inspiration in absolute bucket loads!!!

wow what a morning!!!  Lauren Currie probably just changed most of 2nd year Design Studies Students lives if not forever then at least for a little while. Inspirational just isn’t enough to describe what Lauren has done in such a short time.  But just who is she? Lauren was a graduate of Duncan of Jordanstone in 2008 and after a summer of working in design she came back to do her Master  of Design at D of J but Lauren had her future mapped way before that, from 2nd year in fact, when like us today she heard all about service design.  Lauren introduced us to some of her projects today, Studio Unbound, Redjotter, Snook and myPolice.

Lauren talked about the importance of social networking and how incredible opportunities can happen if you put yourself out there and just have confidence in what you’re doing. Through twitter Lauren was flown first class to China to talk about Innovation in Scotland!   Blogging, Tweeting, flickr, vimeo and using Skype are amongst Laurens’ favourite online tools but she also stressed the importance of keeping our online presence professional this leads to an important point – to think of how we are perceived by others both online, in the studio with our peers and with our tutors. Lauren encouraged us to believe in ourselves as designers – if we believe, others will too.

For me its been quite a journey getting to where I am and when I came to Duncan of Jordanstone last May for an interview for direct entry to second year – just walking up the steps to the building was amazing, I can never explain to any one how much it means to me to be actually studying here, it really is a dream come true (someone once said to me that I sound like Im on X factor and the novelty will wear off but thats really how it feels) so for me everyday is like another opportunity to be grasped and I want to learn and push myself as much as I can, while I can.  My enthusiasm for my textile work knows no bounds I absolutely love coming into the studio and have loved the project briefs set  so far and get so excited over new challenges. Lauren has made me realise that if I start now I can also feel the same about anything I want to take on – just apply the same principles as I do in the studio.  So here goes, I always think Im not good enough in my writing but from now on this will change – ‘attitude’ is on her list of five inspirational words. If I believe in my writing and keep practicing by blogging small amounts as often as possible then it can only improve and my confidence will grow. Openess, belief, confidence and explore are Laurens’ other words and I think I will write these out and place them on my  studio desk – they will become my mantra!

Another really important point was to think of ourselves as a brand – Laurens’ Red Jotter avatar is her own red nails and people have approached her because of this so its important that I choose something memorable – I’ve always been known for my love of red lipstick! Wonder what Lauren would think of that?  Lauren mentioned that someones avatar was going to be a plate of cookies – then when applying for an internship  she could send cookies to get herself noticed! I remember hearing Johanna Basford speak and she sent mugs with one of her amazing designs printed on instead of a business card – she said that even if they use it for pencils it will stay on their desk and not put in a wallet and forgotten about – brilliant idea!

So the ‘to do list’ has started – use my connections more, I’m fortunate that I belong to exhibiting groups – so I need to focus and create things that others will want/need. Think of a brand, choose an eye catching avatar,  focus and create, get out and about and interact and remember that its never too late and although I’m 50 remember that life begins there!


Technology in a shawl

After my thoughts on the hug in a wrap following the lecture by Hazel White, I’ve  been looking at other ways people use technology in their textiles I’ve  mentioned  Jo Hodge in a previous post. Jo is a textile designer and former graduate of Duncan of Jordanstone  with a Masters in Design and for her  Ph.D is working with wearable technology and smart materials.  For her Masters Jo created  clothing from recycled textiles and using her drawing skills and special dye created pattern which alters when exposed to heat or UV light.  Her work is available to view on flickr.

I’ve also found a shawl; The NapCap designed by Simone Wittmann as part of her final year project. It provides security, peace of mind  and comfort whilst travelling on public transport. Simone is a German Designer who specialises in Industrial Design, Design Management and Interaction Design

You can follow the design inspiration and development here.

A scarf which has uses in the medical field is the Beagle Scarf designed by Leo Chao. Leo worked with autistic children and their parents to develop this idea, it works on the sensory system to block or stimulate according to the childs needs.

read in more detail here

Another awesome link I found via Jo Hodge is ‘Where I Go’ by Yves – a ring which instead of a diamond holds a camera, it works by taking photographs according to your settings and saving them to a photo service site (through subscription). Viewing the video is a must.

This is opening a whole new world to me.

‘magical’ jewellery

Today our lecture was delivered by Hazel White programme director of the Master of Design Course here at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art.  Hazel graduated in 1993 with B.Des (Hons) in Jewellery & Metalwork here at Duncan of Jordanstone and went on to the RCA, London to do an MA in Goldsmithing, Metal work and Jewellery completing in 1995 and then going to Sheffield Hallam University to do a postgraduate in Higher Education and staying on to become a Senior Lecturer, Course Leader and Researcher in the  Metalwork & Jewellery department

Throughout this time Hazel learned many technical and traditional skills needed to make beautiful pieces of jewellery and metal work and I find it fascinating that with all these skills Hazel is now researching.  I remember after my very first lecture with Jonathan Baldwin leaving the lecture theatre and thinking – I too could make a difference? Yes the question mark should be there.  The reason I came into Textile Design was because I love textiles and making things, and I suppose I thought I’d learn some more skills in the way of printing and designing amazing fabrics and then upon graduating I’d get myself a studio and print fabrics and make gorgeous things from said fabric and hopefully sell them. But every week each lecture makes me realise I can think big or bigger even bigger than that if I want to, not that there’s anything wrong with making beautiful fabrics.

So what changed for Hazel? she explained that it was whilst in South Korea as an exchange professor that it changed the way she looked at things, not knowing the language, it was semiotics that helped her – she used images to see and understand things.  Whilst there she researched jewellery with digital power, what would happen if your jewellery could tell a story, if jewellery could do things.  I’m not a bling kind of girl  but if it had ‘magical’ powers that would be amazing – Hazel talked about the hame farers kists, which is something she developed whilst in Shetland to research how craft could connect Shetlanders to their dispersed families.

photo from Shetland Arts

The kist (wooden box) contained Fair Isle pin cushions and hidden inside was digital information which when put inside the box connected to a flickr photo stream. This was programmed to match with families miles away.  Straight away I thought of Stevie and Scarlett my son and daughter in law who live in Brisbane Australia, we keep in touch regularly, but I miss his hugs and thought how awesome it would be to create a shawl/scarf which you could wrap around you and when we missed each other the shawl/scarf would sense this and connect us together and give you a hug! I know, its a bit far fetched but sounds fun and of course it would  have to be a lightweight fabric for use in Australia 🙂

Georgina von Etzdorf

Duncan of Jordanstone Textile department was buzzing on Monday with the arrival of Georgina von Etzdorf, from the fashion, interior and accessory company of the same name whose work spanned two and a half decades.  An amazing talk, show and tell was held for us very fortunate textile design students and afterwards a chance to talk to Georgina and touch the beautiful treasures.  Her work can only be described as treasure, it is so sumptuous and rich both in colour and in the cloth and Kylie, Robbie Williams and The Pet Shop Boys are just a few in a list of many who own some of her pieces.  The accessories are not only works of art but also beautiful to wear and have been featured many times in both the British and Italian Vogue with Isabella Rosalina being their muse.


Georgina von Etzdorf

In 2006 Manchester held a huge exhibition as a retrospective of the 25 years of the company it was a great success  and amongst the exhibits were the hand screen printing done in their Wiltshire barn to the  techno fabrics created in collaboration with artists from around the world.  The images shown to us from this exhibition were amazing and those who attended would have experienced many things as it really was a stimulation of the senses.

Georgina von Etzdorf

Hanging at height were fabrics in every colour, pattern and texture imaginable and the visitor could lie back and look up and be charmed and relaxed by their slight movement in the breeze.

But we’d be mistaken if we thought it had been rosy and glamourous from the beginning.  The company – three friends all met after leaving art college in Camberwell and began in Georginas’ parents garage, hard work and determination won through and the ability to create by hand beautiful fabrics often with up to 8 separations for one design.  These designs were changed with colour, fabric, enlargement and reducing so the designs would always work together.  Collaborations with artists in Italy and Germany created beautiful textiles with light and sound which have to be seen to be appreciated and once more appeal to the senses.

Many of the designs caught my eye and the attention to detail was exquisite for example the rolled edges of the silk scarves were a different but subtle colour to the rest of the scarf. The printed velvet and devores were so good you felt you could eat them! but one of my favourite designs was Lupin – such a beautiful and versatile design – you can see it above on the bottom row at the front, second in and 8th along the bottom – beautiful.

Georgina is so full of enthusiasm her eyes sparkle as she talks about her work – it was amazing to meet her and talk to her.  Do go if you ever have the chance.