Wednesday, 22 July 2009

The Best and Brightest of New Designers

jotta went along to New Designers 2009, a massive culmination of the best graduating textiles, applied arts, ceramics, metalworks and jewellery design students, and we liked what we saw. We plucked just a handful of the artists on show whose work dazzled us.
(piece titled "Resonate II" by Emmeline Hastings)

In addition to being a metalworks graduate from the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham, Emmeline Hastings sings and plays the guitar. Performing and the music produced gives way to her other art—metal that recreates the movements and vibrations of sound.

What or who inspires you? It is the movements and vibrations of sound and music that I try to show in my work, but I am also inspired by the science of ‘Cymatics.’ This is the science of seeing sound in natural substances like water and crystals. The shapes and patterns that emerge are mind-blowing.

Is there a particular metal that you enjoy working with the most? And why? I use stainless steel because of its springiness and reflective qualities but it is not easy to work with because it is so hard. I have also used silver in my work and its malleability is a refreshing change from stainless steel. However, I like the combination of the two.

What are your plans now that the show’s done? I’m taking part in a residency to keep access to a workshop and develop the work. I hope to complete a much larger piece, and maybe obtain some funding to realise these ideas or work by commission.

At Edinburgh College of Art, Karen Mabon was amongst only 11 who studied Jewellery and Silversmithing. Although, instead of working in precious metals, Karen chose to manipulate plywood into fun, toy-like pieces of jewellery.

What inspires your jewellery designs? It’s something that changes every day. My degree show collection was inspired by a number of things, ranging from my first visit to Berlin to the greyhound races in Glasgow to the time I met Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall. I am inspired by artists who share my interest in interpreting and manipulating reality; photographer Tim Walker, David Hockney, and filmmakers Pierre Huyghe and Aeronout Mik.

Do you incorporate the same detail and style from your 3D boxes in your jewellery as well? Yes, definitely. To be honest I don’t really see myself as a jeweller! I have quite an interdisciplinary attitude towards design and believe every aspect of a product should be equally considered. I love the colours and typeface of graphic and packaging design from the 1950s, and hope my own work conjures up similar connotations. My work is quite playful and toy-like, and I think the packaging contributes to that. I want people to instantly warm to it.

Do you have any plans for the future now that the show’s done? In September, I start an MA at the Royal College of Art in London, which I’m really looking forward to. I’m not sure how my work will change when I go to the RCA, I’m considering venturing into film.

Rebecca Vernon, a recent ceramics graduate from Bath Spa University, likes glass. She especially enjoys the way light reacts to glass, a phenomenon she tries to recreate in her clay pieces.

Are there other mediums or artists that inspire you? I got my initial inspiration from the V&A glass section. I also have a bit of an obsession with overly ornate cut glass, I love getting up ridiculously early on a Sunday morning and going to car boots to buy other people’s junk. I love the playful qualities of light on the surface of the glass, which is something I try to capture in my work.

Do you always carve your sculptures or was that just for your tea set piece? I came to carving by accident, I was making something and it had dried out too much so that it wasn’t malleable anymore. I start to cut into it out of frustration in order to refine the form. I thought this was the perfect way to translate the qualities I love from cut glass. Since then I have spent that last year and a half trying to refine this technique.

What do you plan on doing now that the show’s done? I’m currently looking to buy a kiln so I can get going independently and make some more work because I feel there is a lot of energy behind it at the moment. I keep on having ideas of how to expand and improve, and I don’t want to lose the momentum I have built up.

A recent textile design graduate from the small-town Loughborough University, Jenny Appleton uses current British figures and culture as inspiration for the modern wallpaper and furniture prints she creates.

Tell us something interesting about yourself. I asked some of my friends and they all said that I have an uncommonly loud laugh that penetrates walls. Cheers kids. On another note, I live on a farm and, growing up, I had a pet sheep named Winston.

What or who inspires you when you design? I’m inspired by all sorts, really, from music and art to places and people. Primarily my work’s about current British culture mixed with antiquated traditions, however it’s all very personal to me and is based on my views and experiences. It’s really just an amalgamation of everything that interests me right now.

What do you plan on doing now that the show’s done? Now that the show is over I plan to continue working on some new wallpaper designs and furniture pieces as well as finding some sort of way of commercially hand printing my wallpapers. I’d love to see a few shops stocking the wallpapers.

New Designers 2009

By Emily Thomas

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