Friday, 1 August 2014

We have moved!

Hello lovely readers! Just a note to say that after looking into altering the appearance of my blog I have decided to move over to It just gives me better control over my site and allows me to have everything in one place rather than having websites all over the place. You can now find me over at my new site! 

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Reflection on studenthood

have been thinking lately about the restrictions that get imposed on you as a student during college & university. I started thinking about it because I signed up for the
 Make it in Design summer school and when the first brief hit my inbox I was thrilled and excited to start drawing. Now let me tell you I have had that feeling before many times when receiving a new brief throughout my foundation degree but it soon disappears as my ideas are pulled down to earth with a thud by the tutors. I am not saying that I disliked my tutors at all, far from it, I am getting them for my third year too and I sincerely look forward to it but it always felt like too much control was in their hands. 

I would step into the office to pitch my ideas and come out deflated because I had been told I was giving myself too much to do or I should alter my ideas to fit with this or that. For someone who has always been her own biggest critic this wasn't a enjoyable experience. I needed the support of a tutor who told me never to limit myself and to shoot for the stars! (mega cheesy I know) but I was very delicate about my artwork, always doubting myself and my abilities and I just didn't need someone reinforcing those critical voices in my head.

On the other hand I do completely understand the pressure that tutors are under dealing with delicate, unconfident creatures like me and at the end of the day my tutors only wanted me to pass my course, which I did with a merit grade. I can't help but feel like that distinction would have been possible had I just gone for it and tried to accomplish my own ideas. 

In contrast I have started work for this summer school and already feel like what I am producing is more me than anything I produced in college. It feels amazing to have complete control & make my own decisions. It also grows your confidence as a designer and from now on I will take the negative opinions of others with a huge pinch of salt because I want to design stuff I like and that I am proud of. 

This got me to wondering about other peoples experience at university or college and shortly after a friend posted something relevant on her facebook, she had taken a quiz in which career she should be in and it came out fashion designer... she said maybe she would have been if university hadn't killed her love for it. Now my experience was quite the opposite even with the problems mentioned above. I took this course knowing I loved crafts but I had no artistic ability (according to me) I never expected my course to be so heavily arts based but when I started experimenting, I absolutely loved it. And now I couldn't see my life without drawing, painting and illustrating. 

The pressure was hard & sometimes drawing wasn't what I wanted to do or knitting wasn't, generally whatever I HAD to do I would want to do the opposite. The pressure also made me thrive. I became aware that this wasn't half of it, that out in the world of REAL design it would be a much higher pressured and competitive environment. So then why do some people hate their experience so much that it completely turns them on their chosen career? Or was my experience just lighter because it was college vs university? 

I would be really interested to hear of anybody else's experiences with this stuff & it doesn't have to be from a creative background either. Tell us what you did and how you felt by the end of it. 

And I look forward to sharing my creations with you from summer school! 

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Sunny skies & judging a book by its cover

I don't know about all of you but us lot in the North East of England have been having some seriously sunny weather this month! I have been taking the opportunity to take as many photographs as possible. 

For anyone who doesn't know me, bookshops are my happy place. If I have time to kill or if its raining outside, you will most likely find me wandering in my local Waterstones. 
Newcastle sadly has a ever shrinking population of good bookshops and Waterstones is just always where I head if I want a good quiet browse. On a recent visit I started to notice a lot of book covers that I really liked the design of so I thought I'd share them for a bit of design inspiration. 

I just loved this bag and wanted to include it!

Its so annoying that this one is blurry it was really beautifully illustrated.

There's something in the simplicity of the UK Murakami covers that catches my eye every time.

I like this take on a classic spy novel. Anything with a vintage twist and I am there.

Forever drawn to illustrated keys.

And who doesn't love a cover featuring knitting!

I love everything about this cover! the fonts, the subtle background pattern and the colours. 

And this one simply because it features a huge tooth! I love teeth illustrations & design work. The fonts are dreamy too... 

Bye for now!

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Blogcademy inspiration

I wish with my whole heart that I had made it to blogcademy this month in London. 
Unfortunately I couldn't make it but I just wanted to talk a little about how inspirational all those amazing ladies who are multi talented entrepreneurs & business women. 

I just finished watching the video of Joy Cho from oh joy!  giving a talk at blogtacular which you can check out here - Joy Cho at blogtacular and what is really interesting to me is the fact that she has ventured from one career to another with such bravery. 

As a kid I had my heart set on becoming a chef. I don't know where this dream came from but I just wanted it so bad. I didn't even really have too much interest or ability in cooking when I remember first deciding that THAT would be my career. I remember being asked to invent a meal to be delivered to elderly people on a meals on wheels type service. I got so excited at this prospect of invention, inventing an entire meal where every ingredient was up to me...
 I got a bit too excited and made a complete mess of food which would never be remotely successful in a professional environment but it was that initial freedom of expression that really got my juices flowing. After working in two kitchens however my dream was obliterated and my bubble well and truly burst! The shifts were horrendous, there was no creativity involved, and I found myself lost in the sea of possible future jobs. 

At this point I started selling hand painted shoes on Ebay and it really took off for a while but I lost interest when everyone started to do it. I wanted to do something that stood out. I tried to set up a dress making business which I quickly discovered was not my thing at all! I love sewing but I like embroidery rather than dress making. 

So I started looking for jobs in retail knowing that I just needed a job and feeling like I had wasted a lot of time just discovering what I didn't want to do. I worked in a large fashion and accessories store that I really loved. I started seeing all these creations and prints and thinking about how I wanted to be the one designing not selling. So I made the plunge to go back into education at the age of 27, still feeling unsure of my purpose and just knowing that creativity had to be involved somewhere. 

Going back to study textiles was the best decision I have ever made. I had never thought about all of the places where print & pattern is featured. All of a sudden I had creative control and I was experimenting with knit, crochet, weave, embroidery & print. 
I have never ever had much confidence. People will meet me and probably assume that I have but they would be very wrong. I especially didn't believe in my artistic ability. 
I never dreamed that I had the skills to illustrate & design things I would be proud of. And I am still far from confident but I am getting closer every day. I was incredibly proud of myself after graduating from the foundation degree and attending my final show.
The final show was one of the parts I was dreading. I hate being centre of attention and having to focus on my work. But I did it! and I felt all the better knowing that I had a full support system around me. 

Sometimes the internet can be a place to hide even though we share so much and realizing how important real friendships & relationships are has been really important to me as I can have a tendency to cut myself off and immerse myself in my work. 

But my main point of this post was realizing that other people have gone through that awful time where you don't know where you are headed, where you look around and feel like everyone has it so much more together than you. Hearing Joy talk so openly about how she got bored of this job and moved onto the next was so refreshing and reassuring to me because I have always felt a kind of shame surrounding my lack of direction. And now that I have found a subject with enough layers to keep me forever interested I feel so much more like a grown up. 
This sounds silly but I always envied those people who leave school and have a plan for uni & career. Now I feel like my misdirection was all about gaining life experience & discovering who I am. And this can never be a negative thing. 

So for those of you with a plan... Great! go for it! but for those who feel lost, please don't, you will find something you love, you might have to travel through a few places you don't love first but you will arrive in a place where you know you belong at some point! Just keep on going.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Creativity boost day out number 2

In my previous post I showed you all the wonderful stock in the Baltic shop
Today I want to show you some images from both the Sage shop & Next newcastle. 
As mentioned previously I probably go on inspiration trips less than I should and I find when I do I feel so much more inspired to create than when I just collect imagery on pinterest... even though I LOVE pinterest. So I just wanted to share a few images of stuff I was visually attracted to during these two trips. 

Firstly I visited the Next childrens wear department. Now my covert camera skills leave a lot to be desired and I must admit I felt like a creepy weirdo trying to take these minus a child for backup! But there are some seriously beautiful prints and detailing on their current ranges. 

Next I visited the Sage shop. This shop is on par with the baltic for its beautiful products but unfortunately I was in a bit of a hurry so only snapped a few quick pics! Here they are...

As you can see I am largely attracted to prints featuring birds & ceramic designs! I love having these inspirational places right on my doorstep. I can always just pop down and get my creative juices flowing whenever I am in a slump. 

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Creativity Boost Day out number 1

I don't know about everyone else but I really get into a slump when I have no creative direction. 
I love to plan things and make lists often but sometimes I get distracted & procrastinate too much. When I attended the Newcastle summer school at the beginning of July I discussed my plans for the year with the tutors and they told me to visit some local creative places to gain inspiration & direction. As someone who collects A LOT of research via online places like Pinterest It sometimes genuinely slips my mind to get out there and visit galleries, exhibitions & museums as well as stores for inspiration. So last week I decided to go visit some lovely places filled with inspiration! 

The Baltic shop has to be one of my favourite places in Gateshead/Newcastle to visit because everything is modern, vibrant & fresh. I would love to design some products worthy of their store. And might I add that my birthday is coming up and I would literally kill to own that Rob Ryan glass jug! simply beautiful. 

As you can see I found it hard to stop taking photo's once I started. I just love the range of artwork & products presented in this one place. It has a completely different feel to the art that is displayed inside the gallery. I am particularly fond of the ceramics line by Jon Burgerman & all of the fun, colourful lunch boxes. 

Join Me tomorrow for more wonderful inspirational design at the Sage gift shop & in Next Newcastle!