I have several Art Workshops coming up and have been running low on my reserves of treats for the students. I usually offer stickers, badges or certificates, or a combination of the three to participants and they are always well received. I also like the opportunity to do a little hobby designing, creating these products, every once in a while. This time, I was pleased to rediscover 'Awesome Merchandise', an online printer, ideal for the designer working on a range of merchandise and wanting small runs of printed items. The downloadable layered Photoshop documents make the design process a breeze as all dimensions are worked out for you, inclusive of bleed and trim marks and the resulting high res PDF file is simply uploaded to the site at time of payment or can be emailed shortly afterwards to a very helpful member of the print team. My stickers arrived within days and my students will be very happy I'm sure. Another job ticked off the new year list... :-)
A New year is such an exciting time as it means a brand new term and new projects to bring to light. This year is no different and I have lots of plans for 2016. As you'll know if you've read much of this blog, the majority of the Art & Design workshops I run are for young adults with learning disabilities. This is such a joy and privilege, yet it also brings its own set of challenges. On the one hand, all the sessions must be fun, upbeat and stimulating, in order to remain motivational and encouraging for the participants. On the other, one of our targets at Post19 is to create an environment where our young people learn actual skills and develop talents in areas that will practically benefit them in the future when they can cross over into work or training outside of the base. Marrying up those two requirements can be tricky! The real life design process can be rather long winded, and is often tedious - as any professional Graphic Designer is all too aware! With this in mind, this year many of my Graphic Design projects will be steering towards the production of materials that we can design and create but can also manufacture and produce on a larger scale. We have tested this in the past with the design and production of an annual calendar and set of Christmas cards, as well as branding and packaging giftware ceramics produced by our potters. This year we will embrace the spirit of the entrepreneur and will be kickstarting with an ongoing range of greetings cards that we will be working on in class, and printing at the base, ready for sale in our online shop. It opens exciting possibilities for the young adults involved and I do hope we'll go from strength to strength with the range expanding over time and growing, and the designers confidence and expertise growing alongside it... :-)
t felt like old times, just recently when I was invited to spend some time back at the Primary School I used to volunteer in when I first became interested in running Art and Design Workshops. I had a fabulous morning with year 5 creating colourful chameleons, whilst they inadvertently learned techniques of shading and creating light and dark using various media, as well as experimenting with new techniques such as adding salt to their watercolours. A lovely, fun session was had by all and some beautiful work was produced. Well done to all the brilliant young artists involved! It was a privilege as ever, to witness the joy and enthusiasm young children demonstrate when allowed to be truly creative. (And messy!)
Wishing all my clients, past, present and future, a very happy and successful New Year! 2015 was such a busy year, filled with new challenges and exciting projects. I can only hope for even more of the same for 2016 and am looking forward with enthusiasm as to what we will create in the next 12 months.
Last year saw continued growth and development, of my workshops for young people with learning disabilities. I was delighted to increase the number of regular weekly workshops to include 'Quiet Art' sessions for those who were unable to participate in our usual, more boisterous sessions, and we have had remarkable success with many new artisists now able to join in and really fulfil their potential. It has been a delight to work with them and I'm looking forward to welcoming new faces over the coming year. The Graphic Design workshops have been so successful throughout our first year that we are now ready to put our learnt skills into practise and this year will see us producing a range of new designed products for the POST19 online shop, including a range of Greetings Cards and our very own book! Watch this space for more details...
Wallop continued a happy alliance with Alton College throughout 2015, producing a range of design materials from educational and promotional flyers, posters, billboards and banners through to events marketing and invites. The college have gone from strength to strength of late, achieving a top ranking in the prestigious Sunday Times list of best UK Colleges and it's a pleasure to be able to play a tiny part in their continuing success story.
Aside from education, Wallop has enjoyed a range of diverse bespoke graphic design projects this year, from marketing and promotional materials for local events, to branding and logo design for fantastic new and emerging businesses to creating Cover designs and internal illustrations for new authors publishing their books. It has been a whirlwind and a pleasure and I've met so many creative and lovely folk along the way, who I do hope will continue to be a part of Wallop's future.
During 2015 I was lucky to have had the opportunity to learn some new skills to add to the Wallop 'bow strings' - metalsmithing and learning to create in 3D was a huge learning curve but one which will hopefully open many new doors and I will be indulging in again in the future. (Blow torches are fun! Who Knew?) I'll be adding to my materials list this year, having booked myself onto courses to work with glass this time around. From stained glass panels through to fused glass with silver clay... a material I have been interested in working with for such a long time, its ridiculous that I've not got round to it yet. But new years tend to give one that kick up the butt to go for it, so here we go! The future is bright and looks.... transparent... :-)
SO. Here's to another happy, successful, creative year and a big THANKYOU to everybody who has joined me along the way over the last 12 months
Its half term again and as a family made up of of arty types including tweens, teens and aging graphic designers, living within an easy commute of the Big Smoke, we tend to habitually gravitate towards London looking for downtime adventures and our fix of cool stuff. This week has been no different, however I was particularly pleased to discover this time, the delights of some fantastic freebies to fill our entire day and leave us grinning from ear to ear.
Our day involved free transportation. Comfy boots a necessity. We began amongst the street art and funky wall mounted moose heads of hipster Bermondsey coffee shops and headed up to the Thames and Tower Bridge, simply because we love the entire stretch of The Southbank and in Autumn it's looking particularly fantastic. Crossing the bridge on foot, of course, is always a thrill however many times you happen to have done it... and there began our day searching out Art on the 2015 Sculpture In The City Trail.
Now in its fifth year, Sculpture in the City aims to enhance our urban environment with cutting-edge contemporary works from leading artists sited in both busy thoroughfares and quieter, green spaces and is a public exhibition including pieces from fantastic artists as: Ekkehard Altenburger, Bruce Beasley, Adam Chodzko, Laura Ford, Damien Hirst, Shan Hur, Folkert de Jong, Sigalit Landau, Kris Martin, Keita Miyazaki, Tomoaki Suzuki, Xavier Veilhan, and Ai Weiwei. A map of all the sculptures locations can be found here.
If you have only time for one or two, Our favourites were most definitely Forever by Ai Weiwei and the bizarre and huge Charity by Damien Hirst probably helped a little by their resplendent location so close to the inspiring Gherkin building. A very good spot to sit and ponder, photograph (and eat sarnies)
As fabulous as Sculpture trails are, the main event of our freebie itinerary turned out to be calling in to The Sky Garden, otherwise known as the top of the Walkie Talkie Building, or 20 Fenchurch Street. Access to the Sky Garden is free of charge but only a limited number of tickets are available each day so you must book ahead. Its worth it though for magnificent views across the whole of London while enjoying coffee amongst trees and shrubbery... in the sky! Trees! In the Sky I say! What a thing.
An hour slot is all you get, but what an hour it is. You can leave with a brain full of scenery that you will remember for a long time. Handily also, is the location from which you can continue a walk, passing by The Bank of England and St Pauls Cathedral, (should you not have had enough of London's awesomeness already), which leads perfectly to the Wobbly bridge and back across the river to finish our day at our favourite London destination. Time for tea. At the bar at the top of the TATE modern, looking out at the city before looking merrily inwards again at the art.
A truly fantastic arty day. All for freeeeeee. And awaiting you right now. Enjoy.
I was pretty sad this week to 'graduate' from the metalsmithing course I have been enjoying for the last 6 months. It's been a lot of fun spending evenings with such creative people, learning new skills. I have become quite adept at wielding a blowtorch and sawing metal - even in straight lines! But now, equipped with my box of begged, borrowed, brought and inherited, tools and a head crammed with words of wisdom, I'm pleased to be able to add the basics of working with silver and copper to my 'artists skills' and am excited to be planning several new sketching with silver projects at home. Luckily I have the support of the fabulous teachers at 318 Ceramics, who run the evening courses and I hope will not mind my popping back every now and again and asking lots of questions, as I'm sure all metalsmiths out there would agree, a 6 months stint of tuition is just dipping a toe into the possibilities of working with these fantastic and adaptable materials.
I'll admit to having the first tugs of a mid life crisis just recently. A sudden urge to learn new stuff, do new things, be spontaneous.... before it's too late and I won't be able to learn anything new ever again because my brain is far too befuddled after years of deadlines and the demands of my small people... So my mid life crisis has begun and I'm really quite enjoying it. I discovered, through several freelance projects that I was involved in, 318 Ceramics in Farnham. 318 is a centre of creativity, an organisation which promotes excellence in not only ceramics, but also other arts, by providing education and support to all makers from complete beginners through to professional designer makers. I indulged a whim to revisit silk screen printing at first and throughly enjoyed a weekly course learning new techniques and revisiting the old faded ones that I'd first tried at college years ago... and as well as spending several enjoyable mornings with like minded people and producing some pleasing pieces, more importantly it wet my appetite for trying new skills.
Metalsmithing is not something I'd have considered necessarily beforehand. It looked complicated. It looked hard. It looked.... potentially burney and painful. But it was an evening course 318 were offering and it also looked intriguing. So I signed up. Now here I am, a few months down the line.... blowtorch in hand, apron pockets filled with scraps of metal and a head filled with ideas, ready to doodle in copper and sketch with silver... I'm thoroughly enjoying working in a completely alien material well out of my comfort zone and I would thoroughly recommend trying it. I still think metalsmithing is hard. I still think it's complicated. After several dodgy soldering incidents I also know it can indeed be quite burney and painful .... especially if you're as clumsy as I am. I am slightly addicted, regardless.
I am under no illusions of becoming a master jeweller, or anything close! I am fascinated in how silver can be used as a drawing material, just like any other and I have plans afoot to create my own range of 'wearable art' . Watch this space...
As the run up to Christmas gets so very frantic, we, at the POST19 Art Workshops decided to have a bit of fun and enjoy creating some personalised Christmas gifts for friends and family. We started by painting our own small wooden frames in bright, funky colours, and then filled the frames with our own Self Portraits, created in Acrylics in the style of the wonderful Julian Opie: An artist who we have studied in the past and whom the students are very fond due to his simple and effective style of painting. The Christmassy twist was that the portraits all featured cozy Christmas jumpers. Well done artists! The results are fantastic! Happy Christmas to you all and see you again in the New Year for a fun new term of being creative!