A Year Of Dreams and Colour Schemes

"Blog - just do it!" - that's the new years resolution I set out for myself on January 1st 2015. Now, 12 months later, I feel so proud and happy to say that I pushed myself to make that resolution a reality. I have found a hobby which I truly enjoy, met some wonderful people, learnt a lot about writing and photography, and established a little place on the internet to call my own. So, at the risk of blowing my own trumpet, I'm going through the achieve to pick out my favouirte posts from Dreams and Colour Schemes in 2015. It's been wonderful to see how much the quality of my posts has improved throughout the year and it gives me so much motivation to take it to the next level in 2016. I hope you find something in the list that you may have missed to have a read of!

My 2015 Highlights

As the year is rapidly drawing to a close, I thought I'd end 2015 with a roundup of all my favourite moments from the past 12 months. I realise I've been a bit absent blog wise for the past month, in honesty I have had a lot going on in my life, some good and some not so good. Anyway, looking back, life has changed at lightning speed for me this year and some pretty significant milestones have happened. The end of the year and the start of a new one is a wonderful time to reflect so here are my highlights of 2015.

Eight Photos Of Happiness

A while (way too long!) ago, I was tagged by the lovely Megan from Lazy Thoughts  to do the 'Eight Photos of Happiness' tag. As you may know, I moved away for university in September and since most of my photos (especially older ones) are stored on my desktop at home, I've only really just had the chance to go searching for 8 photos that bring back happy memories for me. But without further hold up, today I will be sharing a handful of pictures that make me smile, and the reasons why.

University Room Tour

Two months ago I up sticks to London for my first year of university and my little room in the big city is starting to feel much more homely now. In fact, I often find myself getting told off by my mum for referring to London as "home" when I go back to visit (even though when I'm down here I always refer to Manchester as home)! Now that I'm settled in I thought it would be nice to share a few pictures of how I've made my room in student halls my own.

Top Tips For A Medium Distance Romance

So, you're medium distance. You and your significant other don't live in the same city. You may have to travel a couple of hours to see each other, but there isn't seas and deserts between you. In some ways you feel lucky - it could be worse right? At least you're in the same country and all. But it's still difficult. There are times when you just want a cuddle and you know you have to wait, or times when you need someone to rant to and things just aren't the same over the phone or a pixilated phone screen.

My Favourite Art Books

As a design student, I own and have read more art books than I care to count. Since I attend the largest art university in Europe, which has the grand total of SIX libraries, I pretty much have access to any and every art and design book you could possibly think of. There's often something so special about an art book, sometimes they are so tactile and beautiful that they are almost artworks in themselves, which is possibly why I just can't get enough of them! Today I've compiled a list of my all time favourites.

My Favourite Documentaries

Who doesn't love a good documentary? For a while I thought my addiction to factual programs was fairly unique, but then came Netflix and Twitter and I soon realised that I'm far from alone in my love of all things crime, nature and history. Today I thought I'd share a list of some of my all time favourite documentaries. There's everything from design, murder, feminism, nature and more covered so hopefully you'll find something new to catch your interest for next time you're stuck on what to watch!

7 Things I Learnt In My First 7 Days In London

So, I moved to the Big Smoke. That actually happened. So far it's been a whirlwind, a culture shock and a blast all rolled into one and I've only been here for a few weeks! During my first week I learnt a lot of lessons, some useful and some perhaps not so much. Today I thought I'd record 7 of them here - hopefully in a few years time I'll be able to look back and see how far I've come with fitting in down south! So here they are, the musings of a northerner stuck down south, week 1...

Goals For The Season

Summer is well and truly over in the UK and autumn is in full swing. Whether we're still in education or not, many of us still associate this time of year with fresh beginnings and new starts. For me, this autumn brings the most dramatic changes I have probably ever experienced in my life. Not only am I starting a new course at a new university, but I'm also moving to a new city and living away from my family and friends for the first time. There's a whole lot of 'firsts' going on so I thought I'd do a little post about the things I want to achieve over the next few months.

My Summer Travel Journal

You may have read some of my previous posts about what I got up to over summer and today I thought I'd tell the story in a slightly more creative post - since that's what this blog is meant to be all about! I recorded my summer travels in a journal this year, keeping everything from tickets, receipts, maps, postcards, papers and basically anything that would lay flat and record what I got up to, food I ate and places I visited. Anything that holds a memory of a trip goes in my travel journal.

So, You Want To Do An Art Foundation?

Here is an outline of my situation this time last year - Fresh out of a-levels, still as passionate about art and design as I had always been but with no idea of how, or even if, I was going to turn this love into a career. No direction in terms of what degree I wanted to pursue (a business degree was still a strong possibility) but a place on the Manchester School of Art Foundation Diploma in hand.

Summer 2015: Highlights & Photo Diary

Summer seems to have slipped away without so much as a goodbye here in the UK. I'm noticing the evenings draw in and the temperature has dropped noticeably over the past week or so. I thought that before I start university, it'd be the perfect time to look back on my favourite memories from the summer and share some photographs of what I've been up to.

DIY: Shell Photo Frame

DIY: Shell Photo Frame

Today's post is going to be a DIY, except it's so simple that I feel a bit cheeky even calling it that! Whenever I'm at a the seaside, it's impossible for me to not pick up pretty shells and rocks. There's just something about beach-combing that I've never grown out of, and I have an ever expanding collection of beach treasures scattered around the house to prove it! Last summer when my boyfriend and I went on holiday to Devon, I vowed that this time it would be different, and that I would actually make use of what I had collected from the beaches of south England. This frame is a really lovely way to remember a holiday and best of all, to keep those shells guilt-free!

How I Did New York In 4 Days

How I Did New York In 4 Days - Dreams and Colour Schemes

Along with Paris, London and Rome, New York is one of those staple cities that appears on every man and his dog's bucket list. I know it's certainly been on mine for a very long time, so when the opportunity came along for me to take a whirlwind trip to The Big Apple mid way through my holiday in Chicago, I grabbed it with both hands. I took the 2 hour plane journey from Chicago O'Hare to New York's LaGuardia airport on the Saturday morning for a 3 night stay in Times Square, returning to Chicago on Tuesday evening. This left me with 2 full days and 2 half days to experience as much of New York as I could possibly squeeze in. It was a task, and my feet didn't thank me one single bit, but here's how I saw the big city in 4 days...

Top 10 Must See Pieces @ The Museum of Modern Art

When my trip to New York was finalised, The Museum of Modern Art was my number one 'must do' activity. Widely regarded as the most influential modern art gallery in the world, it's been on my gallery bucket list for a very long time and so I was more than a little bit excited to finally get the opportunity to go! Even though I was on a whirlwind 3 night stay in The Big Apple, I spent the majority of a whole day marvelling at the museums impressive collection. For those who are limited to a more speedy visit however (or for anyone that simply wants to know what to look out for!), I've put together a list of 10 works that are not to be missed in my opinion. Many of these pieces are not only incredibly monumental in the art world, but also highly well known amongst tourists, so I recommend getting to the gallery at opening time and heading straight to your 'must sees' before they are overrun with crowds. These are the 10 I headed straight for...

5 Tips Every Nervous Flyer Should Try

5 Tips Every Nervous Flyer Should Try

Flying can be a scary experience for some. I’m certainly not the most nervous flyer in the world, but about 24 hours before I fly anywhere, I start to feel anxious and my mind begins to tick over thinking about my oncoming journey. There are certain worries that begin to set in and ‘what ifs’ that enter my mind. But as I write this post, 35,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean, I feel completely safe and at ease. Since there's no internet access to be had from up here, the tips I’m about to give are purely off the top of my head, taken only from personal experience. What works for some may not work for others, but these are the things that I’d at least recommend giving a go if you tend to be an uneasy flyer. 

Instagram Inspo: #TheWorldNeedsMoreSpiralStaircases

I've got a confession to make. I have an obsession. It's an addiction. I, Sophie, am a spiral staircase-aholic. If you've never witnessed the #theworldneedsmorespiralstaircases tag, then I urge you to rectify that situation as soon as possible. Sweeping lines and beautiful shapes plunge down into geometric infinity and leave my design brain weak at the knees. I try to contribute to the hashtag when I can, but sadly as the name suggests, beautiful spiral staircases can be few and far between these days (damn you elevators for demoting stairs to only a safety feature!). Today though, I thought I'd round up a few of my favourite contributions to the hashtag for you to feast your lovely eyes on. I'm incredibly envious of all of these gorgeous examples!

50 Things I Want To Do When I Move To London

50 Things I Want To Do When I Move To London

A couple of weeks ago, I shared 5 things that I'm going to miss about my home city of Manchester when I make the move to London in September. While it will be strange and quite sad to leave everything I have ever known behind, I didn't want to leave it on quite such a negative note, especially since I am so excited to be going to discover a whole new city. In order to lighten the tone a bit, I've put together a list of 50 things I'm excited to do when I'm living in the big city for the next 3 years. I've been to London a fair few times in the past and so I've already done a lot of the 'touristy' things, however some of them are repeated below if it's something I fancy doing again sometime, while I have left others off completely in favour of new experiences.

Manchester Jazz Festival 2015: The Launch Party

A few months ago, I wrote a post about the fact that my painting was going to be used across the marketing campaign for this years Manchester Jazz Festival, and their 20th anniversary celebrations. On Friday 31st July I was invited down to the VIP launch party that kicked off the 9 day event in Albert Square, Manchester. It was a really great night and I was introduced to a lot of the lovely people that made it all happen and brought this campaign to life over the past few weeks and months.

My Everyday Art Tools

My Everyday Essential Art Materials, Tools and Supplies

To me, it's so interesting to know what art tools other creatives use on a regular basis. What are their absolute staples and complete essentials? What could they not do a days work without? What do they carry around with them in their pencil case? Today I thought I'd share the tools that I'm constantly reaching for and that probably would be in my pencil case if they weren't sprawled all over my desk! I haven't included any wet materials here such as paints or inks, just the real basics that serve me very well.

5 Things I'll Miss About Manchester

Things I'll Miss About Manchester: Dreams and Colour Schemes

Come this September, I will be upping sticks to London in pursuit of my new student life. Behind me I am leaving the city I grew up in and have lived in all of my life, Manchester. Although I am (incredibly!) bias, I truly believe that Manchester is the best city in the UK. I love this town to bits and not being here will be very strange for a while. Although I'm very excited to be moving to the Big Smoke and discovering all that it has to offer, there are certainly things that I will miss about my home city. Here are 5 things that I'll be sad to leave behind in a couple of months time...

Instagram Inspo: #NationalIceCreamDay

Apparently, back in in 1984, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed July as National Ice Cream Month and established National Ice Cream Day as the third Sunday in the month of July. Hurray! If I were president of the USA, I'm pretty sure establishing a day dedicated to eating delicious ice cream would be top of my priority list too. This year, the celebration fell on Sunday 19th July, and social media went ice cream crazy! Here are my top Instagram picks that left me drooling over the weekend...

My Blogging Goals

Ta dah! You may have noticed that I've made some changes around here (i.e. a complete redesign!) and I'm so happy with the way Dreams and Colour Schemes now looks. I've been wanting to do this for a while and with it being summer I've actually had the time to sit down and get it done. The whole process of redesigning actually got me thinking about where I want this blog to go and what I want it to be. I blogged on and off in 2014 but had so many silly things holding me back, however I've now been consistently blogging here for 8 months and in that relatively short amount of time, I feel my goals have shifted in some ways. Initially, my main focus was to have this space as a means of documenting my work and creative journey. While that is still a part of what I want to do, my ideas for this blog have grown beyond just that one aspect. I've never actually sat down and thought about my blogging goals, so with my redesign complete, I think it's about time I solidify my aims.

My Top 10 Most Liked Instagram Photos Ever

Instagram is probably my favourite social media platform. As a creative person, there's just something about being able to scroll through reams and reams of exquisitely composed, perfectly lit photographs straight from my phone which gets me very excited. The beauty of Instagram is that it's almost a mini-blog post in itself. I have no qualms in saying that I try really hard to post Instagram content that I am proud of and that is a visual representation of me, my work and my life. Particularly in the last year, I've really gotten into upping my 'Instagram game', so I thought it'd be fun to take a look at what's been most popular so far. Here are my top 10 most liked Instagram photos of all time...

Exhibition Visit: Magna Carta (An Embroidery) by Cornelia Parker @ The British Library

When I first found out about this particular commission, I have to admit I yelped with excitement slightly. If there were a perfect storm in artwork form then this would be it for me. Take the fact that it's done by one of my favourite artists whom I have heard speak in person, as well as it being stitched, involves type and strikes a resemblance to my own final piece for my art foundation (by pure coincidence), and you've got me very excited.

Top 10 Tips For First Time Glastonbury Goers

So you've done it. It's taken blood, sweat, tears and probably every electronic device in your household, but you've managed to bag yourself tickets to the best festival on earth - congratulations! You're in for one hell of a weekend and a festival experience like no other. Inside those perimeter walls, Glastonbury is a whole new culture, so prepare for the party of a lifetime with my top ten tips for first time Glastonbury goers.

30 Post Ideas For Creative Bloggers

Like me, I'm sure that a lot of my fellow creative bloggers occasionally run a bit low on ideas about what to post. Even with the best will in the world, sometimes it all just seems to dry up. The good news though is that often, all it takes is a little nudge in the right direction to get the blogging juices flowing again, so I wanted to share a few 30 post ideas in the hopes of getting you going again if you’re feeling a bit uninspired lately. 

Summer 2015 Essential Exhibition Visits

With summer now on our doorsteps, and many of us looking forward to some better weather and even a little break away from school or work, a whole new wave of exhibitions are sweeping our way. From painting pioneers to parakeet shoes and even a helter-skelter, there's some really exciting stuff to look forward to over the coming season. So get your diary out - I'm doing a run down of my top UK exhibition picks for summer 2015.

Manchester School of Art Degree Show: The Private View

The Manchester School of Art Degree Show is now officially open to the public (13th-24th June 2015), showcasing the talent and achievements of final year degree and foundation students. But before the exhibition opened its doors at the weekend, there was the annual private viewing on Friday 12th June. It was such a lovely evening and felt like a real celebration of all the hard work of everyone from across the art school. It was a wonderful opportunity to finally relax and see the fruits of all the blood, sweat and tears over the past year!

DIY: Luggage Tag Business Cards

Today I've got a little DIY post where I'll be showing you how I made my own handmade luggage tag business cards. A business card is often your first opportunity to make a good impression, done right and it's a chance to show a little bit of what you're about and hopefully it might lead to something more. I am of the belief that there's no point in selling yourself as a creative person and then handing over a poor quality, boring, seen-it-a-million-times-before business card. Something out of the ordinary will show straight away that you're an innovative thinker, and there's also more chance that your card won't just get stuffed to the back of a pile, never to see the light of day again. Plus, who doesn't love something handmade right? 

2015 New Year's Resolutions: 6 Month Update

*insert compulsory statement wondering how it's already June*

So along with just about everybody who has a blog, my first post of this year was sharing my goals for the twelve months which stretched out ahead of me. Now, six months (i.e. half way?!) though that twelve, I thought I'd do a little update and see how good (or not so good...) I've been at making my new year's resolutions happen.

1) Draw LOTS more (starting with a drawing a day in January)
Ok. ermmm. well. This probably isn't a great place to start! Drawing is something I struggle massively with, and it's mostly down to my own confidence. When it comes to drawing, I always feel incredibly inadequate and as a result I just don't do it as often as I'd like to. There's not much point in me doing this update if I'm not going to be honest about it so I'm just going to go right ahead and say that this has been a massive fail so far. All is not lost though - there's still six more months to get my draw on right?

2) Stop wasting time by worrying about time all the time
This is a bit of a personal problem. I have this terrible habit where if something doesn't quite go to plan, I waste time by worrying about it, and then waste more time by worrying about the amount of time I've spent worrying... and so on. I actually think I've made good progress with this so far in 2015. Last year this episode would plague me at least once or twice a month, but I'd say it's only happened maybe twice since the new year. Thumbs up!

3) Blog (just do it!)
Easily my biggest success of the lot! Pre-2015, I was a very on-again off-again blogger. There were so many silly worries holding me back from blogging on a regular basis and in January I decided enough was enough and I needed to just do it because I enjoyed it and I wanted to. So far so good I'd say! I've blogged at least once a week in 2015 and I'm loving every minute of it.

4) Update my wardrobe 
Unfortunately, I haven't made as much progress as I would've liked with this resolution yet, and it's not through lack of trying. Money has simply been a bit tight and I haven't had a lot of extra cash to spend on clothes, however I have made progress where possible. When I have bought new clothes, I have made sure ONLY to make the purchase if it's something that fits in with what I WANT my wardrobe to look like. This method has allowed me to make slow but sure progress with perfecting my style. This summer I'm determined to clear out all of the junk lurking in my wardrobe too...

5) Shoot in film
This is a bit half-yes half-no. Have I shot in film? Yes. So technically, goal achieved. However, this was only on one occasion and I would like to do it more frequently. Again, money has been an issue since film is so much more expensive than digital but this summer I'm hoping to have another go. I am pleased that I got my film camera working and have learnt the basics though so not a complete failure here.

6) Learn how to better deal with anxiety and depression 
Again, something slightly more personal. In honestly, it's been a really tough year so far in regards to this but I won't go into too much detail here (mainly because it's largely not about myself). On a positive note though, I've felt pretty good 90% of the time and I actually feel like a happy person within myself even if I do still struggle with anxiety in a big way. 

So there we have it! I'd say I've got a 50% 50% success rate so far which isn't bad considering we're only half way through the year. It's great to check back up and see that I've achieved some of the things that were merely a goal six months ago. Publishing my resolutions in black grey and white on this little corner of the internet has made me feel much more accountable to actually sticking to what I set out to do. 

How are you getting on with your new year's resolutions? Have you raced ahead in achieving your goals or have they fallen by the wayside since January? I'd love to know, hopefully some of you are doing better than me with a few, or maybe this post will give you that extra boost you need to revisit the goals you set yourself six months ago. 

Art Foundation Final Exhibition (FMP #4)

So it's all over. One year (or 9 months if you want to get technical) of blood, sweat, tears, sweat, stress, hard work, sweat and late nights. Before I started my art foundation, I was something of a lost confused soul, watching all of my friends go off to uni but having little idea of which path in art and design I wanted to take myself. Twelve months on, I can now whole heartedly say that a foundation course was the best thing I could have possibly done for myself and my future. I have never worked so hard and created so much work in such a short space of time, or developed my creative capabilities in such a profound way. 

With the end of the year comes the final exhibition. This is the culmination of everything from the year, but in particular the ten week final major project. I've done a few posts on my FMP previously which I will link here, here and here. The foundation exhibition goes up alongside all of the degree shows at Manchester School of Art and is ultimately a big part of the final grade. 

On the surface, my FMP has stayed consistent to my original subject as experimenting with letterforms has been central throughout the ten weeks. However, discovering textiles was a defining turning point for me and what I initially intended to be a short research test turned into a change of direction. From that point onwards, the craft, process and materials became key. I taught myself how to knit and crochet and my focus changed from illustrating phrases with typography onto testing, exploring and developing the potential of traditional textiles crafts in the context of graphic design and typography.

After weeks of testing, developing, refining and many balls of wool later, I have created one piece to showcase what I have been working on in my FMP. I will insert a few photographs but as a general outline, my final show is a wall piece in which I have recreated the definition of 'TYPOGRAPHY' with crochet and knitted letters, replicating the links, fonts and punctuation of online dictionaries...

I am really genuinely happy with how my exhibition has turned out. As a huge perfectionist it was difficult to let go of the fact that this is a handmade piece of graphic design, and so imperfections are necessary to its character. The 'homemade' element is, I hope, a part of the charm. It's been a labour of love to bring this exhibition to life and I feel at a bit of a loss now that its all over!

On Monday I handed in all of my supporting work from the year, my portfolio, sketchbooks and artist research for marking over the next couple of weeks. After this time the Manchester School of Art degree show will open to the public (which I will do a little post on with more details), so essentially I am finished for the summer now. I have loved every single minute of being in a creative environment this year, I have met such amazingly talented friends and tutors and I truly wish I could do it all over again.

Now though, it's time for some chill time...

My Childhood Artwork

Like most creatives, art has been my passion from a very young age. Just give me a pad of paper and a pen or two and I'd be happy for hours as a child - and nothing much has changed to this day. At the weekend, I thought it'd be fun to take a little break from my uni work and have a look at some of the artwork I've created over the years.

FMP #3

Before I start this post I want to apologise for my less than consistent attempts at blogging over the last few weeks. Hopefully this post will go some way to explaining that but the short version is that I've been crazily running around trying to get my final exhibition together for the foundation/degree show at Manchester School of Art. My final deadline is Monday 1st June so I'm really looking forward to having more time to dedicate to blogging soon. For now though, since my life is revolving around my final major project and completing my exhibition, I thought it'd be good to do a little update. If you haven't seen my previous two FMP posts I will link them here and here so you can take a look at 'the story so far'. 

The final countdown for my FMP is well and truly in full swing now. This week I've been getting my hands dirty preparing my exhibition space, getting it cleaned, sanded and repainted as well as measuring everything out to within an inch of my life. I'll tell you now, if measuring burnt significant calories, I'd be a very skinny girl by now! It's no secret to people that know me that I'm a huge perfectionist and so everything's taking a fair bit of time to get right, but I'm really happy with how it has gone so far *touches every item of wood in sight*. I have been allocated a wall space in a corner so I've had quite a few obstacles to overcome including a big red fire alarm which has played havoc with my need for clean white surfaces! Preparing the exhibition space has been a fun experience though and it's been lovely to make some last memories and spend time with some really great friends I've made on the course. 
To a certain extent I thought it would be nice to keep my actual exhibition as a bit of a surprise for when it's fully complete, so I won't be sharing too many photos of it today. I will say that I'm still continuing with the theme of experimental typography which has evolved into using techniques such as crochet and knitting to make letterforms. Over the last 2 weeks I've been locked away creating what must be hundreds of little wooly letters - but I don't want to give too much away! All will be revealed very soon and I'm working my fingers to the bone to get it finished by next week. 
I realise this has been a very quick insight into what I've been doing with myself these past few weeks but I hope you all understand! There isn't too much completed new work to share but I still want to document the process of this project and I think the exhibition preparation is a big part of that. I can't wait to share the finished results of the show as well as photographs from the private view later on in June. One last final push!

*Sneaky preview!*

Painting 20 Summers of Jazz

Recently I received the very exciting news that Manchester Jazz Festival are going to be using a piece of my work across their marketing campaign for their 20th anniversary celebrations this year. Yesterday, the design went live on their website and in the coming weeks there will be lots of physical marketing too, from catalogues, CDs and badges to bus station posters around central Manchester.

The event itself is a 9 day long showcase of contemporary jazz from the north west of England and beyond. So far it has hosted over 4,900 artists, had 200,000 attendees, commissioned 17 new pieces of music and is Manchester's longest running music festival. 2015 will be their 20th annual event and they have teamed up with a company called Marketecture to design their advertising campaign - 'Celebrate 20 Summers of Jazz'. Students from my foundation course at Manchester School of Art were asked to listen and respond visually to one of a set of 20 jazz tracks. The track I was assigned to listen to was 'Makanitza - Gankino Horo'. We could choose to work in any medium and size we felt appropriate and I chose to work in oil paint.

In terms of my process, quite obviously I began by listening to the track I had been given from beginning to end. My knowledge of jazz music is incredibly limited, however I feel as though this helped me in creating the most raw and honest response I possibly could to the music I was hearing. There were no limiting pieces of information or facts to hold me back, I simply locked myself away, put the track on repeat, and made art. The key for me was never to think about what I thought the jazz festival wanted me to make. As far as possible I wanted to forget that this was for a brief at all. Only then could my work be a true and honest response to the music. Allowing myself the freedom to create honestly was my main focus, rather than making what I hoped they would like. Aside from this, the idea behind the painting was movement and vitality. The first thing I immediately thought of when I heard the music was a far away marketplace, and I wanted to capture the spirit of this rhythm with swirling motions and bright vibrant colours. On a personal level, it was such a refreshing change to make a painting based on sound an emotion. My university work has been very typographical/design based recently and it's been a long time since I spent time with just a canvas, paint and my thoughts.

This has been my first ever experience with working on a live brief in the industry and I am so grateful for the experience, and the fact that my work has been chosen by 'folk who know what they're doing' is such a huge compliment. To have my painting out there online for the world to see and see my name printed on the 'partners' page is surreal. I can't wait to share some of the physical marketing on here once is trickles down into my little hands. For now though, I have added some screenshots of the online visuals and below is a computer generated mock-up made by Marketecture of the kind of thing that will be popping up around Manchester in the coming weeks (where the colours are will be replaced by the image of my painting). I feel so lucky to have been given this opportunity and it makes it all the more exciting that the results will be on display around my home city this summer. So if you happen to live in Manchester - keep an eye out!

Manchester Jazz Festival runs from 31st July - 9th August 2015

You can check out their website for more information about the event (+ see my work!) here: www.manchesterjazz.com

5 Things To Consider When Setting Up Your Creative Space

Many of us dream of having our own creative space, but sadly we don't all have the luxury of an entire room to dedicate to our practice. It may be that you are limited to just one multi-use desk in your bedroom, but any sized space has the potential to be somewhere creatively stimulating and beautiful and it certaintly doesn't have to come at huge expense. Here are a few pointers to get you started with creating an inspiring place to work in, no matter how small your workspace or budget. 

1. Good Lighting
Make sure your desk is close to a good source of natural light and get your hands on a bright desk lamp for all of those late nights. This point is pretty self-explanatory - you need to be able to see your work in its full beauty! Good lighting is also essential if you plan on taking photographs in the space. 

2. Storage 
You'll need to seek out some practical storage options to keep all of your materials and bits and bobs organised. Having said this, 'practical' does not have to mean ugly. It's really important that your desk is a place that invites you to stay and work, potentially for long periods of time. Make it as beautiful as you can and it will become somewhere that you love and look forward to working in.

3. Pin-board
Go 'old-school' with your very own physical Pinterest board! Get yourself a pin-board and use the space directly around you as a mini gallery. Think of it as a place for you to start collections, play around with arrangements and kick start your inspiration, all of which can be especially useful in times of creative block. You don't just have to stick to existing artworks either, pin up something of your own which you're really proud of, surround yourself with scraps of materials, colours, inspiring quotes or magazine cuttings.

4. Folding Table 
Particularly if your space is limited, a folding table can be incredibly useful for the times when you just need to spread out a bit more. They are available pretty cheaply and are easy to store under your desk space. It's great to have some extra working space that you can just whip out and put away whenever it's required.

5. Comfy Chair
For me this is a must. We all know that art and design can be a lengthy process, so make sure you've got a nice comfy chair to work in. If you can't afford a whole new piece of furniture, even just a pretty throw or cushion can add new life to an old basic chair. After all, you want to be able to sit back and enjoy the experience of sitting and working in your beautiful new space!

I hope these tips help you with creating an inspiring space for you to work in and enjoy. What are your studio essentials? And do you have any tips for making the most out of limited space? I'd love to hear your ideas as I'm always looking for ways to bring new life to my workspace!

Final Major Project #2

Last month, I shared some work which formed the beginning of my Final Major Project at university. I had such a lovely response from that post and I think it's about time a did a little update. As well as the fact that I love sharing my work on my blog, it'll be so nice for me to be able to look back and see how things have improved over time. My project has come such a long way since the original post and it's kind of scary/exciting to think that in just a few weeks time I'll be putting up my exhibition, and soon after that it will be open for the public to view.

While my FMP subject is still 'Experimental Typography', I have now become much more focused within this subject. Textiles has begun to play a major role and I can't wait to share that part of my project once it becomes more developed and final. For now though I thought I'd share some images from various things that I have done within my work since my last post.

Above is an image which I created within the time constraints of one day while I was on holiday in Devon. I decided to make use of the seaside environment and went on the hunt for naturally formed letters on rocks and pebbles. It was surprising how easy it was to find letterforms once I'd started looking! I've always loved beach combing so it was a really fun little thing to break up my main project.

This next image is another 'mini-project' which I based around phrases and idioms. I wanted to illustrate the saying 'humble pie' in a literal way using typography and this is what I came up with. It was a nice, easy, quick image to make and was great fun - plus I got to eat the apple pie afterwards.

I was so overwhelmed and happy with the positive response I received from my first FMP post and so I hope these updates are something you enjoy seeing. I can't wait to share more of my work soon as my Final Major Project comes into it's final stages and ultimately post photographs of my complete exhibition in June!