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Here we'll keep you up to date with news of our design activities - but also with details of exhibitions, events and artists who we're being inspired by.

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Barnett Freedman January 19 2017

Posted by Angie Lewin

I'm currently curating an exhibition which will open at Winchester Discovery Centre on Saturday 11th March 2017. A Printmaker's Journey will then tour Hampshire until the end of November.

The exhibition will include work selected from a wide range of disciplines and periods which have in some way influenced my work as a printmaker and designer. Paintings, textiles, prints, posters and ceramics by artists and designers including Eric Ravilious, Edward Bawden, Alan Reynolds and Paul Morrison will be displayed alongside examples of my own work.

Full details of the exhibition will be announced soon - do subscribe to my newsletter if you'd like to find out more.

I'll be including two works by artist and illustrator Barnett Freedman, a contemporary of Bawden and Ravilious.

Over at Spitalfields Life, author David Buckman takes a look at the work of this prolific artist and illustrator...

"Barnett Freedman is among my top candidates for a blue plaque, as one of the most distinguished British artists to emerge from the East End. There was a 2006 campaign to get him one in at 25 Stanhope St, off the Euston Rd, where he lived early in his career, but English Heritage rejected him, along with four others as of “insufficient stature or historical significance” – an unjust decision exposed by the Camden New Journal. The artist and Camden resident David Gentleman was one among many who supported the plaque, writing “He was a very good and original artist whose work deserves to be remembered. He influenced me in the sense of his meticulous workmanship. He was a real master of it.” Read David Buckman's article in full

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A portrait of Barnett Freedman

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Advertisement for Shell, 1951.

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Barnett Freedman’s ‘Claudia’ typeface.

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Lithographs for ‘Oliver Twist,’ published by the Heritage Press in New York, 1939.

Barnett Freedman works courtesy Special Collections, Manchester Metropolitan University

Katy Hackney September 22 2016

We're delighted that jeweller Katy Hackney is taking part in our current Editions & Objects exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park which runs until the end of October 2016.

For the exhibition Katy has created a limited edition of ten box wood pendants, each individually decorated and numbered.

Born in Dundee and now based in London, Katy Hackney received a BA at Edinburgh College of Art and a MA at the Royal College of Art, London. Continues below...

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Hackney’s practice is driven by the materials she’s excited by. Materials she uses include woods, plastics, precious and non-precious metals, found objects, paint, formica and enamel. Her current influences include vintage toys and folk art.

Her work can be seen in the permanent collections of the London Crafts Council, Montreal Museum of Decorative Arts, Royal Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, and the Ulster Museum, National Museum of Northern Ireland.

We took the opportunity to find our a little more about Katy's work and current activities...

Can you tell us how to came to designing wearable works of art?

When I left the RCA I set up in business and designed and made more commercial production silver jewellery which sold well but it was tedious work.

Then I discovered cellulose acetate which spectacle frames are made from, began to experiment with it, and my work became larger and more colourful and I became interested in finding other materials to use, such as wood, Formica, other found plastics… colour! Continues below...

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You also teach at Central St Martins; how does this impact on the type of work you create?

I don’t notice that it does, something must seeping in?

It does keep me up to date with what is going on the jewellery world as we have a great programme of lectures.

I enjoy passing on knowledge and working with students from all over the world, and working with an amazing team.

What are your major influences?

Everyday things, I often get an idea from something I see in the street on my journey to college or on holiday or trips abroad.

I use my Instagram account as my visual diary, I often go back to it and print out photos of textures, colour combinations, shapes.

Working on lots of other things also feeds in to my work.

I love old toys and objects with a 'story' showing in their wear and tear - doors, tiles, tools and peeling paint.

What is a typical day for you?

My days are fairly varied. As well as teaching I work with knitwear designer Jo Gordon as colour consultant, helping to design her collections each year.

I also work as a picture researcher for costume in film, a job I started a few years ago and love. It definitely informs my work and I am learning something new all of the time.

Most recently I was the costume researcher on Suffragette and I’m working on other projects that are in production.

What is your preferred material of use?

At the moment it's wood.

You use an incredible array of materials, how do you decide which to use in a project?

I have boxes of bits that I gather along the way from all over and I work in a 'collage' sort of way with lots of pieces on my work table. I’ll move these around and arrange, cut then rearrange until I get something I like.

It gets really messy and I have to have a big clear up then I begin all over again! Continues below...

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You work as a colour advisor to Jo Gordon Knitwear; how does this impact on your work?

It definitely does as we do research on different ways and I end up looking at textiles which I didn't really before.

The costume research really influences and helps in both jewellery and design work for Jo. I'm currently researching clothing in 1950 to 60s for a job. The colours and patterns of dresses then were amazing. This will all feed into my brain and re-emerge somehow in my jewellery!

What is your favourite colour?

Yellow

What can you see from your studio today?

Usually it my neighbour’s wall!

But today from my balcony in Barcelona I can see a narrow street filled with little balconies covered in colourful washing, a man delivering a cooker and a tiny barking dog having a pee.

What single tool would you consider essential to your work?

My jeweller’s saw and my camera (usually on my phone).

What are you working on now and what is coming up next?

The staff of St. Martins are having a show COUNTERCURRENT in Arthur Beales, Yacht Chandlers in Shaftesbury Avenue. My response to the shop was to collect, borrow and steal Nautical themed jewellery and fill a little cabinet with it, we installed in amongst the shops stock... I'm also researching for a costume project. Teaching will begin in October and so will working with Jo.

Editions & Objects at Yorkshire Sculpture Park continues until Sunday 30th October 2016. Find out more about the exhibition or take a look at all the available works online including Katy Hackney's box wood pendant.

Portrait photography by Jenny Lewis.

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Local Heroes August 11 2016

If you're visiting Edinburgh during August and are flying in or out of the airport, do look out for the Local Heroes pop-up exhibition and shop.

Curated by Dr Stacey Hunter, the project's nine designers were asked to ‘reimagine the souvenir’ and produce a unique travel-themed design object. Running from 1–31 August 2016 in partnership with Creative Edinburgh and Creative Dundee it celebrates Scotland’s contemporary designers who embrace colour, pattern and innovative techniques and materials.

The designers involved in the project include our friends Karen Mabon and Tom Pigeon (Karen is also taking part in our current Editions & Objects exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park).

Speaking ahead of the opening of the exhibition curator and Local Heroes Director Dr Stacey Hunter said:

“For many passengers Local Heroes will be their first impression of Scotland and will also form part of a fond farewell. Design is one of the most accessible expressions of 21st century creativity and I’m so excited that we can present a snapshot of Scotland’s colourful and confident design scene at such a unique location. We are surrounded by designers working on the most amazing projects - they trade, collaborate and work internationally. So where is it? Why can’t we see it?! I wanted to produce an ambitious project that showed Scottish design through the lens I looked through. It was also important to me to show Scottish designers that they are noticed and appreciated - and that’s where the name Local Heroes came from.”

Find out more about the Local Heroes project via their websiteFacebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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The Local Heroes pop-up exhibition and shop at Edinburgh Airport (photo: Ross Fraser McLean / StudioRoRo)

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Designer Karen Mabon (photo: Future Positive Studio)

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Karen Mabon's umbrella/sunshade (photo: Stuart McClay Photography)

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Karen Mabon working in the studio (photo: Future Positive Studio)

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Tom Pigeon's neckpiece (photo: Stuart McClay Photography)

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Tom Pigeon's studio (photo: Future Positive Studio)

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Gabriella Marcella's Tropical beach towels

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Gabriella Marcella in the studio (photo: Future Positive Studio)

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The Local Heroes pop-up exhibition and shop at Edinburgh Airport (photo: Ross Fraser McLean / StudioRoRo)

Score Tae The Toor May 22 2016

Many thanks to everyone who joined us at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop yesterday for the launch of Score Tae The Toor, a handmade book and remix CD inspired by the Concrete Antenna sound installation at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop created by Simon Kirby, Tommy Perman and Rob St John and developed from our previous Concrete Antenna 12" vinyl/print package.

The trio gave a set of musicians access to their sound archive, tower instruments and compositions, and asked them to re-imagine the sited material created for the installation. Seven writers were asked to write pieces inspired by the tower and the installation, with pieces covering architecture, memory, archives, urban ecology and public art, written as essays, poetry and morse code.

Named after a phrase used by fishermen in the Firth of Forth using tall buildings on the Edinburgh skyline to orientate their sailing, Score Tae The Toor is a limited edition publication printed using a variety of techniques including risography, lithography, letterpress and computer controlled pen and knife plotters. Each cover features a unique numbered frame from an animation created by Tommy Perman.

Find out more and order a copy of Score Tae The Toor via our Random Spectacular website

Many thanks to Andy Catlin for his photos of the opening event. You can view more via Andy's Facebook page.

Score Tae The Toor

Score Tae The Toor

Score Tae The Toor

Score Tae The Toor

Score Tae The Toor

Score Tae The Toor

Score Tae The Toor     Score Tae The Toor

Jonny Hannah’s Main Street December 30 2015

If you've yet to visit, we'd recommend you head up/down/across to Jonny Hannah's Main Street exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park which runs until 28th February 2016.

Jonny has transformed the YSP Visitor Centre, creating three pop-up shops made entirely from his 2D and 3D artworks.

The exhibition – a tribute to high streets of the past, lined with independent retailers stocking an assortment of curiosities – features a collection of new linocuts, screenprints, and paintings. Incorporating strong colours and typography, and inspired by Hannah’s love of jazz music, the works are reminiscent of 1940s shop signs and concert posters. The exhibition also features Heavy Wool Products Come to McVouty’s – a limited edition screenprint printed at The Penfold Press in Selby, created exclusively for YSP – together with a small hand-painted and printed edition of unique wooden ukuleles. View a selection of the works exhibited

Find out more via the YSP website - you might also like to take this expert's guide to the exhibition or book a ticket for The Darktown Valentine's Cabaret.

Jonny Hannah at YSP

Jonny Hannah at YSP

Jonny Hannah at YSP

Jonny Hannah at YSP

Jonny Hannah at YSP

Jonny Hannah at YSP

Jonny Hannah at YSP

Jonny Hannah at YSP

Jonny Hannah at YSP December 22 2015

Here's a great little film featuring Jonny Hannah talking about his current exhibition Main Street at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

The exhibition features three pop-up shops made entirely from the artist’s 2D and 3D artworks, all of which are available to buy. Navigate Main Street using Hannah’s traditional hand-painted signs suspended above the YSP Centre concourse; natter with the owner of the Record Store; and nip to The Hand and Heart junk shop to pick up anything your heart desires!

You'll even spy Jonny's wallpaper for St Jude's, The Darktown Billets-Doux.

The exhibition runs until the end of February 2016 at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield WF4 4LG. Find out more

Edward Bawden at Christmas December 20 2015

Edward Bawden worked with London luxury provisions store Fortnum & Mason for a number years either side of World War II, designing many catalogues, menu cards, brochures and other ephemera.

Bawden's work for the store was captured in Mainstone Press' wonderful Entertaining À La Carte. Unfortunately this limited edition book sold out some time ago but copies can still be found online from time to time.

Here are a few seasonal images of Bawden's work for Fortnum & Mason.

Edward Bawden for Fortnum and Mason

Edward Bawden for Fortnum and Mason

Edward Bawden for Fortnum and Mason

Edward Bawden for Fortnum and Mason

Edward Bawden for Fortnum and Mason

Type December 12 2015

We've been busy getting our letterpress studio back up and running, cleaning type and getting ourselves organised. We'll keep you posted with our progress. Here's some Signal and Gill Sans Condensed wood type, along with some freshly cast Scotch Roman from our friends at Hand & Eye.

Wooden type - Signal

Wooden type - Gill Sans Condensed

Scotch Roman