Type x Amsterdam

We went on a study trip to Amsterdam in October last year and it was a fantastic chance to visit some dutch design studios and speak to some of the designers. We were asked to document the trip however we liked.

I decided to collect type from all over the city. As I explored Amsterdam, I photographed interesting, and in some cases not so interesting, typography. I kept a scrap of paper with the alphabet written on it in my pocket for the whole trip so that I could keep track of which characters I’d collected. Continue reading


A Portugal Sketchbook

So this year for our family holiday we went back to Portugal. We’ve been many times before and I love it so much- very happy memories. We went to the Algarve in the south for a week and stayed in a hotel on the cliffs above a lovely beach. We normally do sightseeing and exploring and things while we’re away but this year we just wanted to stop and relax (which meant I had plenty of time for drawing and sketching, yay!) Continue reading

The Summer Exhibition | The Royal Academy

I am aware that I am very late to this party but I finally got around to going to this year’s summer exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts that everyone has been raving about- and it didn’t disappoint! I thought it was eclectic, fun and colourful which is everything I want from an exhibition really. If you’re in London in the next 10 days, it’s definitely worth visiting.

IMG_8418I was excited to see the stripy staircase by Jim Lambie in person after having seen pictures of it all over the internet and I really loved it, it’s a really great entrance to the exhibition and definitely sets up the theme and feel of the whole show.

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I really liked the pink, blue and teal walls of some of the galleries, something about them made me super happy and made me more attracted to the art on them. I know that some people wondered if the bright walls took away from the paintings but I have to disagree and say that their boldness enhanced the whole visit for me. Continue reading

Art in Action 2015

I spent this weekend at Art in Action at Waterperry in Oxfordshire having lots of arty fun. Art in Action is the biggest visual arts festival in the UK, it runs for 4 days every July and features 400 artists and craftspeople demonstrating their trade, exhibiting their work and teaching practical classes. I visited many times when I was little and have been every year for the last 4, I think that it probably helped inspire my creativity and interest in design from a young age and I feel a bit indebted to it. The whole event is run by volunteers and I decided this year that it was time to give back so I volunteered to work on Saturday and join the team of 600 volunteers and then I went again on Sunday just as a visitor.


Art in Action is held in the grounds of Waterperry House and Gardens which is a beautiful setting that provides the perfect backdrop for such an event. The show covers everything from sculpture to illustration, woodwork to textiles, jewellery to painting and everything in between. All the demonstrators set up studios in their respective marquees and its so cool to be able to actually talk to the artists and see their processes first hand.

^ My favourite tent! – lots of linocutting, etching, letterpress, screen printing, woodblock printing etc.
^ In the market I bought myself a giant cutting mat (woohoo)

As a volunteer I was posted in the Best of the Best tent which contained a selection of the best pieces from across the whole show and from all the different disciplines, as voted for by the artists. I really enjoyed my day but I did feel a bit annoying because I kept having to tell people to take their ice creams outside or stop touching the art (sorry everyone, but art is valuable).

^Some of the best of the best.

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Here are some of my favourite pieces from the show – my own little best of the best:

^ Lisa Wisdom – “Autumn Walk at Helford Creek”

^ I loved the way that this piece looked like a rusty old scrap of metal when I first looked at it but then I saw the detail and the fact that it is in fact a lovely landscape.

^Este Macleod- “Blue Skies”
^Sara Fordy – “Indigo and Suede”
^ Jan Bowman – “Rain” Lisbon in the Afternoon
^ Roanna Wells – “Tour de France” – Hand stitching on wool.

^ This piece is particularly appropriate because I have been obsessively watching the Tour de France over the last two weeks – Go Froome!

^ Wendy Dolan – “London on the Map” – Drawing with stitch.

I only did one sketch which was of a bench in the beautiful Waterperry Garden. I was quite happy with it.

I had such a lovely weekend, with my Grandma and my Mum, both helping out and looking round the show as a visitor. It’s always such a pleasure to see so much creativity in one place and such an enthusiastic crowd of people visiting. My souvenir this year was a lovely postcard from Hannah McVicar who studied at Falmouth years ago! Hopefully I’ll be able to follow in her footsteps – although there is no graphic design tent at Art in Action so I’ll have to take up some other arty skill in order to fulfil my dream of demonstrating there one day.


Visiting Frogmore Paper Mill – Sourcing paper.

Today I went to Apsley to visit the Frogmore Paper Mill. I had said in my statement of intent that I wanted to source some paper locally in order to improve the sustainability of the project so I went and took a tour of the mill, made my own paper and bought some samples.


I was able to get some different papers from the shop and I even found some banana and coffee paper – very appropriate. I was thinking however, that the bananas definitely couldn’t be local and so there would still be a large amount of energy used in shipping them to the UK so maybe it’s not as sustainable as i’d hoped. Even so, I still think that using paper from a local mill that’s made from recycled materials and natural dyes and textures is a huge step in the right direction for improving sustainability.


The paper that I bought included some sheets of coffee paper, banana paper, elephant poo paper, straw paper, seed paper, and more:

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I intend to use these papers to test printing and then decide on the most suitable paper to use for the print applications such as the menu and the business cards etc.

One of the other papers that the mill produced was made from denim (which came out blue, unsurprisingly) and another was made from coffee bean husks which I would have liked to have taken a sample of but they didn’t have it for sale.

Some of the other unusual papers they make (the coffee husk one is the brown one 3rd on the right).

I was able to make my own piece of recycled paper using a small mesh frame. The lovely girl that took us on a tour explained about the process starting with waste paper, then that being pulped and having water added to make ‘half stuff’ and then more water added to make ‘stuff’. I had to then scoop my mesh into the stuff and then sponge out the excess water. Then the paper sheet I made was pressed and heated and then I had my own piece of rough paper!



The tour of the mill was very interesting and we saw both a working and a disused paper mill (closed in 2009).

Current paper machine (built in 1902)
Current paper machine (built in 1902)
Old large paper machine (built in 1895)
Old large paper machine (built in 1895)
Seed paper that was taken directly from the machine. The two smaller pieces were taken before pressing (about 80% water) and the larger piece was taken after pressing (50% water).

We also got to see the mill race which is believed to be very old. There is record of it in the doomsday book but it is estimated to be much older than that, perhaps dating back to Roman or Anglo-Saxon times.


Overall the trip was very useful and I hope that, if any of the papers are suitable for the project, I will return to the mill to get some more paper ready for the final printing.


The Museum of Brands – London

Last week I took a trip into London to visit the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising as part of the wider research for my FMP. I thought that it might be useful in understanding the history of branding and what made successful brand campaigns.

museum of brands, packaging and advertising

I thought that the museum collection was very interesting and I learned a bit about the way products were packaged, branded and advertised throughout history. I thought that it was particularly interesting to see the brands such as Johnsons, Lyle’s Golden Syrup and Toblerone that have changed very little over time. This highlighted to me the importance of a timeless brand and getting the design right first time round.


I also thought that it was useful to see that the brands that had lasted the test of time were the ones with particularly unique selling points or iconic visual identities. For example the shape of the Toblerone packaging is very unique and therefore it has lasted very well over time because it stands out from the other, less interestingly packaged products.

Another brand that proved itself to be particularly successful with it’s advertising was Guinness. The witty, clever, illustrated posters by John Gilroy became really popular and very well known. I think that they were so effective because they were simple, clear, bold and featured a good slogan. These are all traits and features that I can include in my project to make sure that the branding is successful.


A Trip to Berlin

I am currently doing a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design and in November 2014, we went on a study trip to Berlin. It was really great because we got the opportunity to explore Berlin and plan our own agendas so it was nothing like a school trip. We visited lots of galleries and did all the tourist clichés like visiting the Berlin Wall and eating currywurst (surprisingly delicious!) but we also went off the beaten track and found some hidden gems.

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^ The Berliner Dom





In Kreuzberg, we came across an amazing, bookshop called Motto that sold arty type books about graphic design, fashion, illustration, photography etc. There was no inch of space in the whole shop that wasn’t being used and there were books piled high everywhere. We spent way too long in there perusing the shelves and wishing we could afford ALL THE THINGS. And then just in case it wasn’t good enough already, we noticed that a cat was also enjoying herself amongst the books. SO CUTE. It turned out that the cat lived there and I decided that I wanted to take it back home with me because it was so friendly and welcoming and I loved it.

^ The cutest cat in Germany

IMG_2000Of course, we visited the East Side Gallery and moved very slowly along it marvelling at the selection of artwork and graffiti on the wall.


^ East and West


^ The Jewish Memorial
^ Part of the beautiful memorial to the Sinti and Roma victims of National Socialism

Before I left for Germany, I was given an old fashioned German record that had a photograph of a Berlin street in the 50s as the album artwork. I set myself the challenge of finding the same view and seeing if/how much it has changed.

IMG_7649 I did manage to track down the same place; it was the famous road called Kurfürstendamm and it hadn’t changed much apart from the addition of a frustratingly placed signpost and a distinct lack of red flowers!

^ Me feeling very pleased to have found the right place

One thing I spotted all over the place in Berlin and was particularly fascinated by was the way that all of the lampposts and traffic lights were pasted with layers upon layers of posters.



On one of our adventures around the less tourist-y parts of the city, we came upon this heavily graffitied alley that was decorated with colourful bunting and it was strangely pretty. At the end of the alley there was a run down looking building with a door that opened straight onto a staircase that was also covered in graffiti, stickers and posters. It was honestly one of the dodgiest looking places I’ve ever been but for some reason we ascended the steps and at the very top we popped out into a shop called Neurotitan that sold prints, posters, cards, badges, comics, records, CD’s etc. Lots of the artwork was by local artists and there was even a little exhibition in a back room. Pretty damn cool.


Seriously, what possessed me to go up here?

IMG_2292Another nice little place was The Barn coffee shop. It sold all sorts of fancy coffees, the most amazing chocolate and nut loaf and served the drinks in little milk bottles so it was by far the most hipster place ever.

IMG_2283Overall, Berlin was a really interesting city and it was fun to spend some time being super arty. I completed a sketchbook whilst there too and I will post pictures later. Auf Weidersen.