I was totally delighted and grateful to hear last week that Creative Scotland have chosen to fund this exciting new project I have proposed in their latest round of Open Project Funding. This will involve me travelling back to Finland very soon to research, develop and produce a series of rugs, prints and wall hangings inspired by the Finnish form of weaving called Täkänä.
I first discovered Täkänä whilst on residency at Arteles Creative Centre in Finland during the summer of 2015 (you can read my blog posts from this residency starting here). I found a couple of old catalogues in a charity shop (see image above) and was instantly drawn to the graphics of some of the weavings and use of only two colours - something that I use a lot in my own design work.
So, I'll be undertaking a self-initiated residency in multiple locations to explore the history of Täkänä, through its archives and to learn from experts and creative practitioners in this field. The subsequent work will be launched in September 2017 as part of an interiors collection, at design junction at the London Design Festival and closely followed by subsequent events in Scotland.
I'm excited to share that this project will see me teaming up with the brilliant Floor_Story once more to create the new rugs (you can see or buy our existing rug collaboration with Floor_Story here picture below).
Please stay tuned to this blog where I'll be sharing some of my journey, experiences and findings very soon...
It was a incredibly flattering to be selected as one of '2017's biggest new design talents' by The Guardian a couple of weeks ago. Our shared love of colour has drawn the four of us together for this piece and it is an honour to be selected next to Yinka Ilori, Bethan Laura Wood and Raw Edges. Thanks also to Murdo Macleod for popping along to our studio to capture this photo:
To read the full article on The Guardian's website, please click here.
We are pleased to support the wonderful 'Just a Card' campaign!
The Just a Card campaign aims to encourage people to buy from Designer/Makers and Independent Galleries and Shops by reinforcing the message that all purchases, however small, even 'just a card' are so vital to the prosperity and survival of small businesses.
Read more about Just a Card and find out plenty more reasons it's good to shop local and support small businesses!
Our Friendly prints project was born out of an invitation from artists Laura Aldridge and Anna Mayer to create an offering for their Openaries project during Glasgow International 2014. Together they built a portable ceramics kiln and invited local artists and practitioners to make ceramic offerings for one of their three firings. We 'offered' to create a protective apron for them to wear (more can be read about this on our blog) which led to our first print design in the series called 'Laura A' which can be seen in the image below (and yes it got picked out by Vogue as a top product at designjunction in 2015 - thank you Vogue!):
We decided to make tea towels and kitchenware products out of this idea of 'Friendly' prints as the kitchen always feels like the hub of a home. It's the place where conversations, meals, laughter and sometimes tears happen - of both joy and despair! These moments shared with our friends so often seem to happen in each others kitchens, that it seemed right that we created the designs into kitchen products. Plus who doesn't love a splash of colour and pattern in their kitchen?
We started out with Laura A, ventured on next to a Dave then Von design and for 2016 introduced Ida and Naomi. Each of these designs is inspired in some way by the person it is named after, people who've made us smile, we've shared unforgettable times with or are maybe just an inspiration to us. Their personality has stayed with us, maybe this all sounds a bit much, but people, the communities we create and surround ourselves in are maybe the most important thing. So this is a small celebration of some of the great people we get to share things with...
IDA - has a smile that warms any heart and means it when she says 'it's all good'. Ida works as an assistant at Arteles Creative Centre in Finland and I met her whilst on a residency there last summer. Never annoyed by residents continual questions, she really does bring a smile to everyone's face with her generous nature.
This design is based on an abstracted smile....pushed into our graphic sensibility with colours that remind me of Ida and Finland. The blue skies, green grass...often we were outside - picking berries, eating or making bonfires.
Next is Naomi...
NAOMI - has a magical love of rocks, nature, colour and the universe. Naomi is a painter who lives and works in Australia and is an inspiration. I also met Naomi at Arteles (and many other lovely people I should say!). This is an example of some of her work which inspired our tea towel design...
(Image courtesy of Naomi Bishop)
(Image courtesy of Naomi Bishop)
Naomi's bold use of colour and love of mystical things inspired the rhythm and palette for our design.
We hate to bring it up.... but Christmas is fast approaching! So, to make things a little easier for you, here's our last order dates to guarantee delivery in time for Christmas.
We're delighted to be back at the annual Scotland Re:Designed Showcase. This year, interiors and fashion are celebrating together in a joint showcase at Glasgow's St.Enoch Centre in the city centre. For five days, there will be a host of talks and events with the opportunity for you to shop from all the designers taking part on Saturday and Sunday in the pop-up shop!
We'll be showing our exciting new interiors collection during the showcase, plus our special rug collaboration called 'Lehariya' with the fabulous Floor_Story! 'Lehariya' was a design we developed as part of the India Street project, inspired by this traditional tie-dye technique of India.
Opening times during the five days are as follows:
Showroom & Exhibition:
Wednesday 9th: 9am – 7pm
Thursday 10th: 9am – 3pm (Closed for Private View from 6.30pm-11pm)
Friday 11th November: 9am – 6pm
Saturday 12th November: 9 – 6pm
Sunday 13th November: 10 – 6pm
Mölkky is a Finnish skittle game that I discovered during my residency at Arteles last summer when another artist on the residency returned from a shopping trip with a set of wooden skittles in their basket. It became a kind of after dinner ritual – where we would all put our work to one side and spend an hour or so just playing.
At the time I didn’t realise that this would lead to a new print design or be part of a new collection, nor did I realise the importance of this time to play that was a huge part of this residency for me. It took me out of my usual comfort zone (with a sheet of newsprint, scalpel, screen and a squeegee) to experiment, explore and try new things with a complete sense of ‘play’
Like Cove Park (my first residency experience back at the start of Laura Spring in 2011 and coincidentally is where I am writing this post delivering a series of play inspired print workshops for children), I arrived at Arteles without a pre-determined idea of what I wanted to create. I knew that Finland had always inspired me with their love of design and of course, it is home to Marimkekko and the Arabia factory who I love dearly, but I had no idea what would happen whilst I was there or where my work would go.
The time to ‘play’ with coloured crayons, pencils, lino, photography, chalk, blackboards and skittle games was exactly what was needed in order to loosen up my hands again and begin new developments for my work.
This print needed to have sense of this playfulness I experienced, whilst retaining a graphic sensibility, but I wanted there to be a fluidity to it, a sense of movement that I hope I’ve created with the structure and colour. Despite creating more complex pattern designs, I returned to a simple aesthetic that seemed to deliver those ideals for me.
However, this print is just the start of a new body of work and perhaps attitude adapted by my residency in Finland. Even though it is now over a year ago, ideas are just starting to take shape and plans for exciting future projects forming…non of which I could have dreamed of without that month in the rural Finnish countryside learning from a group of people I’d never met before and the freedom to ‘play’.
One of my favourite Ted talks is by Stefan Sagmeister called 'The Power of Time Off' who explains that he shuts his design studio every seventh year to allow for exactly that. It’s a really interesting idea and although it may sound like a luxury, I think if it’s a possibility, even in a smaller capacity of a month of even a week, it’s something that can enrich and enhance every practice.
It was great to be back at designjunction during the London Design Festival for our third year - this time in it's new home at the recently revamped King's Cross.
Despite being busy on our stand, this year I had some help so managed to find time to see a few other things during the festival - here's what caught my eye:
Exhibiting as part of the 'This is India' stand at The London Design Fair (whose exhibition design was created by the lovely and talented Kangan Arora), this fabric really caught my eye! Being a huge lover of India and all the incredible textiles it offers, I was immediately drawn to this print and exciting project whereby designers have created patterns inspired by the 'stories ranging from our Indian Freedom-Fighters to Bollywood’s Heroes, from our dabbawallas in the day to the creatures of the night'. You can read more about it all here.
Craft Scotland's stand at The London Design Fair by Gras
Also at The London Design Fair were many of my talented and inspiring peers from Scotland on Craft Scotland's amazing stand that was designed by Gras. Made out of polystyrene, it was so simple, yet so stunning and the whole show was beautifully executed and curated. Highlights for me were from these two brilliant designer/makers - Jode Pankhurst and Hilary Grant...
Jode Pankhurst Ceramics
Hilary Grant's new Elska Shawl
I was lucky enough to have my stand opposite a company that design and make the most beautifully simple yet stunning watches and treated myself to this:
The PKG01 by Void Watches
Finally, one of the other stands that always catches my eye at designjunction is by Kyla McCallum otherwise known as Foldability. Her paper folding is amazing...
Foldability's recent Ted Baker commission
We're excited to be exhibiting at designjunction for the third time this september. This year designjunction has moved to a permanent new home at Kings Cross and we'll be there for the duration of the show at Stand 53 launching our brand new collection to the trade and public! There's new prints, new products (including fabrics by the metre!) and a few special limited edition pieces that will be on sale...here's a sneak peek for now...
The show opens to the public on the 22nd September, with press and VIP private views on the 21st September:
Thursday 22 Sept 11.00 – 20.00 (late night opening)
Friday 23 Sept 11.00 – 19.00
Saturday 24 Sept 11.00 – 18.00
Sunday 25 Sept 11.00 – 17.00
For further information see www.designjunction.co.uk
We're also delighted to be taking part in the Etsy Award Winners Showcase at Tent London during the Design Festival as we were very kindly awarded the title of 'Scottish Make of the Year' back in June.
A selection of our products will be on view during the exhibition. Opening times are as follows:
Thursday 22nd September 10am-7pm (private view 8pm-11pm)
Friday 23rd September 10am-8pm
Saturday 24th September 10am-8pm
Sunday 25th September 11am-6pm
We hope to see some of you there!