Friday, 8 October 2010

Saturday 9th Oct: A little bit of what you fancy - report by Emily Beard

'A little of what you fancy' is tucked neatly into the heart of Dalston, Kingsland Road.
It prides itself on being able to trace the history of everything that is served or used. It's this personal touch which makes the place so inviting, and an already certified hit (despite having only opened Friday 1st October).
There is a homemade and wholesome feel to the place. To complement this, the menu specialises in British food, with a hint of the new to keep diners on their toes.

A Little of what you Fancy : 464 Kingsland Road, London E8 4A

A little of what you fancy site
Review on Vogue

Friday 8th October: "Fashion Designer's Sketchbook" by Hwyell Davies

Here is a photo of "The Designer's Sketchbook" anthology open at the page of my entry that Hywel Davies asked me to contribute to. The book focuses on the preparatory scribbles and scrawls of 50+ international fashion designers. Here are some images I submitted for the publication and the full interview which has been edited in the final volume available now!

Q: How would you describe your design process?

A: I have a certain vision of something in my head and try to replicate it in 3D, firstly trying the materials I think most suitable. This can be a surface texture or a shape / silhouette. I start experimenting with prototypes and joining segments together to then fit onto the body. Happy accidents occur and I discover new techniques. I take photos of the pieces pinned to my mannequin to refine and outline the final design. I may then print out that photo and draw over of it to make notes.

Q: What part does research play in the process and can you describe your research process?

A: Research for me is very haphazard. I still do prop work and through those commissions, I come across inspiration. Being forced to source unusual materials and make strange objects sparks off ideas for my own line. The two channels of work interlink and coexist in a very fortuitous way in that respect.

Q: Does your design process involve photography / drawing / reading?

A: My design process is predominantly collecting materials and playing with them!
However I do like to treat myself to a week of going to exhibitions. I have to make a break from my commission work and focus on the collection. To make that divide and conscious switch, I try to dedicate a week to unadulterated tourist activities. I regularly miss out on what’s going on at museums and galleries as I’m always too busy, so this is my one chance to indulge and catch up. It doesn’t directly influence my work but is a vehicule to getting my creative juices flowing.

Q: What is the most enjoyable part of this process? And is there a part you don’t like or find difficult?

A: The most enjoyable part is the buzz from producing something you didn’t know you had in you. I think that something else channels through my body and I never know what is going to happen.
For the very same reason it can be terrifying. When I’m under a tight deadline I have to cross my fingers that my subconscious feels like being creative. Other wise it can be agonising, which makes the situation worse!

Q: What fuels your design process? Do you have sources of inspiration that you always re-visit?

A: I usually pick something that I have made in the past as a starting point. If I kept a little maquette from a previous project that was sidelined, then I’ll dig it out for a chance to rediscover it and push the boundaries of what it can do.
I’m also very instinctive and just follow feelings that I can’t exactly quantify. Its really fascinating seeing how your unconscious tallies up with all the other collections each season.

Q: What resources do you use as sources of inspiration – e.g. films / books

A: Its different every season. Last S/S “Dahlia Fantasia” I went to my family’s allotment and picked some pom pom shaped Dahlias. I dissected them on the kitchen table and cut a pattern from the petal to work out the formation of the bloom. I definitely refer to objects rather than 2D imagery. I’m always preoccupied with how things are constructed.
I also like to experiment with craft techniques and collect 2nd hand reference books. I love finding charity books shops and raiding the “hobbies” section.

Q: What materials are essential to your design process? (specific pens / certain paper etc)

A: The majority of the time, I mock- up tests with paper, as it’s my most familiar tool. Its cheap and throwaway, but can soon be transformed into a beautiful object. It’s great having left – over trial pieces to send in the post as fun mementos to friends.
Materials are very specific so each time I use something different; it dictates its own destiny. You can’t force something and I like the way a design can be governed purely by the fabrication.

Q: Does your design process always follow the same path? Is there a method to it?

A: It’s all in my fingers. Until they start twitching away, I only have a very basic outline of what I want to achieve. I am totally at the mercy of the magic in my hands. I personally can’t fathom other designers that sketch and pass on a 2D drawing. For me, it’s all about playing around with random things and then latterly seeing how it can be integrated with the body. I like to make miniature sculptures that just happen to have the end purpose to be worn. That’s what I love most because of the element of surprise.

Q: Do you experience a ‘eureka’ moment when you know a design is working?

A: Absolutely. Its very adrenalin driven. There is no accounting for when the divine inspiration will strike. But when it does, its very exciting and you don’t notice the clock ticking away because its so much fun.
I’m quite geeky and get very involved in detail and the order of how to get to the end result. The process of working out each stage and then identifying what needs to be done next, is very satisfying.
My main objective is to create surfaces and textures that have never been seen before. This involves layering up different labour intensive techniques. It’s a bit like cooking I guess. You can have a recipe to follow but it’s when you have an instinct to try adding unexpected elements, the result is refreshingly exquisite.

Q: Do you have a favourite place to work and what is the best environment for your creativity?

A: I pretty much live, breath, eat and occasionally (don’t) sleep at my studio. I’m lucky enough to share a beautiful space with dear friends and the novelty has never worn off. We are in an incredible old warehouse in Islington that is full with a myriad of different practitioners and artists. It’s a charity that has been here for 15 years and totally stuck in a time warp. This in itself is very inspiring to be part of, with neighbours in different crafts and the energy that radiates from the heritage of the building.
When your working for someone else, it seems crazy to spend so much time within the same 4 walls. But when it’s your own space it all makes sense!

Q: Is there a specific time of day that you are most creative?

A: I’m an early bird who likes to catch the worm. I’ve never identified with artists who thrive on late night creativity. I’m stagnated, exhausted and usually terror stricken by the end of the day and least likely to produce anything good. In the early morning when not much is moving, it feels like my very own special time and I have room to relax and create without the relentless attack of emails and phone calls.

Q: Do you have a team that is involved in the design process? If so what do they do?

A: Fundamentally I am a meglomaniac and I find it difficult to communicate my vision purely because I can’t really understand it myself. However, I do have a very utopian stance and allow my interns freedom to mess around and give quite unspecific direction. I want them to have fun and test their initiative and problem solving skills. It’s not always the best tactic for each individual, as most people need some degree of direction. But I am very easy going and a leopard cannot change its spots. It is a weird combination that I’m totally against ordering instruction but at the same time have very specific expectations of how things should look. I probably drive my team insane!

Q: When and how does your research and design work change from 2D to 3D

A: I am always 3D. I do not keep a sketchbook or do much drawing. I make experiments and pin them to a wall. It turns into a gigantic moodboard which I then edit. I like to be able to see everything out and wouldn’t want things hidden away stuck in pages.
When a collection is finished, I finally take the pieces down and put them in a box. I have an uncontrollable flaw of giving away presents and these boxes do fall prey to being raided for donations. For instance last collection I turned most of the samples into a wall hanging for my assistant Laura McDougall as a thanks for helping me out / being a legend.

Fashion Designers Sketchbook on amazon

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Thurs 7th Oct: "Last Drawings" by Christopher Nemeth

“LAST DRAWINGS” by CHRISTOPHER NEMETH is an exhibition as a part of the ongoing celebration of the life of designer and artist Christopher Nemeth 1959 - 2010. His daughters and friends have put together some of his "LAST DRAWINGS" - a few of the things he had been putting away in his secret drawers and folios. They are his life - obsessive, honest and original.
Amongst the framed pencil drawings hang some of his garments and accessories which you can get close to see in the intimate space of
Primitive Gallery
. A beautiful black and white portrait is displayed alongside a compilation of film clips that document times and places of Nemeth's surroundings / friends and collaborators. Here I have filmed a little snap of a Mark Lebon documentary reel featuring his son Tyrone and Judy Blame. (The photo at the bottom of this post is part of a page from an i-D shoot of a Christopher Nemeth cotton sellotape shirt smock styled by Judy - a snap I found this morning - not part of the exhibition! For furthur reading, click over to i-D online)


Primitive, Arch 313, Frederick Terrace LONDON E8 4EW

Thurs 7th Oct: Laura Fulmine @ Tina We Salute You

"Tina We Salute You" is a local coffee shop that acts as a gallery giving open interpretation of its walls to a different artist for intermittent stints. For the London Design Festival, Laura Fulmine has painted the interior of the cafe with graphic shapes inspired by South African Ndebele tribe wall murals. I always like to swing past the windows to have a peek at what's popped up and this is my favourite so far! Its a shame that its going to have to come down soon ............. this would be gorgeous to have in your house all the time, wouldn't it!?

47 King Henrys Walk, London, United Kingdom, N1 4NH, 0203 119 0047

Monday, 4 October 2010

Tues 5th Oct: Isamaya Ffrench for Christopher Shannon

You may have spotted this cosmic makeup from the runway of Christopher Shannon's S/S11 menswear show. Last year was tongue'n'cheek tan lines and this season the holiday theme has literally been applied to the face with scenic face paint landscapes - and I LOVE IT! Thanks to Chris's stylist John Colver I got in touch with the makeup artist Isamaya Ffrench to find out more..............

1) What is your background to being a makeup artist?

Ive always been interested in bodies. I love sport, boxing, climbing, dancing, anything physical and i also love art and creativity. For me, bodypainting is combining the two. Having a physical object that is always changing as you watch it move and allowing it to be dressed with something that fits so perfectly. Disguising the skin.
Makeup is fun, but for me, until recently it has its limits. This is why I love painting as it is a totally different medium and has a different application process.

2) What was the brief from Christopher for this show and how did you come up with the idea?

Christopher is amazing because he seems really trusting. I literally turned up at his studio two days before and he said, 'OK, I want something fun and vivid. Holiday themes'
and that was pretty much it. I had sent him a couple of pics from my phone the day before but nothing else.
He knows what he wants and is really strong with his visions for his collection so i knew it would work.

3) How long did it take to do each models look?

about 25 mins

4) What are you working on next?

I'm going to Tokyo to perform with Theo Adams company next week and have some ideas of my own that I'm going to try out with mixed media. Always on the body though.

5) What is your dream commission?

To be honest, Shannon's stuff really excites me. The fact that he designs sportswear really is my ideal because that's what I love.
I don't really have any dream commissions because in 3 years time, I'll probably be doing something different.. Ive got such a short attention span and I'm really quite impatient!

(Backstage snaps c/o of Isamaya)

Monday 4th Oct: Brighton Photo Fringe - Viviane Sassen

Flamboya & Moshi - Viviane Sassen

Monday 4th Oct: Brighton Photo Fringe - Oumar Ly

Podor 1963-1978 by Oumar Ly

Monday 4th Oct: Brighton Photo Fringe - Billy Monk

I had three clear winners of my favourite photographer's work that I saw in the rest of the Co-op building at Brighton Photo Fringe curated by Martin Parr. These are shots by Billy Monk from a nightclub in Cape Town where he worked in the 1960's........ the whole series is incredible, read more here.

Monday 4th Oct: Brighton Photo Fringe - Nothing Is In The Place

The yellow and black hazard tape was out and criss-crossed around the basement of the deserted Co-op building in Brighton for "Nothing Is In The Place". Jason Evans curated show of photos depicting desolate 90's Britain, has been installed in a perfect setting for Brighton Photo Fringe festival. It was great to get to see the exhibition as I originally covered the show in May when he took it to Krakow (see here). Jason has made it site specific with his trademark tape and a few other hidden extras to search out for the keen eye. Amy and I travelled down for the opening but the whole thing is up until 14th Nov so there is plenty of time to make yourself a weekend trip to the seaside for the festival.

As always, check out Jason's Daily Nice