As you may be opening the window to this blog post on 25th Dec, you may also have just opened the last door to your advent calender as December has done its annual deed and landed on Christmas day already! Whilst different sites have dreamt up their own online versions of the traditional pop-up cardboard calender, District MTV have compiled a daily gift guide via an epic still-life story. To set the scene for the suggestions, set designer Gemma Tickle took on the mammoth task of engineering 25 stand alone stories for each product shot, collaborating with photographer Thomas Brown. Here are some of those props now returned to her studio and nestling in amongst her organised shelves of archive pieces and future plans in prototype. I visited her Dalston hub to get a hands on grasp of her acute craftsmanship and precise skill in what is otherwise a fairly "winging-it" vocation. Coming from a props discipline background myself I can appreciate exactly how much work goes into the role of art department and it looks like Tickle is taking it seriously despite the surname which may suggest otherwise! From detailed sketch-books of brainstorming story-boards to the beautifully smooth and sanded finished articles that could be products in their own right ..................... for instance these lipstick building blocks carved for a recent accessories editorial shoot could equally be ornaments that have been thru the mill of a product design process. The lipstick motif also appears as part of her secondary sideline Electric Stripes - a capsule collection of neon art including this AMAZING spectrum cloud which hangs above her desk........... adjacent to a rainbow-maker in her window which casts real specturms out around the room. Experimentation in combing light rays as actual set design appeared in an abstract graphic shoot with Leandro Farina for 125 Magazine (see Polaroid tests) where the pair explored the title of "Time" in the visual language of science fiction films and illustration from the 70's & 80's. Another shoot with Farina for the cover of Viewpoint magazine's "Money" issue found Tickle gilding bricks in gold - seen here now as possible paper weights or blinged up book ends at her studio. The collection of pencils are left over from making an appearance in the Giles advent day 10 on District MTV, whilst the ping-pong ball totem took place in the Sunspel scenario from the previous day. Head over to the site to open the final virtual door of Nicka banana earrings which neatly brings me back round to the first time Tickle's work appeared on my blog in 2009, when WAH! Nails opened its doors with a window display of her banana props!
Keep up to date with her shoots as they are published on her site here.