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Enquiring Minds: new Design-Nation members

 Oversize red metal comb inset with forks, as used for eating
 Silver and grey wide embroidered collar shown on white dress mannequin.
 Upturned glass funnel containing faux

Our membership panel met recently to consider yet more applications to join the Design-Nation portfolio. Standards remain impressively high and we’re seeing increasing levels of courage as contemporary makers tackle sometimes troubling and complex questions about how we live, designing and creating entirely original solutions. We are pleased to welcome sixteen new members this summer: four join our full membership and another dozen graduates have signed up too. We’re so happy to introduce these smart newcomers.

Rachael Colley is based in Sheffield and works in metal and other more unusual materials, making what she describes as ambiguous eating implements. She says, “My work centres around exploring and communicating aspects of my lived experience as a sufferer of the autoimmune disease Systemic Sclerosis, which significantly impacts my ability to eat. As a result, I view certain foods, and the experience of eating them, as a form of luxury which resonates with historic connections around the scarcity of delicacies. Through experimental making processes I transform my sensory experience, consuming ‘forbidden fruit’ through alternative means.”

Beatrice Mayfield is a London-based embroiderer, fascinated by the tradition of textiles re-appropriation, where for example the ‘good’ part of a garment may be cut down and re-used,or  moved to another garment. Changeable collars or cuffs used for ‘best’ exemplify this. Beatrice says, “I am interested in developing… what textile jewellery can be, questioning how pieces are worn and where there are cross overs betweeHand embroidery techniques create the texture & colour. I want to continue to explore using non-precious & unconventional materials to create heirlooms of the future.”

Pegg Furniture is the creation of Oxford-based Michael Buick who trained at nearby Rycotewood College. Michael’s fresh take on joinery addresses the conundrums of contemporary living, delighting in simplicity with a range of sustainable all-wood kitset-style furniture: fun to build, easy to move and compact to store. Michael designs for the digital nomad or those whose home office is also the guest bedroom. He says, “I’m a firm believer in designing-through-making, and the creative fusion that happens between the maker, their tools and the material. Pegg was born from a delight at the crisp holes a pillar drill can cut, pleasure in geometric forms made from timber, and the excitement of finding that beautifully simple solution.”

Bridget Bailey is an award-winning milliner turned artist who has adapted her deft making skills to create work inspired by her London allotment. She observes that gardening there, “is more about how nature works than how it looks. Time spent there is an opportunity to observe less obvious relationships and lifecycles of plants and insects. The way I notice something through actually making a representation of it is a very intense form of observation… bringing an appropriate level of bio-diversity to the work.” Her new language of making brings fresh approaches and variety in her thinking, as well as that of materials and methods. The challenge of communicating skills through teaching has led Bridget to reflect on her own evolution as a maker.

Our recent Graduate joiners include: Alice Bramhill (ceramics, Nottingham), Blythe MacKenzie (print, Edinburgh), Ellie Carr-Smith (textiles, Warwickshire), Emily Bagshaw (multidisciplinary, Manchester), Emily Smith t/a The Metalsmith (jewellery, Winchester), Estelle Burton (metal and glass, East Sussex), Katie Allen t/a Loopy Ewes (textiles, Gloucestershire), Leighann Casey (texiles, Warwickshire), Lesley Stone (jewellery, Cornwall), Renata Aminian (furniture, Cambridgeshire), Samantha English (jewellery, West Sussex) and Sharon Kearley (textiles, Hampshire).

Look out for more about these design talents as we work together over the coming months.

Images courtesy of makers:

Rachael Colley: Cutlery Comb. Repurposed stainless steel cutlery and powder-coated steel.

Beatrice Mayfield: Seascape Circular Collar. Cotton, heavily hand-embellished with sequins, glass beads, wool threads & fabric paint.

Pegg Furniture by Michael Buick: Pegg Desk – Work Where You Want. Birch ply with ash legs. Image courtesy

Bridget Bailey: Vespular vulgaris. Common wasp under glass funnel, as a contemporary version of a dome. Materials: silk organza, wire, iridescent fibre.

Image on main News page shows Rachael Colley’s Cutlery Comb in use.

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Liz Cooper


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