If it’s just gone midsummer it must be the wealth of talent that is the New Designers show. Over the last two weeks we’ve had the tough but pleasurable task of judging the One Year On galleries. The winners each week need to not only impress us with their originality and quality of design, but also should be demonstrating a good understanding what what they need to do to continue developing their business and effectively reach new markets.
In the Part One judging on 29 June our programme manager Liz Cooper joined curator Rheanna Lingham of jewellers Luna & Curious and Patricia Van der Akker of The Design Trust to meet a plethora of jewellers, ceramicists, glass and textiles product designers. While we know from experience that this feature at New Designers always attracts a high standard of exhibitors, the 2016 group are really special with a number of very strong contenders showing beautifully designed work.
After much deliberation we chose Hannah Tounsend, a ceramicist whose stunning work is inspired by the textures and shapes of the shoreline. She uses a variety of techniques to build her pots, moulding, spinning, throwing and working with deliberately fragmented edges, to create beautiful one-offs, each bearing handmade decoration that is minimal yet dramatic. Moreover Hannah has extended her range into monoprints and limited edition prints using the same monchromatic imagery as the pots, but at more affordable price points that will allow more people to invest in her work.
Hannah says “My vessels and monoprints explore the layered landscapes and sea-washed, weatherworn surfaces of the British coastline. Marks, lines and diffuse merging colours are built up, cut through and dissolved away. The repeatedly worked surfaces of clay and print are under constant revision, referencing the endless remaking of the shore.” She is currently in the Crafts Council Hothouse programme, therefore this win really puts her in a strong position to carry on developing her practice.
In the second week of One Year On our colleague Hayley Banks of Design Factory stepped in for Liz, joining Rheanna and Patricia in judging another strong field that included furniture, and product designers, illustration and textiles. Once again the standard was extremely high with a group of exhibitors who had already collectively achieved numerous orders, commissions and accolades and secured prestigious clients in the UK and overseas. It was great to hear the stories and routes to practice from this group who have strong commercial and creative ambitions.
Although the standard was high with some exquisite work on display, this time the selection of a winner was straightforward: Rachel Haworth emerged as a clear leader and worthy winner. Rachel describes herself as a surface pattern and textile designer because that was what she became after graduation from Heriot Watt University two years ago. However her work has become increasingly more about surface design – mostly sophisticated colourways printed on aluminium. Rachel is currently working on waterproof finishes so that her products will become suitable for exterior use and her ambition is to work with architects to apply her designs to the buildings.
Rachel has very clear and realistic goals and says of herself, “I am a driven and inquisitive designer emerging into the textile and interior design industry in Scotland. My award winning graduate collection has developed into high-end branded homeware. I’m thrilled to have won the award. It will be a fantastic opportunity to help me launch my business.”
Each winner receives a cash prize from New Designers, a programme of tailored support from The Design Trust, a year’s free membership of Design-Nation and a showcase exhibition at our sister gallery The National Centre for Craft & Design. With the support and opportunities that winning One Year On gives, we feel sure that Hannah and Rachel have very bright futures ahead of them, and we are delighted to welcome them to the Design-Nation portfolio.
Report by Liz Cooper and Hayley Banks.
Portraits courtesy of New Designers.