DESIGN: A CREATIVE AFTERNOON WITH NANCY STRAUGHAN & EMMA BLOCK
Do you want to be more creative in 2017?
One of my main goals this new year is to get back into creating prints and patterns for potential products, and "doing" more art. I've had a busy six months setting up the blog; building this new website (boy was that time consuming), getting to grips with social media, dabbling in graphic design and learning the basics of how the hell my new fancy camera works; it's all been GREAT but has resulted in a lot of screen time; my poor old paintbrushes have dried up and I feel it's now time to get them out again and actually get creating! I always find popping along to a workshop helps me get my creative mojo back and I went along to do just that a few months ago.
I have always been obsessed with pattern!
I have always been obsessed with pattern and print. I didn't ever study textile or surface pattern design but have always had little pattern projects on the go, this is one of my first designs above. It wasn't until I designed my own wallpaper prints for our home that I really got bitten by the design bug. Learning how to actually put a repeat into the pattern for the printing process however was something I always avoided, because to be honest, I thought it would be too complicated and I had the luxury of depending on my printer to sort it out for me.
Then I found this workshop on Instagram!
I found Nancy and Emma's repeat pattern workshop purely by chance one day, just flicking through Instagram (I love it for that!). I came across one of Nancy Straughan's posts and immediately loved her designs and personality, subsequently seeing Emma's work and the date for a course cemented the ticket purchase! Due to popular demand I missed out on the first workshop but was lucky enough to get a space on the second.
Emma is a freelance designer and illustrator, her work is utterly charming and so pretty. She creates really fun and uplifting designs in an array of soft colours with amazing detail. Emma's work is regularly featured on greeting cards, packaging, in magazines and children's books and similarly with Nancy's work, I instantly connected with it.
Nancy, also a freelance print designer based in London creates a range of lovely prints and patterns on a range of products with an emphasis on ethically sourced fabrics and materials. I love the different textures and depth Nancy so effortesly achieves in her prints and find her approach and passion for her craft really inspiring.
The workshop was held in a cosy corner of the West Elm furniture and lifestyle store cafe on the Tottenham Court Road in London; a great place to visit if you ever have the chance!
Nancy and Emma talked us through their creative processes and showed us examples of how they work which was fascinating. With tea and cake on tap it made for a really relaxed afternoon. Aside from learning the technique itself which was invaluable, Nancy and Emma took us through lots of other practical and useful tips for creating patterns and gave us all some great contacts for printers and suppliers of materials. I had a go at a pattern repeat when I got home and this very rough design below is a pattern I am now working on, a version of it is at the top of the page! Although I have to practice a bit more it's fab to know that I have the know how and I can turn this into something workable.
The class was really informative, friendly and fun and there was lots of interesting content to digest.
A bit of practical work on learning the pattern repeat technique by hand, followed by a Q & A wrapped up the afternoon really nicely and I was able to have a little chat with Nancy and Emma afterwards which was great.
Why I recommend a workshop like Nancy and Emma's...
1. GET TO MEET NEW, LIKE MINDED PEOPLE
2. LEARN A NEW SKILL
3. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE AND MORE IMPORTANTLY GET OFF A SCREEN
4. RELAX AND UNWIND WITHOUT DISTRACTION
5. LEARN FROM AND BE INSPIRED BY INDUSTRY EXPERTS
Honestly I got so much out of going along to the workshop with Nancy and Emma and came away feeling really fired up and excited to take away what I had learnt and put it into practice. I think it's all too easy to be "creative" with things like Pinterest but it's a different experience when you are actively being creative with your own hands and using your imagination - good therapy for us all!
Feeling inspired? Get in touch for future courses and workshops in London
Emma has some exciting Brush Lettering and Watercolour workshops coming up in January and February so be sure to head to the website HERE to find out more information.
I hope this has inspired you to go and get creative and would love to hear from you if you have done a creative workshop before.