Two whistlestop days in London were a shot in the arm of inspiration and all things pattern. Being down in the wilds of Cornwall is fantastic but sometimes 'if adventures do not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad' as Jane Austen would say.
So, an early train took me to Waterloo and I headed straight to the Design Museum to see a wonderful new show there, Breathing Colour by Hella Jongerius, which looks at how colour behaves by exploring shapes, materials, shadows and reflections. Somehow quiet and intense at the same time this whole installation presents a visual feast of colour, form and pattern. I'd recommend a visit...it runs until September 24th.
That evening I headed over to the Pill Box in Bethnal Green, where Adam Crick of HER Studio London was hosting the London Pattern Social meet up. Adam was a warm, enthusiastic and amazingly friendly host and made the 30+ of us who came along feel incredibly welcome. Surface pattern designers at every career stage spent the evening talking all things pattern and sharing knowledge, tips and ideas with each other. I was slightly nervous to turn up on my own and felt like a complete rookie as I am just in the process of starting up my surface pattern business. I needn't have worried though as everyone was really open and encouraging. Bex Whattler, one of the founders of HER Studio London, was really great and showed me around the studio, answering lots of questions about any and every aspect of working in the world of surface pattern design.
I schlepped back across London to the very comfortable sofa at a friend's place in Shepherd's Bush, head full of colour, information and more questions!
The next day I was winging my way across town again, this time to Islington and New Designers Part 1 at The Business Design Centre. I got there just in time to catch Rachael Taylor from Make It In Design (who run the great e-course The Art and Business of Surface Pattern design) delivering her talk on how to make it as a surface pattern designer. She was very gracious as I barged forward and introduced myself to her just moments before her talk, despite me disturbing those last minutes of silent preparation that one needs before public speaking! A full audience gained insider knowledge and information from Rachael as she outlined many aspects of the industry, all that Make It In Design offer and her career. It was great to meet up with quite a gang of fellow students from the ABSPD course, we chatted with Rachael after her talk and made our way down to the Make It In Design stand to spend a lot more time meeting those we've been in contact with online over the past months. It was really lovely to spend time with such a great community of people who have become friends and allies as we all take steps along our paths in the world of surface pattern. The show itself was a real melting pot of all things design and I was especially drawn to some of the bright and bold work you can see above, notably Chloe and Annie in One Year On and Chloe Wright from Herriot Watt University. I loved the funky monochrome screenprint work from Aeand Studio also in One Year On.
Two really full days have recharged my batteries and given me lots of inspiration and food for thought. I came away from London having met so many wonderful and talented people at every stage of the career path in the world of pattern design. One thing that is becoming very apparent is that there is no right or prescribed way of becoming a surface pattern designer. Everyone I spoke to has forged their own path, following passions, creative expression and opportunities to take each step along the way. The over-riding message being 'Work hard, and go for it and keep working hard and going for it to take yourself where you want to be'. Which is just what I intend to do...what I am doing :-)