REFLECTION

The term designer maker means lot more than just, I design stuff and make it. A lot of thinking, hate and love goes into it.

I have rattled on about the fact I need to make and research. My practice is without a doubt research led.

Over the course of New Designer I learnt, even more so, how important that is to my work as a designer maker and as an artist.

My previous post was a small round up of June, easily my busiest month of the year so far. Within that post I touched upon my experience exhibiting at New Designers, but this post is going to be a developmental focused post. Learning is about amending and growing. Reflecting upon feedback and experience, I find, is the best way to ensure I am always learning.

For the purposes of my brain and its own information digestive system, I will bullet point the most important things I learnt from ND.

SEPARATE IT.

I received some great feedback over the course of the exhibition, most of those I spoke to totally got why I recently launched a small stationery and print collection as well as continue to work on my practice and research. However they only really ‘got it’ and why when I started to nag their ears off. I am very lucky to have found a topic of research which excites and motivates me to create but it can get so heavy. My research is and will be my lifes work, I am committed to it and I totally get it’s a slow burn. Sometimes, like any creative relationship, you need a little ‘you’ time. Time to play and create without always questioning why? This was the birth place of my stationery brand and I am so glad it happened.

In my head it works perfectly together but as an outsider looking in, it does not. By combining both my research and stationery, it devalues both. My research is too imporant to me to just slap onto product. That being said, my stationery and design work deserves the light of day without the big trees stealing all of limelight. I am not sure yet my plan, but I know they need to be separated. Whether this is just different tabs on my website or different websites all together. If anyone has any thoughts, please do let me know!

-       YOU NEED THIS.

Ah this is so stupidly obvious but necessary. It is not until you have an event or exhibition to work towards that you realise you need it. I need deadlines, working alone at home (alongside my part time job) can get a little disheartening. Working for work sake? Questioning why do you even do this? Are you just spending rather than earning? Regardless to the result I make because I need to create and that’s totally normal for creatives. I am not making for the sake of it, I  am not making to have something to show people, I am not making to ‘make it’. I make because it is part of me and always will be.

-       PROMOTE YO’ SELF

It is necessary so I had to get over my attitude towards it. I do not like talking about myself (shock horror). I love making bad puns and keeping my practice very close to my heart. That’s not helping anyone, especially not me. Setting aside a couple of hours to plan my working week is normal for me, now I just need to plan my social media too. Planning in advance helps me to let go of the ‘ah no one wants to see this rubbish’. As long as I am sharing content I am proud of, that is all that matters.

-       YOU ACTUALLY LIKE PEOPLE.

Years of ‘eh I hate people’ becomes ingrained into memory and mannerisms. Turns out people are great.

My goals for the rest of the year are to surround myself with more creative types, move into a shared studio space and confidently talk about my practice. Talking aloud to someone, even if they do not say word and give you a blank stare, is so productive.

-       YOU ARE DOING OKAY

I think this is extremely important to remember. New Designers marks my fourth exhibition since September 2016/leaving my Masters Degree. Along side working two part time jobs, writing research proposal after proposal and an artist residency. I am working towards living the most creative life. I am getting there. 

Although all five points seem pretty basic, I need to acknowledge them and act upon them. I am very grateful to have been given the opportunity to exhibit as part of One Year On at New Designers this year.

If you would like to read a little more about my ND experience, I wrote a short post about it all here:

http://www.newdesigners.com/new-designers-blog/behind-scenes-one-year-coral-fowley/

 

C.

J U N E 2 0 1 7

What a totally manic couple of months. It looks like my weekly commitment to sharing creative content was a total over stretch.

Nevertheless here I am again, with so much to share that I thought a month round up would be easier to digest (and way more achievable for me).

As mentioned throughout this blog, I am very new to writing personally and honesty when it comes to my creativity. So once again, I have taken to just writing, no edits apart from the always needed spell check.

June started out rather panic induced, after preparing for an event such as an exhibition as large as New Designers 2017 is as exciting as it is a leap of trust, in your work and your ability to pull it together. After months of prep and talking endlessly about it, when June hit, so did the realisation that it is actually happening and I need to prepare myself not just my work.

I adore and need the creative outlet of making, it keeps me, me. Yet putting it ‘out there’ is still terrifying, regardless to your craft, discipline or specialism, it is a part of you.

Luckily I had a crash course in putting myself ‘out there’ at the most brilliant event called BLOGTACULAR. Now from the name you would assume this is for all the great and wonderfully wordy bloggers. However it is much more than that, it is a community which nurtures and develops all those who run their creative lives and businesses online. I had the pleasure of working along side the volunteer team but managed to attend the talks and workshops I was intrigued by.

Image Credit: http://blogtacular.com and http://www.amber-rosephotography.com/

Image Credit: http://blogtacular.com and http://www.amber-rosephotography.com/

Blogtacular is an annual event organised by the great Kat Molesworth (@thatkat). Now I found nothing but inspiration from day ( too many things to list in this round up post) however something which I personally took away from the event and has stayed with me since is how Kat addressed the large audience and carried herself confidently. New Designers was two weeks away at this point and watching her speak and create such a positive atmosphere through her character and use of language really stood out. It was once of those moments where I thought ‘goodness I really hope i can come across like that one day’.

Image Credit: http://blogtacular.com and http://www.amber-rosephotography.com/

Image Credit: http://blogtacular.com and http://www.amber-rosephotography.com/

I made some wonderful (the word contacts totally banned because they are more than that) friends at the event especially the beautiful Shahira. Check out her blog pretty please, she's great, as is how supportive she has been in the month I have known her.

Taking major inspiration from Blogtacular created such a confidence in me, that was totally need in order to launch my online shop and ESTY. WHICH IS FINALLY HERE! The response has been fab and I could not be happier. The total boost I needed before the big event itself.

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As for New Designers, it is safe to say it was an exhausting but creatively affirming experience. I have wrote a little something for the ND blog, so I wont go on and on. I also plan on writing a blog post about the personal developmental aspects of the exhibition. However I will share a little now.

Exhibiting as part of One Year On was a wonderful and eye opening experience. New Designers is known for celebrating emerging creatives and One Year On is completely a product of this nurturing event.

It would be an understatement to say I am very grateful to have been selected.

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The main thing I have taken away from both Blogtacular and New Designers 2017, is that I need to immerse myself fully in the creative communities around me. I fully took for granted how energised you feel around other creatives.  At Blogtacular I met real people behind the online profiles I admire, was given great book recommendations and made supportive creative allies. New Designers filled me with creative clarity, I know what I need to do next and how to get there.

 And the first thing on my mammoth to do list, is find studio space.

Until my next rambling,

C.

P R E P D A Y

As I have rattled on about for a while now, I will be exhibiting as part of One Year On at New Designers this year! I can’t tell you how excited I am to be returning to this amazing event 4 years after my graduate show there.

For anyone who isn't aware of the event, New Designers is a huge deal! It is a pretty much a massive celebration to recognise the best up and coming designers.

One Year On (OYO) is a small area of the exhibition which is dedicated to designers and makers, 1-3 years into their practice and business. I am right at the beginning of that time frame, actually launching myself and my work, with the intent to sell, at OYO.

All OYO exhibitors have been selected from a large pool of applicants. It is such a wonderful feeling being asked to exhibit along side this year's designers and craftspeople.

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Monday of this week (08/05/17) OYO Class of 2017 had the chance to finally put faces to Instagram accounts and twitter feeds. It was overwhelming the the best way (for updates of all OYO exhibitors across twitter and Instagram see #OYOMakerSpotlight)

The day, known as Prep Day, took place in the exhibition hall itself, The Design and Business Centre in London. It was a weird one, at first I felt lost. Not being able to find the bathroom is never a good sign, but later on as I explored a little more I felt very nostalgic. Exhibiting in the same environment four years’ prior and feeling very proud of myself in how far I have come.

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The day was amazingly organised, as we walked into the conference room we were stickered up with name tags and handed out ND17 guide. Which included our complementary tickets, floor lay out and handy tips about exhibiting. A massive thank you to who put these together, especially for the key words/ phrases document.

Prep Day had a range of speakers, all of which held our attention solidly. We were very lucky to hear from an OYO expert, exhibiting herself two years before and fully developing her brand and design focus since then. Emily Skinner (of  Even James Design) was not only so lovely to listen to, she was honest and super relatable. I really enjoyed hearing her first hand account of the whole event.

After Emma, we heard a wonderful photographer Yeshen Venema . Interestingly I have loved the work of Yesehn for some time now, a devoted Instagram follower of his product photography. I have never been confident with photography,  especially now as my designs are becoming actual products. I want to do them justice but have always worried about my skills with the camera. I can not describe how evidently needed his talk was. The thing I loved most about Yesehn’s talk was how open he was about his work and his craft. Yeshen has something, a skill which is in very high demand yet shared the ins and outs of it with us. I took so many notes and actually can’t wait to give it ago myself.

Following Yesehn was Patricia van den Akker the Director of The Design Trust, now this is the talk I was waiting for and Patricia did not disappoint. Brutal honesty and just great advice. Direct and informative, the best kind. I am so excited to have the opportunity to experience two of Patricia’s webinars as part of OYO.

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After a short break and interesting talk by James Douglas from Four Colman Getty, we had the chance to hear from the main woman herself, curator of OYO Rheanna Lingham. Rheanna gave us a comprehensive run down of the event procedures and encouragement to be true to our brand when planning our stand design. It was really great to hear about past experiences and hopes/ expectations of the event itself.

I am mid way through planning my stand and will share the sketches as soon as it has been tweaked and approved.

More than anything, the prep day created a really nurturing community between the exhibitors and I am more excited than ever to be apart of it all!

C.

C R E A T I V I T Y

Creativity and Routine.

A whole week has past and I actually remembered to post again. They say things become habit when repeated regularly, it maybe a little early at blog post three to hope for this but that’s exactly what I am doing, hoping.

As mentioned in last weeks post and every conversation I have with myself, I am someone who plans obsessively. I am a planner. I think this comes from a need of routine and ritual. Sundays are my day of regularity. Sundays for me consist of planning the week ahead, family dinner and now blog posting.

I touched upon it briefly in the last post but the whole idea and motivation behind this blog is to actively share my work on a more regular basis. Setting myself this goal of sharing so publicly, I hope (again always hoping), will be the kick I need and potentially be an interesting read.

That being said, in this post I would like to share a little insight to my creative process. It has been a long and tedious journey to find my ‘method’ and to be honest it will continue to be. What you’re never told in any creative venture, is that no one can really show you how to design or how to make. They can only share the essential tools to do so.  *Exploration is experimental, as is creativity.*

Sketchbooking.

I realised pretty early on how much I need to document my progression, for me that has always been in a sketchbook. I am a sketchbook fiend. I fully need it, without a sketchbook or more importantly without using a sketchbook I am completely lost.

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My work explores many different areas of study, working in a sketchbook keeps a thread on consistency to my work, even if I can not see it myself. My method of working usually starts with some weird sense of needing to make or be creative. Inspiration can come from just about anywhere and even more so when you’re just doing rather than thinking.

Everything I create comes from the need to create a visual response to what I am researching. It would be fair to say that without the strong connection making has to my research my attention would drift.

My Creative Cycle.

My creative process starts and ends in the same place, in fact it never ends. It is a continuous cycle of exploration, excitement, a little self doubt with lots of trial and error along the way.

I use my trusty sketchbook for recording inspirational quotes, my feelings towards them, sketches as well as theory. I see it as a safe place for facts to meet my own words. Sketchbooks are super personal, there is no set way of using them. I must admit I tend to write a little more than most in my sketchbook, funny enough my hand writing seems to change completely. It becomes just as important and, funny enough, as visual as my doodles.

I never draw or read with a specific design/product in mind. I just play. There is no science to it, I just draw until something happens. My practice is a hybrid of hand rendered experimentation and designing digitally. Maybe the reason I adore my sketchbook so much is because I can be so free with it all before evolving my ideas into actual designs.

I absolutely adored hearing all the wonderful comments after I posted/launched my downloadable planners last week, even nicer I received a couple of photos of them actually in use. So thank you so much for that!

C.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

S O M E T H I N G N E W

NEW WORK YAY

I must admit, I felt a little weird writing the first post as it was all about me. How boring? However there is something a little more exciting (maybe just for me) and super new to share with you all today!

I wrote a little piece for the wonderful Print & Press not so long ago, about another one of my obsessions, planning. I am one of those terrible people who enjoys planning and planners more than actually doing.

That being said, after reading my first draft Print & Press extended their invitation and asked me to create a couple of printable planners. I cannot tell you how much I loved making them (these planners are still available to download for free here).

Ah, it was so much fun and the feedback was ever so lovely. Which led me to have a proper go. I have added (as of right now 30/4/17) a Downloads tab to my website where you can help yourself to my new fancy weekly planners.

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If you follow my work through platforms such as Instagram, you will see that this is nothing like my usual/current work. Which is why I added the downloads tab, I wanted/needed to keep it separate.

Those who are familiar with my very early work (university) will know I was very much a fan of graphic bold and colourful prints. That love is still there, just not as yet connected to my current body of work nor my research.

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I found myself experimenting with different prints to get the composition for these planners just right, some more successful as than other. The two collections available are products of this.

I decided to offer these as digital downloads only as they do not fit with my the collection I am working on. That being said  *exclusive* I do have physical planners printed awaiting my launch at New Designers this year alongside some really lovely new bits and bobs I am so excited to share.

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Have a look see, download, print out, scribble on it and please do let me know what you think!

C.

HELLO!

*First ever blog post alert*

Hello! I am Coral, this is my first ever non-blog-blog-post. (be kind people!)

So, as many of these things start, I will use this first post to introduce myself and why on earth I have decided to do this and why now?

Full disclosure, as much as I adore and follow many blogs myself, this is not a blogging blog. I realise that makes absolutely no sense. This is more of an attempt to create a space which allows (forces) me to engage with other like myself and share what I am doing, in real time.

SO, INTRO…

This is the toughest bit because I have always struggled with what label I attach to my work, but today I am going to go with maker.

I am a maker based in Guildford, England. My background is in textile design, specifically printed textiles. I have a Masters in Textile Design and am heavily involved in the research and practice of print.

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My practice involves a range of processes, I always carry around my scruffy, journal like sketchbook. This is where everything happens, from tiny pointless doodles to writing down my thoughts and quotes I must remember. I never tend to draw or write with a particular product or even outcome in mind. That comes later. It would be safe to say, I would be lost without my sketchbook. This may sound like an unhealthy dependency, I guess it is? But to me it is a safe creative place, it is where my hands try and articulate my thoughts, whether in words or motifs.

Something I do not mention enough is how important my research is to my practice. All my design work stems from my slight obsession with how we as humans interpret colour and how this impacts the design world.

Which is really where the idea of this blog came from, I find it a little harder than I should to connect the dots and explain to people what I do with my time. I would like to use this space to share lots of lovely snapshots of my sketchbook, my new work and everything in between. I guess the main purpose of this blog is to live more in what I am doing.

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The last point is very important to me personally and maybe the answer to, why now? My internal monologues deserve a space outside of my head. They deserve to be shared and essentially, developed.

I can feel the rambling starting now, but I promised myself to write how I speak opposed to the academic writing I have forced myself into in recent years, which means little editing, so I do apologise.

Which I feel is a great place to round up this little introduction. I have planned to post weekly, so will try my very best to stick to that.

C.