We asked Harriet Vine, founder of independent British jewellers Tatty Devine, to choose the first of our Ones to Watch, 70 up-and-coming designers who we’ll be showcasing as part of our 70th anniversary celebrations.
The story of Tatty Devine
Scouting for Ones to Watch
Harriet joined us at New Designers, the UK’s largest graduate exhibition, to help us look for innovative, ambitious and visionary jewellery, textile, print, ceramic and surface designers.
Q. How was your day of scouting at New Designers?
There was so much lovely work! Across the board I noticed a recurring theme of prehistoric and nautical references – lots of knotting in the jewellery, lots of rope and other natural materials.
The was also a lot of cross-pollination of techniques going on – illustration applied to textiles, and print with fine art for example, which I really enjoyed. I really love seeing something so new that you’re not entirely sure what it is you are looking at.
Q. What made you go wow?
Winchester University stood out to me because of the way they came across so well as a collective. They had an edgy signature style but maintained individuality in the graduates’ work. They really had their finger on the pulse. I was surprised to see this from Winchester – and I like to be surprised!
Q. What did you want to see more of?
I’d like to see more crazy stuff.
While the work was of a high standard it had a commercial quality – and understandably so. The students are preparing their portfolios for employers, which is savvy of them and most likely the objective they’ve been set.
Every student should be encouraged to go a bit bonkers, only then can you push the boundaries of what you and your discipline are allowed to be
Personally though, I think that college is the time to let loose. Yes, a balance needs to be struck, but I do believe that every student should be encouraged to go a bit bonkers because only then can you push the boundaries of what you and your discipline are allowed to be. That’s when you can ignite your passion, hone your skills and find innovation – and surely that’s what employers are really looking for.
Q. How did it compare with your experience of exhibiting as an up-and-coming designer?
What I love about seeing new work is the stories that come through – you’re really seeing people’s hopes and dreams on display and that hasn’t changed over the years.
The main difference is how commercially ready a lot of the work exhibited is now. Back when I started out we weren’t quite as switched on, there was more innocence I suppose. I think it’s a sign of times, the economic climate and access to information and knowledge online.
Q. Did you see today anything that was a game-changer?
I think Sofie Boons, the alchemical jeweller, who I’ve picked as One to Watch, is doing really exceptional work. Her work with nanoparticles is amazing and truly unexpected. By working collaboratively she’s created new concepts and materials that could have applications for years to come.
What drew you to your five Ones to Watch?
Hannah Lois Sangwin
Birmingham City University
Hannah Sangwin created her Monochromatic Modifications by hand drawing hundreds of her black and white geometric designs without the aid of a computer – a beautiful obsession like this can take you far! Her monochromatic, graphic / print pieces stood out from her peers, showing a drive and commitment to the vision.
Mary Grace Locke
Mary Locke’s work in surface design was beautiful, tactile and had a sensibility that felt very fresh to me. To create something so new but also so versatile makes Mary and her Wall Jewellery One to Watch.
Central St Martins
Rebecca Skelton’s The Sequence of Making displayed a charming sense of experimentation. Magnifying the scale of certain components to a degree I hadn’t really seen before – it shows bravery an important quality for a One to Watch.
Bucks New University
Rebecca Price’s Store and Pour jars are a simple idea very well executed. A beautiful object that helps solve an everyday problem – I can certainly never remember how much rice to cook! – and tackles a much bigger issue around healthy eating. It removes the mystery in a really discrete way and that is design at its best.
Royal College of Art
Alchemical jeweller, Sofie Boons is totally switched on to the magic of scientific collaboration. By spotting the potential of the colour changing properties of nanoparticles she has created a whole new material to work with. She’s not just created a piece of jewellery from this, she’s created a story that people can buy into and that’s what people really want these days.
Are you One to Watch?
Over the next few months we’ll be putting choosing 70 designers who we feel represent the future of British design, the Design Council’s Ones to Watch.
We’re looking for designers whose work shows bags of vision, ambition and innovation - with the potential to build the UK’s reputation as a world leader in design.
If this sounds like you, find out how you can nominate yourself to be a Design Council One to Watch.
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