Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Just the two of us: bear and cat.

Here is a recent one off commission I made. A lovely man got in touch after seeing my ‘Just the two of us’ greetings cards I made around Valentines Day last year, based on my Staffordshire Pottery paintings. He wanted a little one off for his fiancée, so I obliged: 

No Outcome / New Term




--> Whoa. I can’t believe I have neglected this for so long! Working at two institutions really took it’s toll and I needed a big break this summer. I was super lucky to go to Japan! Which was amazing.! I also bought a house (eeek!) so you can imagine those two activities have taken over my time over the last few months, as well as having a well deserved rest. It’s the start of a new term now though, I’m three weeks back in, which leaves you feeling whether the summer break actually did happen or not? Last week I kick started the new term at the annual Graphic Design Educators Network at the fabulous Institute for Arts in Sheffield. I spoke about No Outcome – a paper I’ve delivered at three separate conferences now. No Outcome is a fortnightly workshop I run at Nottingham Trent University, where students have the opportunity to make and play free from the pressure of assessment. I believe that assessment can kill innovation and students, who saddled with a huge fee and looming debt, are acting like consumers. I passionately do not want them to see education as a product to be purchased, with a degree classification – or any grade, at any stage, becoming a currency that they exchange for a job. I want them to learn and play and make and take risks and grow and intrinsically make and play for the sake of making and playing not for any external gain – or worry.  The paper was well received and I met some amazing other lecturers and academics who I hope to collaborate with this up and coming year. I love this back-to-school, new start vibe around this time of year. Perhaps that’s the outlook I can have with this blog… new start, back on it. 

Monday, 19 June 2017

Two for joy.



As mentioned a few posts ago, I have been working at LCA on the MAGPi pathway of FAD. Whoa, acronym central there or what?! LCA  = Leeds College of Art. MAGPi = Moving Image, Advertising, Graphic Design, Photography, Illustration. It’s been so much fun, I’ve loved being back at Leeds. Last week I blogged about our amazing FAD show, check it out. I also work at NTU (Nottingham Trent University) and trying to fit in my own work alongside being split in half at two institutions, teaching across level 3 up to level 5 (occasionally level 7!) has been (great fun, don’t get me wrong) but has left me time poor to carry on creating my own work, which I feel that I need to do to feed into my teaching practice, and for a general happy creative life. If I don’t draw or make something frequently, I just feel so … sad, so....pent up. It’s like my own Maslow hierarchy of needs - on the bottom rung; food, create, run, go to a gym class. Anyway – digressing…. today was my last day! I have also decided to halt working at the college during the summer holidays – I have been teaching classes with the Young Creatives – a portfolio development class and general art classes for students aged 7 up to 18, which has been so much fun and really inspiring.


The time has come, however, to move on, to concentrate on making more work, to stop giving so much of myself away and be a little bit selfish and make more for me. So as I depart, I wanted to leave a little memento. I’ve been enjoying working with wood recently - one of the many things I want to spend my time exploring more of - playing around making some wall hanging experiments and I thought that two (for joy) MAGPi(es) would be quite fitting. Adios LCA! 





Sunday, 18 June 2017

Meow


I've been thinking that maybeeee I need to stop drawing cats. But then they are great to draw and paint and I do love them. Just afraid of becoming a bit of a one trick pony. I just get commissioned for a lot of cats!! Here’s some printed on to fabric and made into make up pouches / large bags, purses and pillows. They are inside my etsy shop now.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Staffordshire Pottery



I love Staffordshire Pottery. I know I’ve said this before. It all started when doing Lila Rogers ‘Make Art That Sells’ course, one of the mini briefs was to draw Staffordshire Pottery figures. I just love how weird they are. It’s become a bit of an ongoing theme over the last year. I’ve just been constantly doodling and painting them. I decided to put together an illustrated zine of the characters that I’ve created. I’m currently doing some applique experiments too – just having a play,. I’ll share them when they are done! The zine is available from my etsy shop right now. 


FAD '17

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It’s all been a bit quiet on the blogging front. Mainly because I have been doing a lot of teaching. In November I was asked to come in and help out on the MAGPi  pathway of the Foundation at Leeds College of Art. (MAGPi stands for Moving Image, Advertising, Graphic Design, Photography and Illustration. It’s the ‘communication’ pathway, but also as you can gather from those titles a broad mix of mediums). In 2013, when I was doing my PGDipE, I worked two days a week at LCA and absolutely loved teaching on an Art Foundation course. I was asked to come back this academic year. Foundations are a real gem in the UK educational system – sitting in between level 3 and level 4, they offer a year of unique diagnostic education, a year to be yourself, or to discover what that even is, a year to explore art and design education, which can be restricted at school. Leeds College of Art is one of the best places to undertake a Foundation in the country – and I don’t say that lightly. Not only is Leeds a hub of inspirational activity – from music to art, academic thought to sport, independent spaces and businesses – but the foundation is seeped in history and is different to many other foundation courses around. The students don’t do ‘tasters’ of each subject, but go through a thorough exploration of solving an array of problems – how they solve it,  and how they document how they solve it, determines what kind of artist, designer, thinker and problem solver they are – and what medias they chose to work with. It’s truly exciting, transformative experience – one that I would recommend to anyone, everyone to do – even those that don’t necessarily feel that they will have a career in the arts. The ability to solve problems creatively and to adapt and responded to the world around us is surely needed for every individual, in a technological advancing future, which is hard to foresee. I could harp on about this type of education all day long. It’s important, it’s needed, it’s transformative, it’s intense (teaching it and learning) but so rewarding (yes, teaching it and being on it) you just can’t do it half-arsed. It’s all or nothing – such is the vocational world of design. I wanted to share with you some of the lovely work the Class of ’17 have produced at their end of year exhibition, which was a few weeks’ ago. If you follow this blog, you’ll know that I also teach at Nottingham Trent University, so I have been catapulted into the assessment and end of year show there too, and I will be sharing snippets of that too and other degree shows I hope to attend–including New Designers and New Blood in July.

Photographs show our lovely space at LCA with the eclectic mix of work - MAGPi & Textiles. Directly above are lovely papier mache masks by Annie Hall.

 Interactive Graphics - above based on a project about Play by Courtney Morton, and below exploring typography by Emilla Bermejo-Ford.
An amazing illustrated zine about coming of age, by Emma Barret below.

Strange Conversation is an interactive game, designed by Hannah Carlie - 
a response to over over usage of social media.


Playful textiles by Amelia Galliford.