New Designers brings together over 3,000 of the UK’s best emerging designers across a 2 part exhibition. Week 1 featured:
- Textiles, Fashion and Accessories
- Contemporary Applied Arts (inc. Ceramics and Glass)
- Jewellery and Precious Metalwork
- One Year On
Acclaimed author, journalist and design critic Alice Rawsthorn officially opened the event, saying: “For anyone graduating now, this is a daunting time thanks to the economic recession. But the good news for anyone who wants to make their career in design and craft is that there has never been a better time to do so. The most exciting periods of design have always been the periods of greatest change, and we are now living through a phenomenal period of unprecedented change, at extraordinary speed and scale. Your role as designers is to help society to make the most of these changes, to make sure that they affect our lives for good rather than bad.”
Here are some of the talented people we spotted, doing their bit for sustainability and design for good:
Charlotte’s vision is a world that values and conserves nature. Through her work, entitled ‘Fading Away’, she intends to highlight the crisis that life on earth is under. Due to the destructive behaviour of mankind, nearly a quarter of mammals, a third of amphibians and more than 1 in 8 birds are threatened with extinction. Habitat destruction – through agriculture, logging and development – is the main threat and it’s happening worldwide. By using the IUCN Red List of endangered species, this hand made porcelain collection contains one of each of the critically endangered mammals. Charlotte has graduated from Central Saint Martin’s.
Nikkita Morgan, a graduate of Carmarthenshire College (Coleg Sir Gar), has used fine art textiles to communicate a social message, combining stitch, print and collage. Her final exhibition is based on the political and conflict issues in the North of Ireland. Nikkita’s large scale work informs the viewer of her reaction to the troubles. Text and images from newspapers are used to reference history and Gaelic slogans give added meaning and social identity to the piece.
This is the Transformation Necklace, by Alexandra Louise, a graduate of Rochester University for the Creative Arts, made from pure English raw silk, silver, and real Chrysalises. This large installation piece was created to show the transforming beauty of the butterfly pupae. Filmed for two weeks the camera captured the growth of each chrysalis until finally a butterfly emerged, leaving the papery remains of a cocoon on the necklace. The chrysalises were sourced from a UK butterfly breeder and no butterflies were harmed. Alexandra Louise even created a botanical garden for them to hatch into.
Throughout the final year of his degree at Havering College James explored the use of locally sourced materials in an effort to minimise transport costs in the final production of his designs. All materials used throughout his project were sourced within a 10 mile radius of central Romford.
The aim was to obtain organic eco-materials, such as wheat, manure, earth and potato starch and to identify potential uses for them. Through a series of experiments, he focused on the materials in-depth and began to explore potential end uses, using different methods and mixtures to change the properties. James researched traditional techniques most commonly used with the materials and then went on to develop new ideas. For instance, he heated a blend of sieved soil and potato starch, which allowed the soil to maintain a solid form. Hear James talking about his project in the video below.
Through a selection of finished items, called EarthWare, James was able to realise a potential in the use of soil as a durable organic material, which can be returned to the earth once the product has reached its end of life.
A recent graduate in Design Crafts from De Montfort University at Oxford and Cherwell Valley College, Gill White works with recycled paper. She says “Its important to me to work sustainably, so pulping newspapers to fashion 3D forms gives me great satisfaction. I am addicted to my daily paper, providing me not only with ideas, but also my working materials. I keep engaged with current social issues, which often surface during the making process, giving the work its own individual dynamic”.
Her sculptures and installations have covered the war in Iraq, domestic violence, the threat to sell Britains’ woodlands, homelessness – and the phone-hacking scandal, featured above, entitled “The Hacking Jacket”.
Post graduation she now looks forward to exhibiting her pieces with fellow artists, and to participating in community arts projects.
Beth graduated in Decorative Arts at Nottingham Trent University. She enjoys using a variety of materials, but is at her happiest when working with glass and wood. She was lucky enough to study Glass Design at Linneaus University in Smaland, Sweden. Living in the ‘glass capital’, she was taught by inspirational glass designers and makers and worked with skilled glass blowers. Here, she makes use of recycled spirit bottles to create modern lanterns, inspired by traditional nomads.
Máire’s degree show collection is a range of hand-crafted spot lights and storage pots, which take a contemporary approach to form and materials, while at the same time celebrating the traditions of lathe turning techniques. The main focus of her work is the combination of ethically sourced and sustainable materials. Máire studied Decorative Arts at Nottingham Trent University.
Also known as Rosie Ann Carter, this illustrative Textile Designer from Falmouth University specialises in fashion and interiors. One of her main interests is using machine and hand embroidery. Passionate about drawing and colour, her work has a freehand style reminiscent of watercolour painting.
With a broad knowledge of hand stitching, fabric manipulation, weaving, felting, knitting and crocheting, she rescues unloved clothes, dated textiles and fabric remnants and instills them with new life as she re-imagines them into something new.
MOON is inspired by the space in-between. The experience of going through the rice straw circle aims to trigger childhood memories, offering people a brief glimpse into a nostalgic experience. Hee Kyoung Lee studied 3D Design at Camberwell College of Arts.
A recent graduate of 3D Design at Camberwell College of Art, Harry Owen, a designer maker of leather goods, has set up his own practice, AMBLE.
AMBLE is about craftsmanship and Harry’s aim is to create products that will improve through years of use. Instead of asking ‘what’s new?’ He answers the question ‘what’s best?’, as a reaction to throw-away design and fashion.
Everything is hand crafted from ethically sourced materials. All the bags and belts are made with English Oak Bark Tan, made in Devon. The Tannery has been in operation for over 400 years, using water from the Coly River and oak bark from local coppicing. The skins take up to 12 months to produce and this incredibly slow and this gentle pit tanning process creates a durable, tough leather.
REBECCA SIRINIDES email@example.com
Rebecca creates dramatically oversized soft furnishings using the textural qualities of knitting and crochet. Her Tiffany-style Luminaire uses a cleverly disguised hula hoop as its framework, and the large lampshade was up-cycled from an old tatty charity shop find! Rebecca is a graduate of Textile & Surface Design at Gray’s School of Art.
Robyn’s work explores the idea of preciousness within her childhood, evoking nostalgia, memory and, in some ways, an underlying sinister tone, which shocks but at the same time intrigues.
Through her collection she explores the boundaries of jewellery and considers how she can push them. For Robyn, jewellery is the interaction of the body with an object – whether it’s worn, hung, or simply held in the hands.
It’s important to her that materials are ethically sourced. She collects baby dolls, vintage silverware and vanity sets, to form part of her raw materials, which she transforms into pieces of body adornment, reinvesting the material’s value. Robyn is a graduate of Hereford College of Art.
Liv creates an Ode to the Streetlamp, which, when first invented, provided not just light, but by virtue of the light, a newfound safety. She interprets the story, shapes and ornamental details into jewellery. Handmade ‘gemstones’, made from ethically sourced materials, are set into 100% recycled metals, along with etched and stamped poetic sentences. Liv has graduated from Hereford College of Arts.
Flouting jewellery convention, Sally Morrison opens our eyes to the beauty of breezeblock. A graduate from Edinburgh College of Art, Sally is motivated by a love of materials and their endlessly varied properties. She grew up in Glasgow, an industrial city, which has saturated her with an awe of scale, power and engineering. Her work looks at the monumental, powerful aesthetic of Brutalist architecture and she condenses this into human-scaled wearable objects.
Sally is a technically trained metalworker with skills that range from traditional jewellery techniques to larger scale processes such as carving, casting, welding and machining.
Aisling Duffy is an Irish designer from Dublin, who has just finished her masters at Edinburgh College of Art. For her graduate project she designed a unisex fashion, footwear & accessories collection called ‘Ingredients of an AislingPie’.
The project explores expression of personality and how we portray ourselves in public interactions. A lot of layering is used to reflect the aspects of our lives that we reveal and those we choose to cover up. Her style combines hand painted fabrics, words, photographs, recycled items, ceramic pieces and embroidery.
A designer maker from Costa Rica, Juli presents [Mix&Match] Series, a collection of 25 sculptural vessels, made from found glass and blown glass, which she has dissected, engraved and rearranged into quirky-beautiful jewel-like pieces.
See how she mixed & matched in the video below. Juli is a graduate from Edinburgh University, MFA Glass.
Lauren Scott, a Textile Artist based in Northern Ireland, featured in the “One Year On” section. She creates 3D sculptures that incorporate elements from both traditional textile craft and ceramics. Lauren is intrigued by the idea of taxidermy and views her pieces as a ‘veggie alternative’. The animals are constructed entirely from recycled textiles and foraged natural materials.
Her characters are full of personality – humour plays an integral part in her work – however, she is also interested in provoking a reaction by depicting wildlife traditionally hunted, killed and ostracised by humans.
Helen graduated in Interior Textiles & Surface Design at Somerset College. Her collection is inspired by the natural world and the concept of ‘protection in numbers’, a method used by groups of animals, such as herds of deer and shoals of fish. All materials are natural, ethical and sustainable, with processes being as non-toxic as possible, in order to protect the environment.
Surface pattern designer, Emma Grace Dugdale, from the University of Hertfordshire, displayed a wonderfully delicate set of engravings, on discarded glasses lenses, giving them a whole new lease of life.
Kat is a mixed media artist and designer, a graduate from the University of Cumbria. Her costume collection, ‘Army of Me’ uses reclaimed leather, juxtaposed with vivid silks. Her inspiration stems from studies of armour, historical costume and the forms of fossils.
Stripped from existing apparel, the tears and perforations of the leather are enhanced and incorporated into the design. The components are boiled, distressed, stitched, laced and riveted into position. Fascinated by the relationship between stitch and painting, the surface of the leather is then embellished with a patina of stitch.
Simultaneously, Kat created silk skirts inspired by Japan’s heritage of Shibori resist-dye techniques. The resulting silks have unique, intricate markings, providing a contrast to the sculpted leather.
Georgina specialised in glass at Swansea Metropolitan University. Her final project was inspired by Victorian entomological collections typically found in dusty museum cabinets. Her aim was to magnify the ordinary bug – the insect we might step on – and ask the question, do we really know what these insects do for us?
The project gives an insight into the importance of these everyday ‘pests’. Each moth, fly, beetle, bee and lacewing is important. Each performs a task vital to everyday lives and we couldn’t do without them.
Her work aims to stimulate the enquiring mind and instigate a newfound respect for these silent contributors to society. For instance, moths are a major part of our biodiversity and play vital roles in the ecosystem, affecting many other types of wildlife. They pollinate flowers and also can tell us about the health of our environment, like the canary in the coalmine. Since they are so widespread and are so sensitive to changes, moths are particularly useful as an indicator species.
Sustainability and ethical values are a key part of textile artist Misha Waterton’s approach. She researched into textile supply chains and ethical business behaviour to shape the way she does things. Misha creates striking fragmented designs, which are hand dyed and printed, so each piece is unique.
Looking to the future, she’s keen to get involved in sustainable business management and environmental issues and to become involved in the communication and promotion of these ideas and practices. Misha is a graduate of Nottingham Trent University.
Fabian is a graduate of Manchester Metropolitan University’s 3D Design course. His work is based on man’s connection and disconnections with nature and is inspired by the geology found in Derbyshire and the Yorkshire Dales. The surface and glaze of the pieces gives suggestions of vast rock formations and caverns full of mineral deposits.
The ‘Intrusion’ collection explores the idea of intrusive rock development, volcanic liquid rock that forms in the ground and breaks through the surface of the earth, crystallising into minerals when solidified. This symbolises ‘the natural’ breaking through the man-made. Fabian is currently researching the use of environmentally friendly concrete for inclusion in future projects.
In the ‘One Year On’ section, Irem was spinning yarn, drawing out and twisting fibres into a thread. Her company, ‘Sheep of Steel’, has headquarters in London’s Funky Dalston and collaborates with a skilled set of spinners scattered throughout the UK.
It’s been at least 2,600 years since advanced use of plant fibre by humans was recorded; the earliest sample of woollen textiles dates back 3,500 years. Spinning is a valuable craft and art form worth conserving and promoting. ‘Sheep of Steel’ are exciting and engaging people with edgy, sustainably produced hand-spun yarns. They take great pleasure in testing out endless colour combinations and blends of material – including textile waste – creating an innovative fresh and vibrant aesthetic.
As well as offering a selection of gorgeous off the shelf yarns, the team can work to produce custom-made orders.
St Martin’s trained and a pioneer in ethical fashion since the 90’s, Linda recently graduated from Bath Spa University. Through her studies she focused on protective textiles and produced fabrics that deflect and absorb radiation from mobile phones and wifi: using conductive materials and crystals. Linda has a fascination for the electromagnetic waves that surround us and resonate with our cells. Some of them have beneficial effects but many of them create disturbances at a cellular level and interfere with cell communication, with unknown consequences.
Linda’s design practice, ‘Boutique Ethique’, has an ethos of looking carefully at materials. Her choice of fibres is governed by the environmental impact of their cultivation and processing. She uses protein fibres that can be dyed easily with natural pigments and also cellulose fibres, such as hemp and pina (pineapple).
Linda makes a point of not using bamboo cloth, which has a large chemical and energy input in its production. She avoids synthetic interlinings, plastic zips and buttons and, in place of these, uses recycled linings and biodegradable buttons.
Her label supports UK manufacturers and she works with weavers and embroiderers struggling to compete with cheap imports. She’s also committed to fair trade principles and keeps transportation to a minimum.
A recently graduated student from the University of Brighton, Michael specialises in woodwork. His aim was to create a set of designs that question how furniture can be made using different techniques and workshop styles. Primarily he wanted the work to retain a sense of nature, to avoid becoming too “machined”, ultimately giving the pieces an authenticity and humbleness.
Amanda believes that by-products of the human body are a valid material resource. Her project uses human waste, such as urine, placenta, fingernails, hair and saliva to create artefacts – displaying what is ordinarily discarded in an aesthetically pleasing way.
By creating these artefacts Amanda questions people’s preconceptions and raises awareness of the notions of beauty and value. Amanda studied 3D Materials Practice at the University of Brighton.
Much Cat Oddie’s work stems from an interest in nature and she has a particular interest in urban natural growth. She notices it as she walks about the city: plants taking root in the crevices of buildings, moss covering rooftops, trees growing around railings.
There’s a beautiful interplay between humankind and nature in many such scenarios, which urged her to combine the two. Her work highlights the presence of nature in urbanised environments and queries the accepted separation between humans and nature. By growing crystals over her structures Catherine invites the unpredictability of natural growth into her controlled and deliberate creations. Cat is a graduate from the University of Brighton‘s 3D Materials Practice degree course.
Presiana is a figurative artist from Falmouth University who specialises in glass. Her sculptures explore links between humanity and nature, combining glass, copper and natural materials, such as branches, straw and earth. These materials form an engaging visual language, representing familiar objects in contrasting and implausible combinations.