Sunday, 16 October 2011

Grand Days Out

Last weekend was a very inspiring one for me, with trips to both the Liverpool Design Show and Capstans Bazaar, how great is it that both these events were happening in the city on the same weekend?
Hand printed linens, woven in Burnley, by Thorody.

I will admit I was a little apprehensive of the Design show, I tend to associate 'design' with a harder, more clinical aesthetic, as opposed to the obvious human input in works we describe as 'craft' or 'art'. But that's just my own prejudice, and how wrong was I?! The Design show was a great mix of furniture, jewellery, fashion, textiles and home wares, from individual designers, makers and studio groups, some of whom were there in person presenting their own work.

The standout exhibitors for me were mainly textile practitioners. Orwell and Goode, who's beautiful stag print fabrics, prints and home wares make me drool every time I see them, had a beautifully abundant stand with a huge range of products on offer, if money were no object my flat would be a shrine to all things stag. Thorody had the advantage of being the first stand you saw on entering the hall, and also had the joy of being situated by the exposed tile flooring the hall is famous for. The colours and textures in their hand printed linens looked beautiful beside the Minton tiled floor.
One of Katie Heeks' beautiful 3d gardens.

North-West based designers Katie Heeks and Faye Power both had beautiful work on display, and both had special interest for me as they were using fabric designs I've used myself, it's always interesting to see how other people use the same materials in different ways. Katie Heeks' beautiful  3D scenes, made of fabric laminated plywood were magical and fragile looking in kaleidoscopic colours and textures. Faye Powers textiles and ceramics were beautiful combinations of hand illustration and collage techniques, simple but striking.

Slightly outside of my usual sphere of interest was the jeweller Alice Bo-Wen Chang. Alice's mind-blowingly intricate, sculptural designs appealed to the bit of me that enjoys making 1:25 scale models of tables and chairs (not just for fun you understand, but for my secret life as a theatre designer). Her training as an architect is apparent in the precision and rigour of her work, as well as the manipulation of space and line.

I made a comparatively brief visit to Capstans Bazaar I'm afraid, might have been the lack of cake in my system, or the ill boyfriend I had dragged along with me, but a quick whizz around was all I could muster, that's not to say there wasn't some great work on display here too though. Purlesque, Becka Griffin, Snap and Dazzle and Panda Perdu to name a few. Next time I will make a day of it, drink copious tea, get my weekly cake ration in (preferably Leaf's amazing chocolate brownies, or cheesecake, or lemon cake....) and enjoy a leisurely stroll round!

Friday, 7 October 2011


First post! Like walking on fresh snow, or breaking that papery foil seal on a new jar of Nutella! (it's been far too long since I bought a jar of Nutella and I may now have to rectify that). Hopefully I'll be able to keep this blog rolling along with some interesting posts about the things I've seen and the work that I'm making, and perhaps someone will even want to read it!

I've been making and selling things for just over a year now, via my Etsy store, and also doing commissions for friends and family, and family of friends, friends of family, you know how it is. This September I took part in my first 2 craft fairs, which I think went pretty well, it's a very rewarding experience, being able to talk to the people buying your work and to see the reactions of people browsing. Hopefully I'll be fitting a few more in as we get going for Christmas, have to wait and see!

I feel very lucky to be living and working in Liverpool at the moment, there's a lot going on and a great network of other designer-makers who I've been meeting over the last few months. This weekend I'll be taking myself to see the Liverpool Design Festival at St Georges Hall, which I'm very excited about, I'd been meaning to go last year but never got round to it so I'll be taking full advantage this year. And on Sunday I'm hoping to get down to Capstan's Bazaar at Leaf and see some of the other Merseyside Etsyans and perhaps have a sneaky bit of cake while I'm there!

So next week I may well have lots to share about my excursions, but for now I'll say good bye!
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