Life in 30 minutes

I’m delighted to be speaking at the Life in 30 Minutes mini-conference at UCA Epsom tomorrow, and really looking forward to hearing from the other speakers too. Thank you to Sue Perks for inviting me. More on this event afterwards…

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The event also coincides with my Women & Domesticity duster project currently on display at Sussex Coast College in Hastings. In addition to two exam boards it’s proving to be a busy week!

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Pechakucha talk at the De La Warr Pavilion now live

I’m delighted to announce that the talk I gave at the De La Warr Pavilion in March on International Women’s Day  is now online and live on the official Pechakucha website! (It cuts off the last sentence unfortunately, where I made the point that the dusters had become more than a cloth kept under the sink – they had become a voice.)

http://www.pechakucha.org/cities/bexhill-on-sea/presentations/women-and-domesticity

The opportunity to run a workshop, talk and exhibit at the De La Warr Pavilion was fantastic. The feedback has been so encouraging , the collection has grown in response and is already leading onto other exciting things for this project. More info is available on the blog: https://domesticdusters.wordpress.com, but here are a few highlights in pictures:

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Star Book Workshop – Phoenix Gallery

It’s been a very busy few weeks, but last weekend I spent a lovely Saturday morning with Sussex Book Arts Collective running a workshop making Star Books. This is a structure I love to make myself, and one which I’ve had included in an exhibition. My version was made from postcards, flyers, maps etc that I collected during a student trip to Amsterdam. (What better way to use the stash I’d collected!) Following a couple of great eBay wins I had a collection of playing cards and old postcards, which were put to great use along with a selection of coloured card and items brought in by participants.

Here are a selection of the wonderful books from the day:

Dorry Smallman:
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Sarah Partington:DSCN3357DSCN3358DSCN3359DSCN3392

Sue Partington:DSCN3398

Jill Tatersall:2016-03-08 16.41.35980806_10154003645449803_5920944854843554684_o12828444_10154003645429803_817479185154488187_o

And my daughter Daisy aged 8!DSC_0131

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Upcoming Workshop and Talk at the De La Warr Pavilion

I’m delighted to announce that I’ve been invited to present my Women & Domesticity project https://domesticdusters.wordpress.com/ during an evening of PechaKucha talks for International Women’s Day on 8th of March at the famous De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex. The dusters will be hanging in their usual Pop-Up exhibition style during this event. Tickets are available here: http://www.dlwp.com/event/pechakucha-20×20-night

Prior to this I’m running a workshop to be held on Saturday 6th February so that we can add more dusters to the growing collection. More details here: http://www.dlwp.com/event/women-and-domesticity-stitching-salon 

It’s free to attend this drop in session, I’ll be on hand to help with inspiration, sewing techniques and generally getting people started with stitching a duster. If you’ve already made one, or have one in progress then join us too for some company and a chat.

It would be great to see you at both or either events.

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Curious Projects – Thinking & Making Exhibition

I’m delighted to announce that some of my work has been selected from over 80 entries, along with 21 others, to be included in a wonderful little exhibition organised by Alex Valy of Curious Projects in Eastbourne. The exhibition explores the process of making as a means of thinking and creating work, rather than with the goal of a finished piece. http://www.curious-projects.co.uk

The opening night is this Friday 4th December between 6pm and 8pm and will run for a further two months.

The work I submitted includes 5 little ‘inside out’ books, which were instrumental in my thinking process when exploring relationships between cloth and the home, they ultimately inspired my embroidered dusters.

Vm Duster Book 3 - detailVM Mesh book 2VM Quilt Book 3 - Detail

 

And now to Beijing!

I’m part of an illustration and narrative focused called Fabula, and as part of this group my work is currently being exhibited in Beijing, China. The theme of the event is ‘Wake up your life with illustrations!’ More information can be found on the website of Nancy Yang, who is our China based representative and who has kindly put lots of effort into making it happen for all of us.

Here are a few pictures from the launch event (you can see my bright yellow postcard featuring one of my dusters). Unfortunately it’s too far to travel, but I’m there in spirit!

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Exploring Funding

I’m off to a funding workshop at the Towner Gallery in Eastbourne today to find out more about funding for Art Projects, which I very much hope will inform a direction for my Women & Domesticity Duster Project . I also have a one-to-one surgery with the Arts Council so fingers crossed!

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In the Hastings Press!

I’m delighted to have an interview published in the Hastings Independent Press about my life as a designer and lecturer. The full unedited interview is available to view below:

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Where did your passion for graphic design begin?

I studied for a degree in Art & Design with a specialism in Graphic Design in the late 90’s; up until that point my education had focused around Fine Art and drawing but I quickly became fascinated with the potential power of visual communication. I was a mature student and a single parent with small children so studying for a degree was also about ultimately providing for my family whilst enjoying a creative and challenging career myself.

Tell me more about your career

I was offered my first graphic design job at my Degree show and cut my design teeth working within a marketing and business environment for companies such as BT and Astrazeneca. Following this I free-lanced for a while getting involved in every opportunity that came my way; this included packaging design, design for print, web, book design and illustration, which lead into my next job at Dorling Kinderley (part of Penguin Book Publishers) where I worked as a Project Art Editor on The Strand in London. I absolutely loved that job!

Following this I ran my own company for 8 years, employing several members of staff and providing print, web and motion design. We worked for a wide range of companies but became known particularly for working with charities and not for profit organisations, which was incredibly rewarding.

I started teaching 7 years ago following a request from a friend to teach a logo design workshop and haven’t looked back. I went back to studying too and completed a PGCE teaching qualification in 2009, followed more recently an MA in Sequential Design and Illustration. These days I both teach and practice as a graphic designer and illustrator, whilst trying to fit some personal projects alongside too.

Who is your favourite designer? And why?

I have several favourites and my influences are quite broad but I’m definitely a big fan of Alan Fletcher – his work is so loose and playful. In contrast I love just about everything that came out of the Bauhaus, from Annie Alber’s woven rugs, to Paul Klee’s paintings and Herbert Bayer’s theories on typography; I think it’s the geometry that particularly appeals. In terms of more contemporary designers I love Marian Bantjjes and Jenny Holtzer’s completely different approaches to typography. I think it’s important to be open to influence from lots of different sources, after all graphic designers don’t only communicate to other designers.

How does other design work influence your own?

Teaching is very much a two-way process. The students often inspire ideas or discover insights, which are exciting and new. Breaking design basics down into briefs and workshops can also help me see a problem from a different perspective. Being enthusiastic with the students about design is inevitably infectious and keeps me excited about the subject. The fact that I’m still practicing means my knowledge is up-to-date and I understand the challenges of clients, technology and carving a creative career.

What is the best project you have worked on?

I designed a set of books from scratch for Dorling Kinderley called the 15 Minute Language series. The idea was that if you spent just 15 minutes a day learning the basics then you could master a new language (I never tried it out!) They were very visual and used colour and photography as tools for learning. I spotted them in an Airport once on my way to a holiday and took a photo of myself beside them – the thrill of seeing my work out in the real world never diminishes!

If you could do a one off design project for any brand, which one would it be and why?

I’d love to design a book for Phaidon Book Publishers – their work is stunning!

Why did you start teaching Graphic Communication at SCCH?

I relocated to the South Coast from Suffolk about 3 ½ years ago and came across the advert for the job I have now. I looked like my dream job, and I was lucky enough to be offered it. I wanted to teach Graphic Design at University level in an institution where students come first and the course size allows plenty of time for teaching one-to-one or in small groups. I also believe that everyone who wants it should get the opportunity to study for a degree; in Hastings many of the student’s live locally for a variety of reasons, courses like mine make studying possible for them.

What is the best thing about teaching a degree level course in Hastings?

Hastings is vibrant, diverse and creative – the perfect place to be a graphic design student. The Art Department at the College is supportive and welcoming. I’m also still rather excited about living at the seaside and I love my short commute into work along the seafront!

Do you have any exciting projects lined up that you want to tell us about?

I have an exciting stop-frame animation illustration job for a large British food retail brand that I’m working on right now, with more work to follow in the autumn. They are rebranding so my drawings sequentially tell the story of their brand development over about a dozen pages of a sketchbook. Stop frame is a very slow production process; each page took several hours to film and I went through a whole stack of pencils and paper, as each element was hand drawn. This job is the perfect opportunity to apply my as a graphic design branding knowledge to my illustration skills.

I’m also running a personal project, which has developed from my MA and I hope to feed into a PhD, inviting people to stitch their perspective on women and domesticity onto a duster. To date there have been over 70 submissions, four pop-up exhibitions including the Geffrye Museum of the Home in London and I’ve spoken at a seminar exploring relationships between the home and art. I’m now seeking funding to take it further. (More info here: https://domesticdusters.wordpress.com/)

Ultimately I am passionately creative and insatiably curious, and this is what I’d like to inspire in my students. Graphic design is so much more than just posters and websites, it’s way of thinking, looking and communicating to the world around us.

YCN Awards & Joseph Cornell

Huge congratulations to my former student Iain Glynn who was nominated for a YCN (Young Creative Network) award this year for his design for the Fedroni brief. He created a box of black items made from their exquisite range of back paper. http://www.ycn.org/awards/ycn-student-awards/2014-15-ycn-student-awards There were some exciting names presenting awards too including Michael Wolff of Wolff Olins no less. I was just a little bit excited to hear him – what an inspiring designer he is!

Having completed and achieved a Distinction on the FdA Graphic Communication (for which I am Course Leader) he went on to achieve a First in the BA Top Up at Sussex Coast College in Hastings, with the University of Brighton. I joined him to celebrate at the awards ceremony at the Barbican theatre last Wednesday. There was some incredible work nominated for each award demonstrating above all an understanding of each clients requirements combined with some really creative thinking. Well done to Iain for his award, it was a very proud tutor moment. 🙂

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As I was in London I also popped into the Joseph Cornell Exhibition at the RA as I have long been a fan of his work. I was particularly inspired with the inventiveness with which he approached seemingly everyday objects and discarded items. Working with ephemera is very popular now but he was undoubtably one of the first to see it’s potential. The exhibition gave me lots of ideas for my own work, particularly his pharmacy series, collections of things in little bottles, which I hadn’t seen in person before.

JC Pharmacy