Last Wednesday I traveled up to London to meet up with two old college friends. It's always quite an effort planning a trip to London. Firstly there is finding childcare, secondly there is the list of instructions, thirdly all the prepping of packed suppers/bags of football kit/Brownie uniform/ envelopes of £5 cash for Brownie cake sale etc, etc that somehow take the joy and spontaneity out of spending a day in London. All this extra planning used to put me off a day out, but more recently I have been appreciating the need to escape and actually see things and people.
I'd arranged to meet Lindsay and Tomoko at the V&A café – Lindsay is the very talented designer who founded The Black Rabbit and Tomoko, again very talented, founded the label, The Notebook and is also one of the knit tutors at Chelsea. We had great discussions over lunch, remembering what others in our college year are doing now and generally the highs and lows of working within design, textiles and fashion industries.
After lunch we wandered around the galleries of the V&A. Tomoko and I reminisced about our first 4 weeks as students at Chelsea College of Art and Design BA design course where we spent 2 solid weeks drawing the exhibits at the V&A followed by a further 2 weeks drawing at Kew Gardens. It was a very intensive drawing module and the emphasis was about careful observation and recording in a very detailed, realistic manner. I didn't have a mobile phone at that point or a camera! Our drawings were the only record of our day.
After the V&A we all went onto the RCA final show of textiles, jewellery and ceramics and on from there Lindsay had a ticket to see the New Designers show. Tomoko and I went to visit her studio space in Hampstead – Livingstone Studios.
The following day Lindsay sent me a link to Zoe Murphy’s Instagram feed and her thoughts on the New Designer’s show. She had written the following –
“There is a lot at New Designers. It's inspiring to see the next generation of textile designers fruiting, and knowing that some of them are going to be major parts of the next 20 years of the industry. There are swathes of students working with cut paper and abstract wonky crude shapes (a style that I have loved so much recently) that look amazing but all form such a big part of the show that it was hard to appreciate it as much more than a trend. I think Pinterest is part responsible for the homogenising of creative influence at graduate events, I’m going to encourage students to pick up more books and go to more galleries in the future.” Zoe Murphy - www.zoemurphy.com (follow her on instagram @zoemurphydesign )
This struck a chord for me, not just applicable to students, but to everyone. It's so easy now to feel like we are seeing it all through our screens but unless we make the effort to get out, see and engage - we miss out. I am certainly going to heed this sage advice and make the effort to pack up the football and Brownie kit knowing that experiencing in reality is far more beneficial than the easy route of staying in.