Glasgow School of Art: Degree Show 2016

I was lucky enough to attend the preview of the Glasgow School of Art Degree Show last week, leaving with my head full of ideas and inspiration (wishing I was back at university myself with access to all that TIME and resource to freely CREATE and EXPERIMENT...) My favourite part? The textiles, of course.

I was really struck by Rosie Noon's collection; the sheer embroidery words that look like they've been scraped into skin. The details are texturally intricate with so many elements to draw the eye.

I wanted to know more about the themes surrounding this work, and luckily, Rosie details her starting point and inspiration:

My graduate embroidery collection was instigated by the discovery of a photograph album documenting the mysterious life of 'Silvia'. Inspired by the repetition of women in mid-century dresses standing against blurred, floral backgrounds, contrasted by handwritten annotation of places and dates, I looked to re-appropriate these qualities in creating a new story through collage aesthetic in drawing and textile processes.

This connection to the past through a single photograph is catnip to a writer, textile lover and diarist like myself! Gorgeous work.

Degree Show - Textiles - GSANext I was enthralled by the beautiful tactile surface elements in Penny Hewitt's work. She describes her collection:

Capturing the repetition and structures within organic form, closely exploring irregular repeat patterns.

The colours made me think of the fashion collection in my fictional novel, and I wanted to take these samples home and pin them to my wall!

Degree Show - Textiles - GSA

Degree Show - Textiles - GSAI couldn't help but see a buoyant jellyfish suspended here in Niamh Brannan's display, the clash of colours so riotous, playful, fun and daring.

Her collection puts me in mind of Mary Katrantzou prints in tactile form. Or a statement window display in a European capital? KaDeWe in Berlin springs to mind; a slew of designer handbags in matching jellyfish attire.

Degree Show - Textiles - GSA Degree Show - Textiles - GSAThese sponge-fronds attached to plastic tubing put me in mind of medical textiles and the innovations in that area. They would certainly make for 'fashionable arteries'!

Degree Show - Textiles - GSAThe crisp geometric folds and stitches in paper, fabric, leather and digitally cut vinyl designed by Rochelle McGuinness really caught my eye, their application mocked up in lampshades and reminding me of some of the Cubist ceramics for sale at the Kubista museum in Prague.

Degree Show - Textiles - GSAThe method of display that Eliza Glanville uses is so fresh, funky and playful. I love her collage work and sketches and how both these elements feed into her textile designs.

Degree Show - Textiles - GSAMore faces. I'm enthralled by faces! Katie O'Brien describes her collection:

Tufting, embellishment and fraying techniques are explored within distinctive arrangements of colour, composition and contrasting materials...

Degree Show - Textiles - GSAA knitted wire dress - 'entanglement' - by Kirsty Lamont:

Entanglement aims to challenge the perceived dichotomy between island and city life. Rather than seeing city life and Island life as two sides of a dichotomy I suggest that they are in fact far more interlinked than people suppose, and that they exist as an ‘entanglement’. Rather than viewing knitting in two halves with ‘traditional’ island knitwear on one side and ‘modern’ textile technology knitwear on the other, my aim is to create something more akin to a gradient where the two sides become enmeshed together in the centre.

Meanwhile, the intricate embroidery of Maja Bjork's collection is both fun and compelling.

Degree Show - Textiles - GSAThese kinds of textiles really excite me as I imagine them 50ft tall and billowing from the atriums of important buildings; tongue-in-cheek depictions perhaps of the people who reside inside?

After wandering the textile displays I ventured upstairs, passing gorgeous, architectural jewellery and spoons cast in silver made to resemble twigs. I spent the rest of the night exhausting my eyes, pointing at things, my mind whirring.

It was "an attempt to articulate" (super cool title).


20160616_191216Glasgow School of Art (GSA)  is indeed a hotbed of innovation. The Degree Show did not disappoint.

TinkerSketch Drawing Challenge - February 2015

TinkerSketch Day 2 drawing: Mirror

I've just started a month-long sketchbook challenge called TinkerSketch.

TinkerSketch is a daily sketchbook practice that invites you to experiment and play with ideas and materials in a low-stress, fun, and mind-stretching way.

It's really working to add a few minutes of doodling/drawing to my day. There are 28 inspiring prompts to draw for the month of February.

Yesterday was 'stripes'. I responded by drawing simple undulating lines in turquoise blue and purple, reminiscent of the sea (though I didn't plan that or know what it would be when I started!)

Today is 'mirror'. I went very literal and sketched an outline of the little hand mirror I keep in my desk tidy. It feels very 'through the looking glass';  like something from a fairytale.

It's not too late to join in and experience your own super-creative February. Seeing how others interpret each prompt is so interesting.

Find out all the details here, and follow my progress on Instagram here.

Meanwhile, check out my first watercolour doodle in decades, rapidly scribbled out before Christmas. Drawing is addictive!

Collage Club: SEASONS

The excitement of the 'SEASONS' is being able to immerse yourself in the abundance of nature's wardrobe. The colours, the patterns, the scents...

My first thoughts on the theme of SEASONS:

Adventures, blossom, sunsets, blackberries, time marching on, feathers, leaves, colours, sand, avenues, paths, routes through the snow, snowflakes falling for the first time, fires in the heart and in the sky, picnics, woodlands, migrating birds, and as a thread flowing through it all, photographing and documenting the passing of the SEASONS.

Which is what led me to: A Girl for All Seasons. I'm a girl for all seasons!*
SEASONS collage

My interpretation of this theme is an eclectic and overlaid prickly kaleidoscope of patterns and prints created using photographs I took using my own Diana Flash Lomography camera (like the girl in the collage), images from magazines (including some Marimekko prints sourced while visiting Helsinki in July), a colourful map created for Glasgow's Merchant City festival, and a feather and a crushed kernel which I picked up on a recent walk. I loved the ombre effect of the feather and the butterfly shape of the kernel.

I LOVE living in Scotland and enjoying the different elements of each passing season, each quarter of the year that has its own tone and feel.

The joy of spring buds, daffodils, lighter nights and that magic in the air of renewal and possibility, the firecracker sizzle and sunsets of late summer, the possibility of picnics and the gradual shift into autumn(*autumn, autumn, always autumn), and the 'festivals' that take us into winter: Halloween, Bonfire Night, Christmas. Darkness, being cosy, crafting, hibernation, snow patterns on windows. They all have their good and their bad and I enjoy being able to celebrate them all.

You can also view the Facebook group page.