Monday

Coutts Christmas Windows 3

Hello! from a nest of wrapping paper and carols I thought I'd just do the final quick blogpost on my new illustrated windows for Coutts. You can see the 26x12 meter GIANT installation at 440 Strand opposite Charing Cross station until the (fast approaching) end of 2014.

I just wanted to share a little bit of the design process as I always find it really interesting when other illustrators do the same! The initial brief from Coutts was wonderfully open, they were interested in a 'Nutcracker Ballet' theme - but this could be approached in any way. So I began by watching the Royal Ballet's Nutcracker on DVD, visiting the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, exploring the dolls houses and dolls at the V&A Museum of Childhood, jewellery boxes with spinning ballerinas and Pollocks Toy Museum in Scala Street exploring toy theatres and paper dolls. I then returned to Coutts with three possible directions for the project...


1. Toy theatre
A giant set inspired by Victorian toy theatres, the theatre surround and curtains was to be vinyl with all the theatre set and ballerinas to be internal flats (similar to the layered window set I created for the Queen Royal Jubilee for Smythson see here)


2. Ballerina
A giant ballerina with a heavily embellished dress featuring all the characters from the Nutcracker in the skirt design in vinyl. The bottom of her skirt forms arches to display a range of the characters  in 3D underneath on spinning motors so they would twirl and dance.


3. Dolls house
A dolls house featuring characters from the Nutcracker in each window, I also suggested that this could also be done as an advent calendar...
...I'm sure you've guessed now that the lovely team at Coutts chose the dolls house, they were very interested in the advent calendar idea and so I went away again and worked up this idea further to come up with this design...


Initially we were all excited about a shuttered house which could reveal a new Nutcracker character each night, but the complexity of requiring a crane for so many evenings in a row prevented this. I wanted to transform the very modern glass building into an old fashioned, grand dolls house, and chose to go with a pretty, ballet colour scheme rather than a red/ green/ gold overtly Christmas colouring.

Coutts were really happy with the house design (they really were fantastic to work with!) and so I worked this up with characters in each windows and mixed up the numbers so the viewers would have to hunt for that days window.


I then sent them the final plan for sign off, got the go ahead, and spent the next month drawing all the characters, windows, building and my nemesis, the holly and ivy down each side of the building which was a labour of love!

I selected the (clever and lovely) team at CColour to print, install and remove the installation. I knew they would deliver fantastic work as I'd previously worked with them on my Harvey Nichols windows in London (see here). They also supplied and installed the most beautiful twinkly lights which are scattered across the holly and ivy and the two Christmas trees.

You can see photos of the finished installation here and here, I am SO VERY PROUD of this project and grateful to the team at Coutts (especially Cat) and the lovely people at CColour x

Next week I'll be back with my 2014 round up looking back over my favourite projects from the last year, until then have a wonderful Christmas, eat and drink far too much, cuddle all friends, pets and family extra tight and I'll see you on the other side chubby and happy x

Thursday

Coutts Christmas Windows 2







Hello, here's a few more photos of my windows at Coutts 440 Strand (taken by the very clever Emma Brown) they're up until the end of 2014 so do go and visit if you're in the area!

It's been the most brilliant week, I spent a few days in Devon walking and relaxing in the beautiful countryside and I'm now back in the studio finishing off some new drawings for Holland & Barrett. This morning I was at my funders Ted Baker sharing the first terms drawings created at my residency (I'm spending a year collaborating with a plant molecular scientist at Royal Holloway University - more info here) and so I had a fantastically exciting morning of show and tell!

Next week I'll be back to show you a little more about the process of creating these windows, the inspiration and design drafts, but until then have a lovely week! x

Coutts Christmas Window 2014












I'm delighted to share some images from my new illustrated advent windows for Coutts at 440 Strand London. I was inspired by the Nutcracker and had the most amazing month drawing all the different characters and it's so great to be able to show you what I've been up to!

They'll be lots more images and sketches from the project to share over the next few weeks, but I couldn't wait to show you the first few images (taken by emmabrownphotography.com). If you're in/ near London it's opposite Charing Cross Station on the Strand so do visit if you can -  it looks really pretty at night as the holly and ivy are covered in twinkly lights!

Have a great week and I'll be back very soon with more! x

Wednesday

Eton Natural History Museum




 







Hello!

I'm so pleased to be able to share this new activity trail for The Natural History Museum at Eton College. I am OBSESSED with museums and galleries, and actually have an MA in Museum Studies where I specialised in gallery education, so this was the most amazing project which allowed me to share my love of drawing and museums!

Working closely with the fantastic staff I wrote and illustrated the trail which explores the life of Joseph Banks, and it's printed onto double sided A3 card which then folds into a booklet. It will be used by schools and family groups visiting the museum and takes them around the exhibits to lean more about Banks.

This week I've been on site at Warehaus, working with the architect and developer to plan the install of my artwork. It's a new retail and residential development at London Fields and I've created 32 doors, a lift panel and a large atrium artwork created from laser cut brass. It's a HUGE job and will be installed in Jan 2015, I'm really looking forward to showing it to you! In the meantime my Christmas window will be installed at Coutts on 440 Strand opposite Charing Cross Road in London and will launch on the 1st Dec so I'll be able to show you that very soon.

After such an intense period of working I'm taking things a bit easier, at the weekend I ran away with Steve to Suffolk to a house with the most incredible views and tomorrow I'm taking the day off to go and see the Horst exhibition at the V&A, Leighton House Museum and to watch Mr Turner at the cinema HURRAH!

Have a great week and keep your eye on my Instagram for the first glimpse of my Christmas windows x

Thursday

Harvey Nichols Christmas Windows 2014





Hello!

My illustrated window for Coutts is now FINISHED! it launches at 440 Strand in London (opposite Charing Cross Station) on the 1st December and I am so excited to show it to you! 

Until then I wanted to share some new drawings commissioned earlier this year for Harvey Nichols. Their wonderful 'Into the Woods' Christmas scheme has now launched and late summer I designed a range of creatures for them to help inform the mannequin characters. I was inspired by texture, a lot of tinsel, pom-poms, pipe cleaners, feathers, wire wool, metallics and bright colours. It was a COMPLETELY different commission from the type of work I usually do, and I loved the challenge and opportunity to be given such an open and interesting brief. My favourite character is the top one, with giant pom-pom ears, feathered arms and hairy feet!

Yesterday I spent the day in London visiting Grayson Perry's stunning exhibition at NPG The National Portrait Gallery, and the Egon Schiele show at the Courtauld. Both shows are incredible, and the NPG one is free so do go if you can, the Courtauld one is about £8 and this includes entry to their magnificent collection which is a bargain!

After such an intense month working on the Coutts window, I'm heading off for a long weekend to Suffolk for a well earned rest (and to celebrate my 17 year anniversary with Steve HURRAH!). I've packed magazines, books, a sketchbook and some new Japanese pens. and I'm looking forward to lazy days of reading and long walks on the beach!

Have a fantastic weekend, and I'll be back next week with new work for Eton Natural History Museum x

Sunday

Vitamin D for Holland & Barrett


Hello, I just wanted to quickly share this new illustration for Holland & Barrett about vitamin D supplements. I'm working really hard on finishing off my illustrated Christmas windows for Coutts at the moment - nearly there now as it launches on the 1st Dec and I can't wait to show you!

Back soon... x

Residency update

Hello!

I just wanted to give you a little update on my residency progress this week...

(Each Friday over the course of a year I am working as Artist in Residence at Royal Holloway University in the Plant Molecular Science department funded by the lovely folk at Ted Baker - more info here)

It's the MOST exciting thing I have EVER done, endlessly inspiring, engaging and provoking. I am particularly interested in the Herbarium (pressed plant specimen collection) discovered last week. Particularly the older plants with the glorious copper plate hand written labels!


This inspired me to attend a 'Contemporary Calligraphy' class in London led by Imogen Owen and organised by Quill London (highly HIGHLY recommend!) 


I've also been learning to use the departments microscopes...


Conducting experiments...


Exploring the archives...



and (of course) doing lots and lots and lots and lots of drawing!...




I am also doing a HUGE amount of reading in developmental biology, plant science and synthetic biology, I have regular seminars, group reading sessions and will start to attend lectures next term.

I am loving collaborating, stepping so far outside of my knowledge and comfort zone and embracing all the learning and failing which this is entailing. I look forward to sharing more details as the months progress, but you can watch snaps of my progress each week on Instagram here

In other news... I've just finished two new drawings for Holland & Barrett, and I am DELIGHTED to announce that the Christmas window I am VERY busily creating at the moment is for Coutts. It will launch on the 1st December at 440 The Strand (opposite Charing Cross Station in London) and will be my largest window so far, I'm SO proud of it and cannot wait to share it with you very soon! x