Sunday, 27 November 2011


The Power of Making is a V&A and Crafts Council exhibition 6th September - 12th January 2012. Both organizations have worked together to increase the awareness by challenging preconceived ideas around craft. Craft is an on-going multi-cultural pursuit. Hand made objects are special because they are unique. They have been manipulated by the human hand and connect us to our cultural past. Recently craft has gained popularity and people find ways to congregate socially and make together. We have a knitter natter group at university where we meet up each week to knit and have a chat.

Knitted 'Aran Rug' by Christien Meindertsma, 2011. A giant knit piece.

Wooden Textile by Elisa Strozyk, 2011; laser cut pieces.  

Veneered Objects by Gareth Neal, 2010

 The range of objects in The Power of Making define genuine skill and inspire our everyday lives. The knowledge of material and the skills the maker acquires have an impact across many creative industries. The exhibition celebrates the nature of making and the human instinct to create. To make is one of the strongest human impulses and a way of expressing ourselves and defining personal taste. For some people making is critical for survival and for others it is a way of learning and developing a hobby. The experience of being engrossed in a creative activity is unique for everyone.

Haitian Vodou flag, Mirlande Constant

'Little Eagle Dancing' cast paper sculpture by Allen and Patty Eckman, 2011

Armadillo Shoes by Alexander Mcqueen, 2009

'Heart' Shirt, pattern cutting technique by Bronwen Marshall, 2011

'Godogan' table designed by Niels Van Eyk and Mirian Van der Lubbe for Droog, 2006. Made in Indonesia , the story of a frog that turned into a prince.

'Fabrican' spray on dress by Dr Manel Torres, 2010.

'QRU?' beaded dress and necklace inspired by African masks using beads and Swarovski crystals by Thorunn Arnadottir, 2011
 The Industrial Revolution shaped the world we live in today but since this, fewer people know how to make the objects they use. Making should be a part of our future. Arts are just as important as Maths, Science and English. Fortunately we are now at a time where people are beginning to care about where their cultural products such as food, furniture and clothing are coming from and who they are being made buy. The Power of Making encourages this and highlights the development of extraordinary methods of making, remarkable personal skills and devising inventive experiments. I found this exhibition exciting and impressive and it is admission free!

'Alphabet' by Dalton Ghetti.

'Sanomagic Mahogany bicycle' by Sueshiro Sano, 2010.

'Woolfiller' by Heleen Klopper, 2009-2011

Monday, 21 November 2011

"It's darling!"

This weekend I went to a Vintage and Designer-Makers Christmas Fair at the Guildhall, Bath. As a textiles student, the stools were really inspiring and there were many pretty things for sale. This was a brilliant way to begin my christmas shopping. I found these lovely shooting glasses for my dad that I'm sure he will be pleased with. The rest of the market included Vintage homeware, clothes, cushions, gifts, jewellery and there were beautiful wooden lazar cut Christmas decorations by Maggie, our Digital Print technician at Bath School of Art and Design. There will be another evening of vintage and handmade gifts for christmas at Bradford on Avon on Tuesday 29th November from 12-9 pm and I look forward to being inspired again!      

STUFF - Reinventing the Wheel 8-11th November


Reinventing the Wheel: What goes around comes around is an exhibition that highlighted the significance of traditional craft in a contemporary world. By using craft skills, creative objects were made by the Textiles students from Bath School of Art and Design. In my opinion craft is usually miss understood as old fashioned and perhaps out of touch. We currently live in a fast paced world where the turn around of consumer goods is around every six weeks. We chase fashionable items so fast is there time to use such intricate and time consuming processes? 

This time issue is perhaps the reason why craft is mistaken to originate from the longing for simpler times. The Textiles students were asked to learn and develop old techniques for the 21st century consumer. I believe craft is making a comeback since making do in the recession, a simple way to overcome our problems is to look back through time and see how we managed to before. With a growing public interest in environmentalism and sustainability we ask how environmentally friendly are certain making processes and how much waste is produced? Are there things we can do to improve this?

This map was created by my friend Polly Rowan, she made the felt herself and then used different tickets from around the world to create this map that she sewed onto the felt by hand. She also used plastic to create this cross stitch to fill in the spaces. My favorite part of the map is Australia because she went there over the summer and she used her flight ticket to fill the country in and it says miss Polly on it which I think is adorable. 

This lace making was created by my friend Hannah Ellicott. I know this process was very timely. Hannah died the yarns with tea and coffee to create these beautiful shades of brown. Hannah had to almost weave the yarn through and around different pins to form the pattern she designed and then she had to attach the yarn together before removing the pins which was a very long process but the end result was well worth it! 

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Colour Project

Below are some examples of my final wallpaper collection I developed from a colour project at university. I was inspired by traditional Indian textiles to create these designs with a modern twist. I mostly looked through books and magazines but I was also inspired by the Asia section in the V&A. I formed these doodles that I scanned into Photoshop and worked from, introducing my colour palette and transforming the patterns. I am pleased with the final outcome and enjoyed working digitally.  

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

STUFF - The Mantlepiece 7-12 November

STUFF BATH is a series of events exploring the design of stuff and the stuff of design. Everything we see and touch has to have been designed by someone and influences another to design something else. Understandings of good designs relate to fitness for purpose that aid activities where as bad design has the opposite effect. Good design is practical and aesthetically pleasing. STUFF BATH questions the understanding of good design. We currently live at a time where the consumer demand for cheaper goods has increased. Elements from the culmination of an extravagant concept will always end up filtering down through to the high-street and as a result there are concerns regarding waste, depleting natural resources and the exploitation of cheap labour in third world countries. Regardless of these underlying issues; stuff will always remain desirable. Stuff allows us to express ourselves as individuals and we are never complete without filling our gaps with a variety of different things. The feeling of always lacking something makes us need to purchase something else. The Design of Stuff and the Stuff of Design celebrates stuff: the good, the bad and the ugly. 

The Mantlepiece is usually the primary focus from within domestic interior; the altar where permanent, sentimental objects are displayed and set apart from everything else. Many designers collect from car-boot sales and charity shops. The Mantlepiece looks at these inspirational prized collections of objects that inspire designing and making. From beautiful and well crafted to ugly and pointless objects that when put together create a story and inspire new stuff. Contributing designers include Michael Marriott, Donna Wilson, Karen Nicol, Peter Clark, Flora Roberts, Custhom Marcus Oakley, James Jarvis, John Miles, Amanda Goode, Nigel Robinson, John Taylor, Fabien Cappello, Jenny King, Blue Farrier and Tracy Kendall.    

Amanda Goode gets inspired by thinking "what if? I collect and hoard anything with potential for inter-action. If I can unravel it, unscrew it, take the base off, cut it up, work into it and then reassemble, with extra parts, I'm happy" Amanda Goode is influenced mostly by her iPhone.  

Karen Nicol is inspired by "everything and anything, museums, galleries, shops, flea markets etc a continuous feasting. Continuous notebooks of scribbles and drawings and photos just of arbitrary things that arrest me visually. I collect like a magpie in a free wheeling sort of way anything that catches my eye, all to inspire my work but chosen subconsciously just on the premise of liking the look or feel" 


Degas and the Ballet Picturing Movement is an exhibition currently focused on Degas as the painter of Dancers. Showing at the Royal Academy of Arts until 11th December. Impressionism was born in the 1870s. It was apparent there were three underlying themes in the artist’s work that include the female figure, silhouette and movement. Degas was interested in light and part of his practise involved twirling toy ballerinas by candlelight in order to study the flickering shadows. Degas studied the ballet because he was interested in movement and the way in which movement could be represented. Movement was a subject that wasn’t possible to capture through photography at the time. Whilst dancers held static positions for the camera for long periods of time, Degas’ paintings held a vivid realism. Degas tended to work from observation, memory and modern life.

Close up of Before the Ballet, Edgar Degas, 1890-92, Oil on Canvas, 40x89 cm

Close up of The Dance Lesson, Edgar Degas, 1879, Oil on Canvas, 38x88 cm

Ballet scenes included a blur of dancing figures and dramatic lighting. Degas’ paintings included a sense of swirl and twirling movement that cameras could not record at the time. Degas painted ballerinas in positions that sometimes couldn’t be held for more than a couple of seconds for example a ballerina on pointe suggested movement because it was impossible to sustain and an action that eluded photographers. Degas regularly painted at the opera to include light shining onto tutus. Ballet represents the human body, Degas enjoyed the pretty fabrics and rendering movements. Degas' paintings were the outcome of a systematic process he used grid lines that are still visible in some of his paintings and he painted dancers holding the same position from several angles. Degas recorded 26 figure studies from a stationary profile. Drawing was a discipline.

Close up of The Dance Lesson, Edgar Degas, 1879, Oil on Canvas, 38x88 cm

Dancer, Study for 'L'Attente', Edgar Degas, 1882, Charcoal and pastel on laid paper, 45.7x31.1 cm 

Two Studies of a Dancer, Edgar Degas, 1878-79, Charcoal, pastel and wash on paper, 47.2x58.5cm

Degas introduced strong black outlines to his later paintings using charcoal. Degas’ knowledge of the ballet was complex due to the large quantity of varied poses and stages of movement he recorded as an artist. Degas later drew from photographs and dabbled in creating video from photography. Some of the artist’s paintings became free and Degas even used his fingers to apply the paint and his fingerprints are visible on pieces of artwork today. The last series of paintings were created using oil pastel instead of oil paints and recorded dancers from relaxed poses. This allowed Degas to create poetic strokes of colour with zigzag pastel movement and energy came from the medium rather than the dancers moving themselves. The oil pastels allowed Degas to layer colour. Seeing this exhibition enabled me to view the different stages Degas went through as a painter of dancers and I learnt a lot about the artists beliefs, techniques and achievements as a recorder of movement.

Dancers in Blue, Edgar Degas, 1890, Oil on Canvas, 85x75.5 cm