Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Christmas Pop-Up Market

Whilst in London I went to a little Christmas market set up by 'Our Market', an organisation which showcases designers and makers. They had set up some beautiful stalls in a bridge arch near London Bridge and had invited several designers to come and sell their work. It was so much better than all the other Christmas markets as there was such an eclectic mix of products. There was stationery, jewellery, prints, cards, home-ware, candles, textiles and so on. The fact that all the designers were there made it even more special as you could go talk to them about their work.

Zeena Shah creates beautiful handmade screen printed products for the home. She makes the cutest owl cushions and sweet heart-shaped lavender bags (which I had to buy one of). Her patterns are quite Scandinavian in style and she uses gorgeous colours to print with. Zeena's stall was my favourite in the market and she was so lovely to talk to, giving me useful tips for the future. She only graduated just over 3 years ago and is already very successful so she is a great example of what can be achieved in such a short amount of time.

Another designer who was there, Justine Ellis, also creates designs using screen printing but the colours she uses are quite soft and gentle. She creates designs that look quite simple but on closer inspection can often be quite intricate. I love how she creates textures with screen printing, giving her designs a sense of depth. Justine had a collection of Christmas cards which were more bold in style whilst still retaining a sense of simplicity.

Before going to London I'd done a bit of research to see if there was anything 'arty' going on and I'm so glad I chose to go to this market. It was one of the best bits of the trip and really inspired me to experiment with pattern and screen printing.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010


For my 21st birthday my family organised a surprise 3 day trip to London. It was totally unexpected and so exciting! We travelled down by First Class (get me!!) and stayed in a fancy hotel in the centre of the city. The highlight of the weekend had to be going to see the West End show Wicked. I'd heard of it before but never knew what it was about but it was amazing!! The story of the Wicked Witch of the West was so clever and they managed to tie in all these small details that linked it back to the Wizard of Oz. The set was awe-inspiring and the costumes were so beautiful - especially in the Emerald City. I had the best night and it was an experience I'll never forget!

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Riitta Ikonen

On the 7th December we had a talk from a lovely artist called Riitta Ikonen. She is originally from Finland but now works in London. Her work is concerned with the performance of images, through photography and costume design. She makes weirdly wonderful costumes which often have quite a theatrical look to them. Riitta is often excited by small insignificant objects, which she transforms into costumes and photographs in seemingly normal locations. This combination of bizarre and ordinary is what makes her work so different - she creates new experiences for people to discover. Riitta is very inspired by nature and several of her outfits, such as the snowflake, explore this theme in a very unique way.
Since graduating from the Royal College of Art Riitta has been very successful and was recently involved in designing a series of landscape features for the 2012 Olympic park. She is also collaborating with a New York artist called Ian Wright, producing diverse pieces that combine photography, costume and sculpture.She also gave some great tips such as: speak to everyone and anyone and always be passionate about what you do. Riitta was really wonderful to listen to and even though her work wasn't entirely to my taste, it was obvious she is extremely passionate about what she does.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Deathly Hallows Animation

I went to see the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows film on friday night. Although I like the books, I'm not a big fan of the films, so wasn't expecting much. However, halfway through there was a beautiful three minute animation explaining what the Deathly Hallows are. Directed by Ben Hibon and created by Framestore, the stunning sequence is inspired by oriental shadow puppetry. The animation was created in sepia tones, which gives it a really mysterious and ancient appearance. The combination of willowy puppets and fluid shadows is very successful; it creates an ethereal feel which captivates you. Apparently it took six months for a team of animators to create it, but you can understand why as it's so detailed and intricate. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a video but here are some stills that have been published:

Friday, 3 December 2010

Dominic Wilcox

On Friday 26th November we had a talk from Dominic Wilcox, an artist, designer and inventor! The talk was really good and Dominic was very funny! He has a great imagination, I don't know how he comes up with some of his ideas. His work gives everyday things a new perspective and he creates some really mad but useful objects. I was blown away by his 'speed creating' where he created a new thing each day for 30 days. It's something I could never do, I'm not fast enough and would spend too long planning! I particularly liked his shadow drawing, mirror image and pencil shelf. The outcomes are very beautiful and they're all such simple ideas, which makes them even better!

I also loved his cute drawings for mad little ideas! Some of them were crazy but all were useful or believable in some way. You could easily see some of them being made and used. I love the style of his drawing, they are very innocent and simple. He has a very wry sense of humour and wit plays a huge part in his work. Here's a selection of some of my favourite drawings:

The workshop he gave in the afternoon was also really good. His suggestions were so good and so annoyingly obvious! He pointed out things we couldn't seem to see, and helped us to broaden our minds. By identifying little irritations, you can produce a whole host of ideas. He was really easy to talk to and definitely very helpful as far as the new project is concerned.