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A Winning Summer 2014

This month’s blog marks the end of another phase for Design Nation with the ownership now transferring from Andrew Tanner the Design Nation guardian for the last couple of years and progressing to a new chapter with new custodians The National Centre for Craft & Design.

Based in Sleaford, Lincolnshire, the NCCD holds England’s largest exhibition space for craft and design. Opened over a decade ago in 2003 the centre called The Hub holds regular workshops, seminars and key exhibitions throughout the year, as well as supporting established and emerging creative talent and design businesses the Hub has become a fantastic resource for art and design, so a natural home for Design Nation to reside

It’s been a had a busy couple of months with the NCCD news, New Designers and also the recent flurry of applications for Design Nation 2014 to process with a impressive judging panel meeting on July 14th.  The Panel was made up from industry professionals, manufacturers, retailers, existing members and journalists within the design community  including  Adam Thow, Head of Retail Southbank Centre, Sue Pryke, Design Nation member and winner of the 2014 Homes and Gardens Award for Ceramics and Glass, Clare Edwards, Director, The National Centre for Craft & Design, Simone du Bois, Brand Director, Decorex International and Norman Tempest, Director Royal Stafford and Homes and Gardens winner as Backer of British Design.   The judges commented that the applicants were particularly strong and look forward to announcing the new members to join the already impressive portfolio of designers.

So at the end of the academic year the focus is on the emerging talent graduating from the creative courses nationally.  It’s always great to visit degree shows to see the new trends and enthusiastic makers.  I was impressed by the high quality of work especially from Loughborough University’s students this year, as always the textile course brings an array of professional work and portfolios to the fore, with a course that has always, since I can remember, produced excellent graduate work with appropriate expertise to step into industry or pursue an individual pathway usually into business.

Laura Melhuish-Sprague knitted interior textiles collection ‘Venezia’

Poppy Petersen from the Textiles Innovation & Design BA, experimental collection of woven fashion samples (pictured)

I was particularly interested to see the final year of the 3D Design New Practice course set up in 2011 with these aims which appear to be absolutely appropriate for the current climate within design and the crafts:

“to explore the relationships between craftsmanship, design, production and theory…  New Practice as an evolution; of traditional skills, modern manufacturing, and latest methodologies.”

So, I’m surprised to see that this is the final year and the course will be closing. The breadth and quality of the work was high, the students were particularly articulate about their work and future prospects and clearly given adequate preparation by the course for their next steps.  The work was all of high quality and defined within a contemporary framework, so a real shame to see another course closure especially when there is a real interest even at High Street level for design and craftsmanship.

Pictured is the stunning ceramic collection by Alice Greatrex, simple, pared back and beautifully crafted , who won the Potclays Ceramic Prize

Also pictured is Olly Clarke’s birch plywood ‘Creative Desk for Designers’  with brightly coloured laminate inside the drawer a contemporary piece of domestic furniture.

For Design Nation, the focus in July is firmly on New Designers and the annual design awards offered to the One Year On exhibitors.   As usual the event provides a broad range of work and innovation from the emerging makers proving a difficult task for the judges!

There was a covetable line up of awards:
£500 from New Designers
£200 for The Design Trust
1 year free The Design Trust Business Club (with £300) with access to all webinars, online community, newsletter and much more.
1 ‘Get Clients Now’ from The Design Trust – 6 weeks online coaching marketing programme (worth £245)
Solo exhibition at The National Centre for Craft & Design in next 12 months Worth £4,000

The judges were Gemma Fabbri the curator behind the ecommerce store and the founder of the London design studio Scene.  Patricia van den Akker Director of the Design Trust. Edwards, Director National Centre for Craft & Design (NCCD), and Design Factory  and Liz Cooper, the Touring & Projects Manager for The National Centre for Craft & Design and Design Factory

Week One
Winner was Taz Pollard Ceramics.

Taz’s work is striking, innovative in the use of materials, but strongly reflects the craft roots of her native South Devon with forms drawn from medieval tableware.  Experimenting with iconic pottery forms giving them a twenty first century twist: a bright glaze, a plastic handle or a plastic ceramic hybrid

The runner up was Isatu Hyde, also a ceramicist who is working in both handmade studio production as an apprentice, and also industry, via a partnership and brand development programme with Kilner.

Week Two
The winner was Emilie Osborne, who makes wall hangings and sculptural installations from folded coloured and patterned card creating innovative geometric designs exploiting optical illusions

Since graduating last year Emilie has developed her practice and created great opportunities for herself, including a forthcoming window display for Selfridges to promote Linda Farrow sunglasses. Her work is sharp, minimal and very well considered.

The runner-up was Sarah Brown, an ambitious glass artist who creates illustrative architectural glass panels drawn from her own observational drawings, especially from London street life.
Emilie Osborne will have an exhibition at NCCD for late spring 2015 and at the same Taz Pollard will be the featured Maker of the Month in NCCD shop. Watch this space!

Written by our resident Designer on Design Sue Pryke.

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Laura Jacometti



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