Monday, 19 March 2012

Proactive Design, Newcastle

So it's been a little while since my last post, so what's been happening since then... Well the main little adventure I've had is heading up to Edinburgh for a long weekend away with my lovely other half... But I will do a separate post about that later on!

So on a more creative front I have been making more small steps in the right direction of getting involved with local design events in Newcastle... So what have you been up to, I hear you cry! :)

Well first off I got myself along to a sewing course, run by Cut & Sew, I have always had a little bit of an interest for sewing, .... As my sister will tell anyone who will listen I could often be heard running up items on my tiny Tomy sewing machine... She always likened it to living next to the knicker factory from Corrie!! And as it turns out the first of the Cut & Sew events I attended, being near Valentines day meant we would be making a lovely pair of knickers!!! Ironic or what?! Needless to say it wasn't so much the knickers that attracted me, as the thought it would be good to pick up some sewing skills as well as meeting some crafty types!!!

The evening was good fun, with my material and lace in hand we got under way with the sewing... At first I attempted to create my knickers by hand but this was very time consuming, luckily for me there was a sewing machine going spare! I made a good start getting the pattern and material cut out and pinned together, the material and lace I'd picked went together very well... a few goes on the sewing machine and my random bits of material were beginning to resemble a pair of knickers!! Unfortunately the class only ran for a couple of hours so I didn't quite get them finished, I'm hoping to get them done sometime this week (although they have been sat in a bag for the past month! Eek!) Once I do I will post some pictures of my finished frilly knickers! Overall the class was good fun, I met some lovely people and being fairly new to sewing its good to have an expert on hand when your unsure or things go wrong! I enjoyed the class but felt I would enjoy and perhaps get more from another class so I have signed up for a full day of dress making April, so I will let you know how that goes!

With a more specific design agenda in mind I have also got myself along to Rise & Design run by Design Network North and Design Interest both local networking events. I have often heard how networking is important not only in the creative field but any business, the thought of attending these kind of events can be fairly intimidating. I mean who would want to go into a room full of people they don't know and start discussing your practice or worse start selling yourself! But as I've learnt from taking small steps into networking they are often not as scary as you think!

So Rise & Design was the first design related event I have attended in the North East, one of the big advantages of this event I would say is its size, from what I could see at the event it attracts a lot of businesses in the creative profession. Also Design Network North is a big organisation that supports designers throughout the region with the support of specific organisations such as RTC North and Gateshead Council. Although I really enjoyed the event, it perhaps wasn't the most suitable for me starting out as a freelancer, as the guest speakers spoke about moves into international markets and I'm definitely at that point! Well not yet anyway!

Design Interest I happened to stumble across on twitter, I had disappointingly just missed the event in February but made sure I got myself signed up straight away for the March event. The one thing that struck me about Design Interest was it's much more informal style, it still followed the template of guest speakers followed by networking but I felt it had a much more relaxed atmosphere. It was also good to get a variety of speakers talking about their own passions and practices rather than a set theme throughout. I also particularly enjoyed the review of design work that people brought in for critic, it was great to see a full room of designers bouncing ideas and thoughts around! Overall I will definitely be signing up for more Design Interest events, its a good relaxed starting point for little old me I think!

Monday, 27 February 2012

A Visit to Laing Art Gallery

So after the fun of visiting the Designers Bookbinders Exhibition the other week my day led onto a number of other craft and art related things... While in Newcastle library I wandered around and stumbled across a number of art & design books. A couple that particularly caught my eye were the books on calligraphy, when I was little I remember having book and practising my hand at all the fancy and decorative style of this beautiful lettering forms. I have borrowed a couple of the books and hopefully will trying my hand at some and posting my handy work up here soon.

Newcastle library is sat right next to Laing Art Gallery, whilst being so close I thought it would be enjoyable to spend a few hours looking at some beautiful art. The gallery hosts a range of different art work including historic, modern and contemporary pieces... There were a couple of pieces that really stood out to me were Stephen Hannock's 'Northern City Renaissance' and John Martin's 'Belshazzar's Feast'.

Northern City Renaissance is a beautiful piece, it's striking not only in terms of its large size but also in its intricate detail of the city of Newcastle. Commissioned by musician Sting, he had wanted a piece to capture and reflect his home city and the birds eye view painting certainly does that. The painting details all the iconic structures associated with the city, such as the Sage and the Tyne Bridge... the colour scheme is fairly dark with a sense of bleakness around, shining lights dotted around the painting and through the landscape lead your eye through the piece. At first the painting appears to be a simple representation of the city, it is only when you get closer to the painting that it reveals historical details scratched into the paint in tiny lettering about these iconic and historical parts of the city. Overall a truly beautiful piece that I felt reflects the city and somewhere that now links closely to my new home in the north east.

Belshazzar's Feast is a historic piece of art that first made him famous when it was shown in 1821. The painting depicts as biblical scene with such detail, the oil painting depicts King Belshazzar and his servant Daniel, he explains the supernatural writings to the king who has committed crimes by defiled silver objects stolen from a Jewish temple. This piece really stood out in terms of the way it was displayed... Tucked in it's own booth, the viewer is able to sit opposite the painting whilst sounds of thunder and and red and orange lights flash in conjunction with the sounds. This dramatically alters the viewers perception, the different flashes reveal differing aspects of the painting such as the main figures in front and also the dramatic architecture at the front.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Designer Bookbinders Exhibition, Newcastle

So as part as my fresh creative start for 2012 I made some creative 'resolutions' if you will... my main aim is to keep fuelling my creativity, inspire my design work and get involved in what is happening locally in the north east region.

So last Friday I took myself through to Newcastle to visit the Designer Bookbinders exhibition currently being hosted as Newcastle Library... (I had noticed a feature on the exhibition in the Metro a few weeks ago, worth a read on the way to work to find a hidden gem like this!) Anyway this sparked my interest as I did several workshops and projects on artists' books at University so I was very interested to see what book binding would be featured in the exhibition.

So six floors up and tucked away in a dark little corner of the library I found the exhibition... on first sight it was a little smaller than I expected but then I suppose that is the nature of books and this type of traditional craft being in decline.

I have to say all the work was beautifully crafted, detailed stitching, fine papers & leathers and traditional binding methods applied with modern innovative twists... on the whole all the books were a delight to see... With the exhibition being so small I honestly thought I would fly around it but found sitting on the chairs reading through the catalogue and scribbing down my favourite pieces.

I had 6 pieces I thought really stood out to me;

  • Mayflies of the Driftless Region, by Hannah Brown (page 11)
  • Butterflies, by Hannah Brown (page 12)
  • Taliesin and the Mockers, by Jeff Clements (page 14)
  • London 20 Poems, by Stephen Conway (page 16)
  • Finger Prints, by Eri Funazaki (page 18)
  • The Garden & Other Poems, by Angela James (page 23)
  • The Dead, by Christopher Shaw (page 33)

For full details of the books featured in the exhibition you can view the catalogue online here.
I could probably go on all day about the various inspiring pieces I saw in the exhibition, but I don't want to bore you! So I am just going to take a minute to talk about the work of Hannah Brown, her pieces feature in the exhibition are Mayflies of the Driftless Region and Butterflies. These pieces are the first ones that initially stood out to me, the detail within the books are amazing... Firstly Mayflies of the Driftless Region... fine goatskin leather is hand stitched with golden thread, the cover and the casing beautifully depict the delicate nature of the Mayflies wings through the fine stitching. Again the beautiful delicate nature of butterflies is captured through Hannah Browns work... the outer casing presents a traditional method of displaying/cataloguing insects although these are in-fact origami paper butterflies, crafted from various pattern papers. The book contains a 'how to' guide on how to create your own origami butterflies the book crafted in a concertina binding with hand illustrated pages that truly reflect the delicate nature of both butterflies but also origami. 

So there was my glimpse into the Designer Bookbinder Exhibition, its currently on at Newcastle Library until March 23rd but is currently touring around the UK... It is definitely worth a visit! I am very pleased with my visit as it led on to so many other creative things that day... Things I will be blogging about soon no doubt!!

Monday, 6 February 2012

A Creative 2012?

Well its has been a while since my last post and as I mentioned last time, unfortunately the madness that engulfed me then continued... I was still juggling my new lecturing job, as well as finishing up old bits from my old marketing job... then just when I thought I was unpacked and settled in my new home, it was turned upside down with the electrics being rewired, taking down walls and redecorating... living in a house with all these things going on was a little a little stressful to say the least and took up a lot of my spare time!

Anyway I didn't really want this post to be about the things I didn't manage to achieve last year but to look towards this new year and my creative goals...

So its a new year and a fresh start on the creative front... I am a lover of lists... lists for day to day... shopping lists, any kind of lists really so here is the list of my goals for the year ahead.

  1. Exercise – Get fit & healthy.
  2. tenpens creative – Set up my freelance alter ego up and get it running.
  3. EightFour.EightFive – Get moving with a collaborative design project with my talented friends.
  4. More sketching and drawing.
  5. Photography.
  6. Screen Printing.
  7. Learn new software packages & further improve my computer skills.
  8. Read more.
  9. Visit new places.
  10. Learn to DJ.
  11. Blog weekly.

So in the effort of making a positive start this was my first blog (the first of many!) and here are some snaps I took over the weekend whilst on a lovely trip to London, which ticks the box on the photography front too. TTFN!! :) 

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Work Work Work & More Work...

These past few months has been manic, I really don't know where the time has gone!! Well that's kind of a fib, I know exactly where my time has gone... the dreaded four letter word... WORK! Well that moving and the rest of life's curves balls it like to through at you! Anyway I am finally all moved and unpacked in lovely Sunderland... I guess that makes me a Mackem now! The past two months I have been juggling moving, unpacking, starting my new lecturing job as well as finishing off some work for my old company so things have been pretty busy!

Sadly this madness has meant that my design side has been suffering, but now things are starting to even out a bit I am hoping I can give things a bit of a kick start in this area plus the fact I am settled in the North East hopefully I can focus my attention into what's going on locally... The first stop this week will be The Baltic art gallery in Gateshead, which is hosting the finalists for this year's Turner Prize. It's the first year the show has been presented outside of the Tate venue, so I shall be getting myself along to see what's at the cutting edge of British art scene...

So there we are, thing's have been slow on the design and blog front of late, but now I'm all settled you shall be hearing a lot more from me... Oh and here's a few snaps I have taken since moving, they're not fantastic as they were only shot on my phone but I like them many because this is where I live now! :)

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Hevnly Creations

Now see I told you it wouldn’t be such a long time until my next blog post… 

But I realised there was another exciting project going on that I had completely forgot to mention in my last post… Then I realised it probably deserves a bit of a mention on its own!  As you can see from my Pantone Cookies post below, I am a bit of a fan of baking! I’ve been baking since I was tiny and often bake cakes or cupcakes for birthdays… Now people always tell me my cakes are fab, but seen as I’m giving them to friends and family I tend to think they are slightly biased!!

My BF has also been making invitations for family and friends events for a while too so we decided to combine our skills and he has created a little website to show some of our designs and baking… Now I know there’s a massive boom in this kind of stuff at the moment, so perhaps I won’t end up making my millions this way but as a little side line it great… plus if my baking is as fab as everyone says it is then its only right to share it with the world right?!

Please check us out on…

@HevnlyCreations on Twitter or Like our facebook page 
Right is that enough plugging for now… yep probably!! 

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Best of Intentions… Such is Life…

Right as you can see it’s been a while since my last blog post!

So not the best of starts as was intended, but as the title says such is life! So I started this blog to track my creative journey back to my passions of design, print and typography… with a little baking thrown in for good measure. And I have been good in some aspects, that being keeping up with following my passions, being creative and making steps in positive directions to helping me achieve my goals, the blip on the spectrum would be the lack of blog posts documenting this! Oops! But something I hope to rectify over the upcoming weeks/months!

So there are lots exciting things happening for me at the moment, firstly I finally finished at my 9-5 marketing job, swapped it for another one but I am about to swap this for a position in teaching game design. Although I’m no gamer (well not yet anyway!) I’m hoping it will be a fantastic experience and it is definitely a step in the right direction of what I want from my career. Also with my new teaching job also comes a permanent move to the North East which is where I’ve wanted to move for a while, I’m hoping this will free up a bit more time as I won’t be splitting my time between here and Yorkshire and I can get involved with some local design and craft stuff! So it’s all big changes at the moment but also very exciting!

Right enough of me babbling on… I guess the thing I most wanted to talk about in this blog was finding inspiration and sticking to your plans! The first I have managed to do relatively well and the latter I’ve been doing ok on, but not great as you can see from the lack of blog posts!

I think one thing I’ve learnt over this year is that if you are creative, its something that’s in you and you don’t lose it. If you’re like me and feel you’ve lost the confidence, you have to realise that you can get it back… Now I am not going to say that this is easy because it isn’t, every person is different! For me after, University I barely picked up a pen to draw with in 3 years, the only way I manage to gather up that confidence again was to actually start doing, start creating again!

I did this in a number of ways; firstly I got myself on a course run by The Graphic Design School, … I’m not saying this is for everyone but I wanted some kind of educational reinforcement that I was going in the right direction. There are lots of courses out there whether they are at College, University, workshops, tutorials or online courses like this one.

Another aspect I tackled was involving myself with online design websites and blogs… now there loads of websites and blogs on anything and everything you can imagine but I’ll share a couple of my favourite ones with you! Firstly Creative Boom this is a fantastic website with loads of useful tips, news and events going on throughout the country. Initially it was set up due to lack of online networking for us creative types and it definitely helps fill the void, I can’t recommend it enough!!

Now onto The Clear Minded Creative this blog when I discovered it back in January, it really spoke to me and was the original source of inspiration for my own blog. It discusses how a creative journey can sometime be a struggle in terms of sticking with deadlines and finding creative inspiration, whether you are a writer, artist, musician or designer I would highly recommend this blog… It makes you realise you are not alone in getting those creative blocks and offers practical advice, links and book reviews that can aid you in getting through the block and feeling more inspired!

So I’m making a new creative pledge and that is to stick to a regular blog posts, I’m hoping I can stick to one a week or every other week… But one thing is for sure there definitely won’t be another big gap like last time! Promise!