I first heard about this project about 18 months ago over a coffee with my then neighbour Chris Roberts. He had started a little side project meeting, photographing and interviewing craftsmen and makers - people who run their own business built on their passion for the product and process.
Cut to now after one failed and a second successful kickstarter campaign the With Love book has finally landed on my table and it's a thing of beauty. (Good work lads!) Full of inspiring case studies and beautiful photography from projects and businesses of passion from around the UK. It's lovingly put together and well worth getting your hands on.
Now in its eighth year, Designs of the Year celebrates design that promotes or delivers change, enables access, extends design practice or captures the spirit of the year. Someday the other museums will be showing this stuff.
Some great work on display... and I love the BMW i8.
Finally I squeezed in a quick visit to the Barbican for the "World of Charles and Ray Eames" exhibition. I got there 20 mins before it closed and the attendant advised me it takes 2 hours to see it all. I whizzed round in 15 mins... here are the highlights!
After being featured in the Adweek Talent Gallery a couple of months ago, I'm pleased to say that the project I worked on for Scotts Menswear has now been featured on Behance, as part of their Web Design Served curated gallery. Check out the full project here or follow me on Behance.
The Whitworth, Manchester's gallery in the park, has just reopened after a £15 million renovation and expansion. Having never been before I had been wanting to check it out since the re-opening, and its well worth a visit. There's good mixture of exhibitions from photography, portraits, sculpture and art, with the exhibition spaces also adding their own character to the displays.
The park location is great, especially on a sunny day like day. Whether you're inside and catching glimpses of green out side or outside where the new glass extension cantilevers into the park.
My highlights were: The 1960s: Works by Peter Blake, Bridget Riley and others reveal the riotous colour, fashion and art of the era and Cornelia Parker's solo show. Cai Guo-Qiang, Unmanned Nature looked interesting, but there was a big queue so I just poked my head round the corner for that. Also worth noting is the 'War Room', a large space lined with the left over cutting sheets from the production of memorial poppy's.
Today in the UK we witnessed a rare astronomical occurance, a solar eclipse. A solar eclipse is where the moon moves in between the earth and the sun, blocking out the sun's light for a short period of time.
Its really impressive to witness, and is one of the only times you get a sense of being apart of system of moving rocks in space, and just how small we are.
The eclipse reached at around 83% coverage in the UK, with only two places on earth getting a full 100% coverage.
The next solar eclipse in the UK won't be until 2026.
Over the weekend I received my copy of 'One Thing I Know' published by Creative England, and featuring original articles and illustration pieces from some of the UK’s top creatives. Compiling hard-earned insights from creative entrepreneurs from across the UK, the series of articles interspersed with beautiful illustrations is aimed at passing their experience down to the next generation. This is first-hand advice from those who have experienced it - and overcome it - themselves.
The printed version of One Thing I Know is available now for free, all you have to do is pay the cost of the postage. Alternatively head over to onethingiknow.co.uk to check out some of the articles and illustrations online.
I've made a conscious effort recently not to blog other peoples work as much, and concentrate more on personal topics. Others peoples work is better for sharing on twitter and/or pinterest. However recently I was asked to write a blog post for the TBWA\Manchester blog about something that inspires me, so i thought I would share it here too.
As a designer attention to detail and craft is important to me, but micro-sculpter Willard Wigan MBE takes this to a whole new level with his miniature sculptures which are almost invisible to the naked eye. He possesses a complete control over hand and body to move minute tools and mould molecular fibres. Wigan creates his sculptures which he displays mounted on pin heads or within the eye of a needle, using homemade tools and then paints them with a hair removed from a houseflys back.
Because the works are microscopic, the sculptor has learned to control his nervous system and breathing to ensure he does not make even the tiniest movement. Wigan, when working, enters a meditative state in which his heartbeat is slowed, allowing him to reduce any hand tremors and work between heartbeats. BETWEEN HEARTBEATS. Just think about it for a second.
His work and artistry is truly inspiring, if we all attempted to take this much focus and concentration with our work, then the world would certainly be a better place for it.
More of Willard’s work can be found at willard-wigan.com or you can listen to him talk about his process and inspiration with his TED talk.
Hong Kong-based designer Yiu Yu Hoi turns his fast-paced city into a slow moving dream with the use of infrared photography. He first learned about this technique from photography forums which got him "totally fascinated" with how shockingly different he could make his city scenes appear.
Look through his photos and you'll notice that Hoi seeks out trees in Hong Kong, making them look vibrant in their pink-ish tone. "The glowing trees can be obtained in-camera, but they are bluish straight out of camera," he tells us. "A more natural reddish tone could be available by simply swapping Blue and Red channels in Photoshop. That is a very popular, yet powerful way to develop colored infrared photos."
Infrared photography has the ability to show us what the eye cannot see, it's the art of capturing invisible light. These days, digital photographers can use filters and image-editing software like Photoshop to achieve this otherworldly effect.
Yiu Yu Hoi's photos can also be found in the third issue of his quarterly publication 16HOURS Magazine, Urban. 16HOURS is the result of two designers, each on opposite sides of the world, collaborating on a magazine aimed to get you inspired from each and every angle of life. A quarterly publication where each issue is based around a specific theme, to date there has been: Wanderlust, Home and now Urban. To capture these themes and feelings in print they collect art to showcase from photographers, designers, illustrators and writers from around the world.
It's called 16HOURS because that's the time difference between Calgary, Canada and Sydney, Australia, the two cities where you'll find the designers who curate and put the magazine together.
For me, the most interesting thing about the Comedy Carpet (one of the UK’s biggest ever pieces of public art which opened yesterday), is the typography and its actual production.
Collaborative artist, Gordon Young was inspired and supported in researching the content for the carpet by Blackpool-based comedy expert, Barry Band and historian and writer Graham Mccann, and on the typography and layout by graphic designer Andy Altmann of why not associates.
image: blackpool council
Five years in the making: one of the most complex pieces of public art ever commissioned at first sight, the comedy carpet looks as if the text is painted, but in fact each of the 160,000+ letters has been individually cut from 30mm solid granite or cobalt blue concrete, arranged into over 300 slabs and then cast into high quality, gleaming white concrete panels. The letters range in size from a few centimetres to over a metre so viewers can enjoy it both close up and from the glass viewing platform in the blackpool tower eye.
The scale and incredibly complex nature of the work meant that comedy carpet team even had to set up its own bespoke studio to make the artwork. after several months of research with input from chemists and engineers the comedy carpet team devised new techniques and recipes for production including a special mix to produce the hardest and whitest of concrete and the perfect blue that won’t fade. The process of making each of the 320 slabs involved many complex stages from cutting, sorting, fettling, and laying out each of the letters, to a 3-stage casting process, curing, trimming, grinding and polishing. and that’s before it was transported to Blackpool for the installation on the headland.
gordon young selects letters for a part of the comedy carpet image: blackpool council
Created as part of the major regeneration of the promenade, the comedy carpet was commissioned by blackpool council, with part of a £4m grant from cabe’s seachange programme. catchphrases, jokes and songs from more than a 1000 comedians are now immortalised in concrete and granite artwork which is situated at the foot of blackpool tower.
Artist Gordon Young has been working in the public realm for over 20 years creating pieces that mine rich seams of social history, engage communities and extend the relationships between art and architecture. at the heart of all gordon’s young’s work is language - words that entice, fascinate and on the comedy carpet, amuse. titter ye not, just like that, oooo-er matron, nudge, nudge wink, wink, oh betty! suit you sir, yeah but no but, what’s on the stick vic? , in the comedy carpet young has created a giant 'giggle map' immortalising the UK’s favourite comedians and comic writers fromthe hey day of music hall to 21st century stand up.