Joules x New Designers
Last week the team at Joules invited myself and my fellow blogging buddy Nancy to afternoon tea and a chance to explore New Designers. New Designers is one of the most important design events in the UK, offering design graduates a chance to showcase their work to the creative industries. For the first time Joules sponsored an award at New Designers; one lucky graduate won a cash price, a paid placement and a paid assignment to create a mural for their pop up store in Wells-next-the-Sea. Joules were looking for someone with a good understanding of colour and print, with eye catching, fresh designs that also have comerical apeal.
The winner was Chloe Hills, who studied Textile Design for Fashion & Interiors at Bath Spa University. Her winning piece was designed to create the feel of an overgrown jungle, with prints created large scale to maximise impact. I got in touch with her to ask her a few questions about what inspires her and how she created her final piece.
The theme of my hand painted wallpaper piece was Dark Florals & Foliage, giving it a slight twist by adding a pop of accent colour, to this very moody theme and creating over-sized imagery. What inspired my final wallpaper, 'Love-Lies Bleeding' was my collections of floral imagery that I gathered over the summer from RHS Hampton Court Flower Show, RHS Wisley Gardens, and from trips up and down the country visiting many gardens. I wanted to combine a contemporary feel with a very traditional theme using abstract shapes and a sophisticated colour palette.
I decided to hand paint this piece because I wanted to be more hands on with the design as a final piece and my aim throughout was to make an immediate visual impact which I felt the hand painted finish would do, as sometimes a design can get lost within a digital print for example. For me , It was also about getting the colours right which was something that I felt I had control over which was key. There is something unique too about it being hand painted, as it is it a one off piece. Plus it is exciting and I enjoyed doing it!
I am always on the look out for colour combinations. Colour inspires me greatly especially unusual and unexpected combinations when it comes to a new and exciting project the first thing I do it seek out on trend colour schemes. I like to revitalise a palette and think carefully about my proportions of colour. Inspiration comes from plants, gardens, natural sources, scenery and also architectural features from my surroundings.
What really surprised me about the exhibition was the high quality of work and the professional presentation. I was worried I was going to see the same old things again (I think we've all had enough of pineapples prints) I was really impressed by the fresh approach and unique ideas of the students. Here are a few of my favourite trends.
You could see the influence of Scandinavian minimalism in some student's work, with the use of cool greys and interesting textures. These textiles are perfect for modern interiors. Jane Woolley creates beautifully tactile throws and cushions using natural fibres. Chloe Scott uses lino printing to create her cushions and textiles, and Isabel Cross brings her limited colour palette to life with touches of gold.
Painterly detail was a huge trend, whether it was loose water colours or detailed gouache paintings. Tana Pither's stunning work is painted with gouache and inspired by botanical illustration and old photos of the East African coast. She has had placements at House of Hackney and Timorous Beasties, and you can feel the influence of that in her work.
Natalie Percival creates beautiful textiles with her loose watercolours, inspired by the rugged scenery of Norway and the rolling hills of Surrey. Matthew Hodges work is simply delightful, inspired by the flora and fauna of British summer time and a love of colours.
Charlotte Atkins bought a fresh approach to tropical prints, with bold brushstrokes, a monochrome palette and sheer fabrics.
Nadia Aggoun's work mixes the geometric with the botanicals in soft pastels shades. Her work reminds me of the patterns found in geometric tiles.
Isla Rustrick and Lizzie Porter stood out for their quirky details and hand drawn approach to textile design. Isla Rustrick was inspired by OAP style icon Iris Apfel and her work involves screen printed illustrations and knitted details. Lizzie Porter's work also includes niave hand drawn details and embellishment.
The thing that really surprised was the lack of online presence these graduates had. Often the graduates didn't have a website at all, or they had a free website that was difficult to use. New Designers is such a wonderful platform, and it's a shame that the online presence of these graduates didn't match up to their incredible work. You don't need anything complicated, it's so important that the website is easy to use, easy to find, and people can contact you. If not you don't know what work you might be missing out on. You can read some of my top tips for graduates here.
This post was created in association with Joules, but all words and thoughts are my own.