Designer Critique – Sophie Weymouth

Sophie is a 3rd year student studying the “Design” at Leeds Metropolitan University. Originally from Liverpool/Merseyside, she has been described by friends as a happy, laid back and humble individual all attributes of which i can see reflected in her approach to work and through the final pieces she has produced. During her time at Leeds Met she has put together a well thought out portfolio of work based primarily around the textiles pathway of the course with a main focus on using sustainable production techniques and recycled textiles.

Although having had numerous original ideas backed up by her portfolio outside influences have also played a part in shaping her work. After an interview this is what she mentioned about her influences.

“I admire fashion designers like Vivienne Westwood for her funky designs (especially during the 60’s and 70’s) and her completely individual style and approach to designing – she basically invented the punk look; and Stella McCartney for her strong views and ethos behind her work.”

“Someone else who has influenced me greatly is Lizzie Harrison. Her fashion label is called Antiform Industries and all the clothes are made by local Leeds people and the materials are sourced from factory offcuts and clothes exchanges – anything that isn’t exchanged will be made into something else – nothing is ever thrown away! She always puts a strong emphasis on the fact that all the clothes are 100% sustainable.”

“Someone who has really made me think differently about design and approaches to design is Jonathan Chapman. I have always believed in emotionally durable design but have never quite been able to explain myself. When I hear him talk about design I’m like “yes! That’s what I wanted to say!” “.

All of what was mentioned about influential characters within her work can be seen in what she has produced.  A good way to describe the collection of work that Sophie has put together would be “Hippy chic”. What i mean by this is that her work has an almost rustic feel to it. Not all the stitches are perfect and some of the edges are frayed but all of this adds to the character of what she has produced. Her work has a very earnest crafted feel to it, as if a bit of love has gone into each piece rather than it feeling as if it had just been churned off of a production line. In turn i feel that the love that has gone into what she has made also has the ability to rub off onto their potential new owners as it is within everyone’s grasps to be able to appreciate the levels of craftsmanship that have gone into producing the things they own or care for. Whether she realises it or not i feel Sophie’s work goes beyond just being sustainable as a result of the  materials and processes she has used but also in terms of it being designed for longevity and emotional durability through her methods of production and personal style as a designer.

There were a couple products that Sophie crafted herself as part of a second year projects that i took a particular interest in. This is what she said about the project, pictures of which can be seen below the text. ” My two favourite products I have made are the sustainable lizard bag and the under-the-sea seat. I love the aesthetics of both products and love the fact that the lizard bag used to be a jumper. I made the seat out of MDF and bought the blue base fabric but all the embellishments on the cover are recycled fabrics. I enjoyed making both of these products immensely and due to it’s label, I believe the lizard bag is emotionally durable.”

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Overall i enjoy Sophie’s work with the crafted nature of its production being a welcome change for the majority of products that are about nowadays that feel as if they have been clinically engineered in a lab somewhere. She has definitely chosen the right pathway for her with her work however showing how she has been able to apply what she knows about textiles and fashion to other areas of the course such as the furniture pathway. With aims of follows her influences she would love to maybe follow in Lizzie Harrisons footsteps and set up a workshop in which to hold clothes exchanges and make new clothes under my own fashion label. This is definitely a fully achievable aim for her and it wouldn’t suprise if she went even further than to just set up the one business. With the changing climate of design swaying towards ever more sustainable and environmentally friendly methods of design and production Sophie definitely knows a fair amount about it and i feel is going about the exact right way of successfully becoming a valuable part of the design industry.

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Just what I was Thinking… (D1.4 follow on)

The latter half of my D1.4 project involved me coming up with an idea for a viral advertisement scheme to get the public interested in the idea of them introducing more sustainable processes and plants  into their daily lives. The aim of doing so was to improve the look of their home and local environment with more greenery and in turn show them how easy it can be for them to achieve what they would of done normally but without any thought to how it could of been done in a more environmentally friendly way.

The viral advertisement scheme i came up with was based around the idea of using “green grafitti” to capture peoples imaginations wasn’t brilliant and could of had a lot more thought put into it. However upon searching through the internet i found these great examples of how people are had gone about improving the environments of others through some truly amazing methods and in turn some truly amazing results.

http://inhabitat.com/live-moss-street-poetry-by-anna-garforth/perugia1/

http://inhabitat.com/guerilla-street-art-amazing-scratched-building-portraits/alexandre-farto-scratched-murals-4/?extend=1

http://inhabitat.com/urban-moss-graffiti-by-edina-tokodi/

My favourite of the three despite it being the least to do with plants and growth is the second link which is a sort of anti-graffiti in the sense that paint is taken away instead of being applied. The images created by this technique feel ghostly and almost haunting with them seeming to just  emerge out of the wall. This lead to making me think that they would be a great way to advertise my concept as they are subtle but once noticed are very striking and i would imagine if combined with moss growing techniques from the other links, would be very memorable (could even be endorsed by celebrities wanting to further the concept :D)

Re-use and Honesty in Form and Materials

At the moment i have quite a high interest in the idea of re-using materials (particularly stuff that may be a little run down or has some history to it) to make new and interesting products that not only can solve a problem through what they are designed to achieve but also help to solve the problem of material wastage. I say re-use instead of recycle as i think that re-using something as it is not only leads to some more exciting design outcomes but also means that people are more honest with the material and that it is is cared about. Instead of just seen as a bunch of raw components that need to be sorted and re distributed.

The links below i thought were a great example of this being done and thought that what had been produced was actually quite witty and had a humorous side to it. Something id rarely expect from an off the shelf product and even then there would be plenty of others just like it.

http://inhabitat.com/recycled-suitcase-chair-lets-you-travel-without-leaving-home/

http://inhabitat.com/recycled-tub-chair-is-the-perfect-place-to-relax-without-all-the-water/

http://inhabitat.com/boom-case-a-boombox-made-from-an-old-suitcase/

LEGO Housing

Found this through a website called mocoloco.com. Thought it was pretty interesting  and a genius idea but don’t know how much of it i can trust to be as brilliant as they say it is seeing that its a promo video by the company who made it. Despite this i still thinks its a great idea and would enjoy seeing it actually in action.

Skills Audit

I was having a search through all of the paper work i was handed at the beginning of the year. Most of it was to do with timetabling or what each of the modules for the year would be teaching us, all pretty much general introductory stuff. However within all this paperwork i found a skills audit that we had been asked to fill in but that i had forgotten to hand in. I filled in the half of the audit that had yet to be completed and by the end had a brilliant comparison of the skills i had when i joined the course back in September and then next to them had any improvements i had made of the course of the year.

This is my audit…

Looking at my audit confirmed my thoughts on what i had thought i had learnt during the year and how i thought i had maintained to keep any of the higher marks i had awarded myself. From the audit it can be seen that the main area of improvement was in the CAD and textiles sections which are the areas i had had the least experience in prior to the joining the course. Although having had no experience in these sections beforehand obviously means that the marks are going to go up quickly as soon as i do start learning about the subject it still stands as proof that the course did what it was supposed to of done (what i expected it to do) during the first year which is to give us an overall view of what is to come and to provide us with the necessary basic skills we will need to further ourselves in these areas should we choose to.

Overall looking at this skills audit has put me in a very positive mood and has at least helped me to prove to myself that i have learnt something this year and have furthered myself even if the grade i get at the end of the year doesn’t quite agree with this.

Growing Art…

Did a fair amount of research into growing plants or foliage of some kind on walls for various reasons. The project is over now but whilst searching through the internet i found this example of a similar thing happening.

http://www.lushe.com.au/2010/01/04/how-to-grow-grass-on-a-wall/

All the others uses for growing plants on walls had been for quite practical or natural reasons but this was one of the first and best examples of it being done in the name of art. What the artist has achieved i feel is truly beautiful and the fact it has been done in an old church really adds to the whole magic of walking into a room that nature has been allowed to truly take hold of.

Tiny website…

Thought this website was brilliant and can prove it by how long ive spent trawling through it. All of the examples of shelter or housing that it shows are all ingenious and its obvious a lot of thought has gone into all of them. Great example of design being used to solve tricky situations be it for fun or more serious reasons.

http://www.tinyhousedesign.com/