Wednesday, 3 June 2015
My next stop on my whirlwind tour of the DJCAD degree show was textiles. After seeing some photos on instagram and catching The Daydreamer's blog posts, I was very excited to see the work in real life. I always enjoy the different textile applications but fashion based design is always my favourite. For another year on the trot I was mostly drawn to printed fabrics sewn up into garment shapes and there were plenty of these on display. Here's a little look at my top picks.
Menswear is usually in the minority at these things so a strong mens collection always stands out. Ryan Albert's collection BRIK did just that. By mixing traditional screen printing techniques with modern laser cutting and digital printing methods, Ryan created a collection that seamlessly melds together old and new. The simple shirt shapes work as an excellent canvas for striking patterns and a bold colour combination. The subtle triangle prints worked well but I especially loved the full on graphic print at the front of his fabric samples.
Lewis Scott's art prints and oversized tops caught my attention straight way with their loud colours and busy layouts. The cacophony of lines, shapes and imagery perfectly captured the hustle and bustle of city life. Inspired by the contrast between the city dwellers 9-5 and their after work exploits Lewis created two collections - Crumbled Greyscale Text and Constructed Clashing Living. My favourite piece had to be the mouth printed tshirt, with it's eye-catching design and the unexpected use of neoprine fabric.
A more toned down collection that attracted me was Undiscovered Shetland by Vaila Cameron. More associated with chunky Fair-Isle knits, Valia's collection takes a softer look at Shetland through the medium of textile. She captures the essence of the place through colours and patterns inspired by the landscape. The threaded details added life to the surface of the pieces and made each piece unique. I loved the moody colour palette and delicate fabric choice.
A non fashion approach that appealed to me was that of Emma McCluskey. Her illustrative prints were applied to wall paper and home furnishings to create some seriously beautiful interior touches. Inspired by visits to botanic gardens Emma uses Photoshop to transform her sketches into patterns. I loved the layered prints and colour combinations and would happily have all of this decorating my home. Preferably all in the one room, for a full on floral party.
Shauna McGregor's collection mixed cubist art with streetwear to create a super strong aesthetic. The focus of Shauna's work is on creating a sense of individuality and her prints are inspired by abstract portraits. The quick brush strokes create vibrant patterns that are full of life. The strong colour combinations give a sense of modern street style, crossed with 80's cartoons and a touch of African tribal influences. This all makes for one playful selection of scarves and garments which I loved.
If I had to pick one textile favourite from this year it would have to be Caitlin Miller's printed designs. The final garments are extremely impressive and the prints draw the eye in and continually surprise with their odd and intriguing details. The collage effect features a mix of pattern, drawn elements and photos all inspired by the flora and fauna hidden in Scotland's seas. Caitlin draws on these hidden beauties to highlight the importance of preserving unique marine environments and the effects that humans can have on such places. The result is weird and surreal and I love it! And I really want that kimono!
There was some really strong textile work on display this year and you can check out the full list of Textile Design students here.
Monday, 1 June 2015
It's my favourite time of year again. Yes it's degree show time! I always try and visit as many as I can and am continually impressed and inspired by the talent coming out of Scotland's art and design schools. I kicked off this year with one of my favourites - Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee. Last year I spent two whole days wandering around but this time around consisted of two much shorter visits. I still managed to pack a whole lot in.
As my time was limited I focused on the courses I find the most interesting. Jewellery was pretty much top of my list and I was not disappointed. There was so much to see and a nice variety of work on show. While visiting degree shows year after year does throw up similar themes (nature, architecture and the sea being some of the big ones) it's always interesting to see how each set of students uses their inspirations to come up with their own designs. Here are some of my favourites from the current crop.....
I featured Kaela Hogg as one of my top picks over on Wardrobe Conversations. After following her designs online for a while before the show, I was keen to see her creations in real life. Inspired by Thai architecture and exploring her own heritage Kaela uses a mix of acrylic, silver and aluminium to create layered pieces. Bold shapes were given further depth by the use of etching and printing. Each piece stands alone but when viewed together they make for one stunning collection.
I was drawn to Megan Gray's collection through the colours and textures used. The grey and mustard combination was a particular favourite. Megan's work is inspired by anxiety and the importance of mindfulness and mental well being when tackling such disorders. The wire structures and geometric shapes combined with crystal like structures to represent the unpredictability of life.
The course may be titled Jewellery and Metal Design but it always fascinates me when students create non jewellery work. Gemma Brownlie did just that with her silver vessels. Her work embodies the traditional Danish concept of Hygge. The word doesn't have a simple English translation but is all about tackling cold, dark winters with warmth. Being cosy always at the top of my list of priorities and her pieces certainly instilled in me a sense of comfort. While I wouldn't consider silver to be one of the warmest textures around, when combined with the soft coloured threads and brushed effect they really did give a feeling of snugness.
While not beautiful in a traditional sense, Sarah Marshals work captured my attention in a different way. The textures and colours used gave the impression of burning paper or fabric and made for some incredibly tactile pieces. Sarah used a mix of silver and experimental ceramics to create work with the impression of movement and fragility all inspired by the fleeting sense of time.
Strong geometric shapes always get my vote and Lesley Conlan's collection, Prisma, was jam packed with them. Lesley used modern 3D printing techniques to bring to life old technical manuals passed down from her grandfather. The result is a collection full of statement pieces reminiscent of scaffolding. Her large shoulder piece is a real show stopper but the pieces I loved most were the rings. Still big fashion pieces but with a simplicity of structure that really worked for me.
Dione Bowlt's display melded together illustration, jewellery and porcelain pieces to create a playful and textured collection. Inspired by environmental change and egosystem's her work had a beautifully organic feel, from the delicate illustrations to the surface and colour of the large plates. Each item showed it's own little world, just begging to be explored. I loved the detail in every piece and the mix disciplines worked so well together.
I was drawn to Katie Wightman's work by the pure simplicity of it. The mix of smooth silver shapes and human hair creates unexpected pieces which are both solid and unpredictable. The movement of the hair contrasted beautifully with the solid silver. Katie was inspired by her own personal challenge with illness and this results in a very open and honest collection, highlighting the strength and fragility involved in such an experience.
The degree show may be over but the DJCAD students will be exhibiting at New Designers later this month. Check them out there if you can or have a good old nosey around their websites for some beautiful images. You can also see the full list of this years Jewellery and Metal Design graduates on the DJCAD website.
Sunday, 17 May 2015
I'd heard that a group of Duncan of Jordanstone students were doing a pop up shop but didn't think I'd make it along. Luckily I had some time on Friday and managed to get a quick look around on their last day. They'd set up shop in the Overgate Dundee as POPDUNDEE. The work on display was a mix of illustration and jewellery from third year students. I have to say I was rather impressed by the range of styles and products on offer. From postcards, to badges, zines and brooches there was lots to choose from. I was never that productive during uni!
There were plenty of the artists and designers on hand, all keen to engage with customers and chat about their work. I loved Alice Carnegie's movie and pop culture inspired work and her brightly coloured girl gang badges. I managed to get my hand on the last Bowie postcard and it is now framed and waiting to be hung on my bedroom wall.
Another student's work that caught my eye was Amy Dunne. I loved her dreamy and surreal illustrations, especially the large poster print featuring a red head and a tiger.
And of course I was drawn to Hannah Muir's jewellery. Can't go wrong with some nice silver jewels, especially when there's a touch of enamelling involved.
I hear that this is hopefully the first of many POPDUNDEE events and that POP may even expand to other Scottish cities. I for one would love to see that happen. I really enjoyed this pop up and it has definitely got me even more excited to see the work of the DJCAD graduating students at the degree show next week.
Monday, 20 April 2015
3D printing is magic. I don't care how much science you throw at me, I will still believe 3D printing is magic. I remember being in uni and first hearing about the technique. That was quite a few years ago and the concept still baffles me. So in an attempt to demystify it I went along to the DCA for a drop in session with the ever wonderful Lizzie Armour.
Seeing the printer working away was rather mesmerising. It was fun trying to figure out what the end product was going to be. Relatively small objects can take a while and it wasn't until the last few moments that the wee monkey face was truly revealed. The technique uses plastic filament which is built up layer by layer to create a 3D object. Designs can be created using specialist software or a 3D scanner can be used to capture a real life object. I got to see this piece of kit in action and it was amazing to see the image being captured. The hand held device is focused on an object and then moved around it to capture it from as many angles as possible. It did look a bit tricky but any small bits that were missed can be filled in with a bit of computer jiggery pokery.
Seeing all the kit in action got me thinking of the uses for it all. Of course my mind goes straight to jewellery. There were a couple of examples of this on display, which I enjoyed trying on. I've seen a few folk creating designs using the technique so I thought I'd share some of my favourites....
Tuesday, 7 April 2015
As well as jewellery, I'm also a big fan of scarves. It's an interest that started off small but has grown over time, to the point that even work colleagues are commenting on my scarf fascination. It used to be that I always went straight for the necklaces but now I find myself pulled in two directions when choosing my neck accessory for the day. Quite often I can be seen sporting both, just because the decision has been too much for me.
My obsession covers most types of scarf, from woven to knitted, but the main part of my collection is focused on silky illustrated pieces. Lately there have been a number of events that have helped to feed this addiction. One such occasion was winning this rather special Blackout Scarf on Instagram. The lovely Chloe from The Vintage Notebook had been to the Imperial War Museum to check out their exhibition Fashion on the Ration and was giving away one of these specially designed mementos. It made my day when I found out I'd won and I was even more excited when it arrived in it's little box with a lovely wee card from Chloe.
The other scarf based event was a master class with Karen Mabon. This lady single handedly began my scarf obsession through her quirky and colourful designs, so there was no way I was missing out. During the class Karen talked about her design process and helped us all to create our dream scarves, which are now in the process of being made. Since this was an opportunity to create something really personal I decided to cover mine with things and people that mean a lot to me, including depictions of some of the jewels I've made. Here's my final design in paper.
I'm so excited to get it back as a finished scarf. I also can't wait to style up my Blackout number and have a few ideas of how to I can include it in some Wardrobe Conversations outfit posts. All of this amazing scarf stuff hasn't stopped my eyes from wandering and my brain from popping some new additions to my internal scarf wishlist. Told you I was obsessed.