitions. For the pop-up in May she has expanded her collection of silk scarves and headbands with her signature hand-drawn prints, as well as presenting new larger, silk wall hangings.

A recent addition to Look Like Love, Lale Guralp’s popular hand-drawn still life illustrations are her labour of love, with the original pineapple drawing taking 110 hours to complete. Expect to see the full range of prints and limited editions on show with mini greetings cards available too.

Sophie Cobb showcased her graduate collection at last September’s exhibition and has been busy working on her latest collection, as well as working as an art teaching assistant. She has been experimenting with glazing and building on the colour palette she developed during her final year at university to create a subtle, crafted mix of small one-off vessels.

Illustrator and print designer Lucy Wilkins applied to this year’s New Talent Search and having met her last month, it was a must that she was involved with the pop-up. Her work is inspired by the nostalgia of mid-century design and crockery that she finds at car boot sales. Her illustrations mix hand-drawn interpretations with a retro colour palette.

Reece Curtis-Walwyn has been super busy working on her S/S 2015 womenswear collection, and her work ethic is incredible having showcased her latest work at London Fashion Week earlier in the year, several of editorials, and a charity fashion show in the pipeline, she never stops. Reece will be stopping for at least the week of the pop-up, to present her line to prospective buyers.

This year’s New Talent Search not only brought out recent graduates, but also students in their 3rd year of study. One such designer was Alexandra Webb who travelled all the way from Leeds to meet me. I’m so glad she did, because her approach to surface print was different to anything I’d seen before. I’m excited to be one of the first to present part of her confident, mix media prints from her final collection even before she graduates.

The self-proclaimed, print obsessed designer Emily Carter has continued to build her textile brand Rose Honick since showcasing at the Look Like Love exhibition last September. This time she has shifted her focus away from cushions and tea towels towards zip pouches and purses, all completely hand-made, hand-printed with her cool, clashing print designs.

Lucinda Ireland has a stand-out typographic identity associated with the work we are familiar with, her bold illustrative prints ‘Hello’ prints  and most recently a commission for Harvey Nichols latest event. She is constantly evolving and her street art is the latest addition to her portfolio lifting the mood of the grimy streets of London.

Tom Hutchinson celebrated the launch of his first collection with us last September off the back of his incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign. This Spring, as well as his signature collection, expect new hand-crafted pieces as he expands his homeware and product range.

A new addition to Look Like Love, Amy Leigh’s graduate jewellery collection had a sculptural, stand-out influence to it. Since graduating, she has been developing a more wearable range that still stays true to her original inspirations.

CM Carter is one of our original designers and she continues to delight with her humorous illustrative offerings. Her latest collection builds on her exhibited pieces from last year with an expanded range of illustrated prints with there comic undertones.

I first spotted Jennifer Stafford at New Designer’s a few years ago, and although at the time she wasn’t in a position to be part of Look Like Love, it was a lovely surprise to hear from Jennifer to let me know that she had set up her workshop and had a collection ready to go. As well as her minimalistic range on offer, she has teamed up with artist Susi Bellamy with a more colourful collection of vessels.

With the final preparations underway, and a range of talks and workshops throughout the week, I hope you can all pop down to see this extremely talented group of designers, all are ones to watch and a moment to celebrate the best of British design talent.

Image by Yeshen Venema Photography

Turning Over a New Leaf

January means the to-do lists come out in earnest, (as if they ever really get put away!) and all ideas seem renewed, looking at them with fresh eyes. After a busy and productive 2014, my mind is literally fizzing with the prospect of the coming year and all the plans, ideas and projects waiting in the wings.

Always at the top of my list is to find new talent from across the U.K, and with the recent release of the independent biannual magazine Fiera from Confessions of a Design Geek founder Katie Treggidan, there is a fresh crop of design talent brought to the attention of the masses.

Having read the first issue from cover to cover, here are a few of my top U.K-based picks…


Rhian Malin

A recent graduate from Camberwell College of Art, Rhian has a unique approach to her ceramic designs. After throwing the simple vessels, she invites people to shape each one with their hands to create one-off distorted, tactile pieces.

Using a classic blue and white willow pattern following the unique contours, Rhian has created a bold collection with its roots in individuality and expression.

The strength of her work really shines through when viewed together, with each piece having its own unique story to tell.


Beatrice Larkin

Having finished an MA in Textile Design at the Royal College of Art, Beatrice has crafted a collection of beautifully simple, yet bold designs.

Based in London, she uses traditional weaving techniques alongside her hand drawings to create soft-focus contemporary, geometric designs.

Beatrice works closely with a mill in Yorkshire through each stage of production, to manufacture woven blankets and throws not only maintaining a strong link with traditional techniques and methods, but sees the importance of working with a U.K based company. This personal touch is evident with each throw using the finest wools for the ultimate soft and cosy finish.


Jodie Watts

Wanting to follow her passion, London-born Jodie went from Law to Furniture design, learning her craft at London College of Furniture.

Jodie’s designs combine traditional craftsmanship with simplicity to create quality contemporary pieces, and she has been lucky enough to work with some of the U.Ks best manufacturers including Benchmark and Parker Knoll, forming a strong portfolio of work.

I’m loving her Nymph occasional table in particular with modern lines and contemporary detailing combining both solid oak and ash.


Tiipoi

Founded in 2013 by creative partners Spandana Gopal and Andre Pereira, Tiipoi is based on a less is more approach, with their simple and beautiful designs inspired by the Indian subcontinent ethos, where nothing is wasted and where improvisation come from a lack of something rather than an abundance of it.

Living in a world of built-in obsolescence and a throw-away attitude, their material approach to design focuses on quality and longevity, something that grows and changes, ages and becomes more precious over time.

Using predominantly copper and brass combined with wood and glass their timeless collection is luxurious, yet humble, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.


These are just a few of my favourite designers from the first issue of Fiera. Katie’s new approach to putting all her discoveries from across the globe in one place, is a great way to celebrate new design talent that may have otherwise been overlooked. This now permanent record now brings them to the forefront, to be appreciated and celebrated.

“New designers still believe in the impossible - a crucial trait if design is going to help solve the problems, large and small, that we face today.” - Katie Treggiden

To purchase your own copy of Fiera click the link below...
http://shop.magculture.com/products/fiera-magazine

A Stitch in Time…

After graduating, there's always time for reflection, contemplation about where to go, what to do. Some have a clear idea that entering the design world in their chosen specialism is the most sensible way to go, others want to break-out and go it alone.

A daunting prospect for most, but with bundles of enthusiasm and talent, Emily Carter, one of our spots from this Summer's New Designers, has done just that. I caught up with her to find out what a typical day for her looks like...

 

So I guess you would like to know a bit about me and what I do before I say anymore…

I am a (nearing 23) year old Fashion Textiles graduate who fell in love and obsesses over print since my second year at university. I graduated with a First Class degree and three internships under my belt, but working for a fashion giant (everyone always assumes that’s the dream) didn’t fill me with excitement. What really made me ecstatically happy was developing and printing my own work into homeware products. 'Rose Honick' is the label I work under, taken from my two middle names, and has been growing since it started in my second year of university.

I now operate from my studio in Kent, where I am determined to pursue my dream! My studio is my colourful escape from dreary England, and I love to cover it with prints, drawings, photos and my mother’s artwork (she is also a creative in the family). While I work, I normally have the radio on to pretend I am working with other people! I have my cat Indi for company which has her own chair in the studio; but most of the time she sleeps.

On a normal day I wake up and start work on emails or computer work that needs doing, which leaves the fun stuff for the afternoon! I can be doing anything for the rest of the day from drawing to printing to sewing, as everything I sell is made, sewn and printed by hand. All original! All a labour of love! At the moment, I am putting together a range of storage and lavender bags, which is brilliant as my studio always smells great!

On Wednesday’s I run a club called 'Stitchaholics' where local people can come and use the equipment and work on their own projects, which is great fun. It’s so nice to surround yourself with like-minded people, (as my cat is a bit useless on that front.)

Occasionally, I also teach workshops in Print which is very rewarding to watch people’s faces light up when they see their print for the first time. I also work with local secondary school children to inspire and teach them what I know. Wednesday’s are always busy!

Right now I am working on my Business Plan. I have a brilliant and amazing advisor in Kent who is helping me grow my dream from studio to world-wide domination, or somewhere in between.

I think we all have a dream career or lifestyle and I honestly think anything is possible when you set your mind to it, after all, everyone has to start somewhere…

Find pieces from Emily's latest collection in our shop now!

London Design Festival…

After roughly eight months of planning, and with our red Shoreditch Design Triangle sign blowing in the breeze, we opened our one-night only exhibition on the 16th September.

It's our second year of being involved with London Design Festival and 'Hand-Picked' brought together twelve talented graduate and emerging designers under the roof of 5th Base Gallery in East London.

We had ambitiously decided to host the exhibition to celebrate the launch of our new website, something we've been working on for some time, and bring a 'Hand-Picked' creative force off the pages of design blogs and Instagram feeds, to the forefront of one of the most important design events in London.

It was important for us to not only show work from graduates we had spotted at New Designers and D&DA New Blood, but also emerging designers we had come across either via social media, networking or simply from an email saying hi, this is what I do.

A huge thank you to all the designers who took part, Shoreditch Design Triangle and everyone that made it down to support us and the designers on the night. Oh and the impromptu interview with London Live on practically no sleep and wearing no mascara, (something that dawned on me the following day!) It was a fantastic night and we couldn't have done it without you all...

Work by Lucinda Ireland greeted people as they came in with her collection of Hello's in her signature bold, graphic style. This sat next to the monochrome work by illustrator CM Carter, who had a range of prints, comics and screen-printed tees on display.

Domesticity ruled in the central space with a clash of not only cultures, but colour and pattern with work from House of Arike, Rose Honick and Jessie G showing that textiles needn't be drab or traditional.

Hand-drawn illustrations from Kayleigh Hadley gave a truly personal touch and sense of humour from her latest collection of typographic twists and twirls.

For the first time we included fashion in our selection, and the craftsmanship from Reece Curtis-Walwyn has to be seen first-hand. Her strong tailoring in muted, autumnal tones contrasted with the loose layered pieces and tassel detailing and the explosion of colour from Lisa McConniffe.

Screen-printed silks by Holly Eden added a softness to proceedings with her own hand-drawn designs transferred directly onto fabric.

Our selection of homeware has also extended this year with two designers we found at New Designers last year, Tom Hutchinson, who has recently, and successfully completed a Kickstarter project can now put his beautifully crafted Obtineo Range into production. And Sophie Cobb's ceramic collection Pick and Mix, shows the subtleties you can achieve in glaze for a fresh approach to the craft.

Last but not least, Max Lyne our first eco-product designer showcased his hand-crafted and stand-out light designs, sensitively using timber to create one-of-a-kind pieces.

We're off to start planning for 2015, see you then!

 

From Part One to Part Two…

One of the favourite parts of our job is scouting the degree shows for new talent, and 2014 has proved to be another hugely talented year.

New Designer's held at Islington's Business Design Centre every Summer is the hub for the UK's Universities, coming together to showcase the very best of their creative talent. This is our third year of attending and here are a few of our favourite finds over the last two weeks…

Part One

Amy Pegler

We starting following Amy Pegler, a graduate from Hereford University, a few weeks before New Designers as we loved her graphic, urban environment inspired textiles. There's a freshness to her designs that caught our eye, and were lucky enough to meet her and have a chat about her collection too.

 

Melody Vaughan

 

Melody Vaughan from Nottingham Trent University had an interesting take on ceramics, and her pieces were more of an interactive, visual tool as well as a sculptural one. We loved the moulded shapes and colour combinations that formed the stand-out collection.

 

Aimee Bollu

 

Also from Nottingham Trent University, Aimee Bollu's final collection was based around collecting and hoarding, with a touch of her own OCD. Mixed with her beautifully simple ceramic pieces, she combined found objects from the streets of Nottingham, otherwise deemed unloved, or uninteresting, and puts them at the forefront of what makes her work elegant, understated and modern.

 

Francesca Stride

 

A graduate from Glasgow School of Art, Francesca Stride had a very different way of displaying her wares. Using 2D card cut-out figures to drape her creations, the collection aptly titled 'Compositions for a Cardboard Cut-out' showcased industrial knitting techniques with fine wool to create a bold and colourful collection.

 

Part Two

Daniel Lau

Daniel Lau, a graduate from Nottingham Trent's Product and Furniture Design degree was on-hand to show us his chair collection, and chat about his future plans. Already successfully in production in the UK, an important aspect for Daniel, his Kai collection of wireframe chairs were striking, and finished impeccably. Available in a range of colours to suit the user, we loved the simplicity of the design and Daniel's passion for British-based design and manufacture.

 

Joshua Townley 

Joshua Townley's playful illustrative style caught our eye with his monochrome piece perched amongst a sea of colourful examples. We loved his work with just enough charm mixed with the right level of dark humour.

Alice Greatrex

The soft green hue used in Alice Greatrex's ceramic collection was stunning. We both loved the simplicity of the crafted pieces by the Loughborough graduate as well as the display itself. Without having to shout look at me, it was one of our stand-out collections from this year's crop of new talent.

Charles Parford-Plant

One of our final spots was by product and furniture graduate Charles Parford-Plant. His Tension collection showed how it is possible to create beautifully crafted, elegant and functional furniture without using a myriad of fixings to construct it. One top, four legs and four rubber tension bands are all it takes to put this table together, no assembly instructions required.