Designer Maker Blog 2017

Use the drop down headings under the main ‘Designer Maker’ menu to see other resources

Denim Jack cropped

Each month I write a blog linked to my work as a designer maker. This blog is very different to the one I write as a D&T teacher. It focuses only on textiles and is not limited to D&T textiles which is the main focus of my work in D&T. It therefore varies from D&T based textiles themes to craft textiles, art textiles and anything else textiles related that catches my eye. 

Scroll down to see the blogs for this year.

See blogs from previous years 

Festive Fun!

Return to the main Designer Maker blog page

L IMG 8612

January is a time for looking forward to the New Year but instead I’m going to look back to December when I got into the Christmas spirit with an activity based advent calendar rather than the usual chocolates. I had great fun seeing what was behind each window every day - even better when I’d not been able to open the windows for several days and had a bumper hour building elves, snow ploughs, candles and various other festive themed items (and some not so festive!). Here’s a look back to what was in my calendar. 

L Elf
L IMG 9328
L IMG 9324
advent calendar
L IMG 9432
rudolph mrs & mr Claus
LL IMG 9468


See blogs from previous years

Look in the side bar to view other blogs I write on textiles, D&T, education & coaching 

Contact:     Tel 01159 607061   Mob 07972 749240  Email julie@julieboyd.co.uk

2017 Product in a Tin Competition for Schools Winners & Runners Up

Return to the main Designer Maker blog page

socks in a tin

Each year I run a competition for schools and for the last few years the theme has been a ‘product in a tin’. The competition is inspired by socks sold in a tin by Jollie Socks and competition entrants have to design and make a product of their choice that will fit into tin the same size as a Pringles snack sized tin. The Jollie Socks tin acts as the packaging for the socks to be sold in but, for the competition, it's optional for entrants to decorate the tin, instead it mainly acts as a size restraint for the product. 

Entries usually start arriving around late Spring each year, finishing at the beginning of August when the competition closes. It's is always such a pleasure to open the entries and to see such a wide variety of outcomes, most of which are to a high standard. It’s also a pleasure to read the application forms that accompany each product and to find out what inspired the design. Take a look below at this year’s competition winners and runners up. 


First Prize Winner

Ellie Hadlington Prize Giving

Ellie Hadlington, a student at Wolverhampton Girls' High School, won first prize in the 2017 competition with a fabulous dementia cuff inspired by a course she attended on the needs of dementia sufferers. Find out more about Ellie’s entry and what inspired her here, along with full details on all competition winners.

1st Place 2017


2nd & 3rd Prize Runners Up

2nd place 2017
joint 3rd 2017
joint 3rd place 2017


#InspiredBy and Merit Prizes

Product in a tin competition
Product in a tin competition 2


See more details on all of the 2017 competition winners

See full details about this year's competition


See blogs from previous years

Look in the side bar to view other blogs I write on textiles, D&T, education & coaching 

Contact:     Tel 01159 607061   Mob 07972 749240  Email julie@julieboyd.co.uk

Getting Creative at Christmas

Return to the main Designer Maker blog page

L IMG 8612

Who doesn’t love an advent calendar for Christmas? Here’s one that’s also good for your waistline as instead of chocolates you get to build a Christmas character each day using Wilko’s Blox (a cheaper version of Lego although it does have to be said it is no where near the quality of Lego). The box opens up so you can showcase what you build to create a Christmas scene.

This idea instantly appealed to me as being a bit more creative and interactive than the usual advent calendar so this month’s blog is going to be a little bit different. Roll on 1st December!

See blogs from previous years

Look in the side bar to view other blogs I write on textiles, D&T, education & coaching 

Contact:     Tel 01159 607061   Mob 07972 749240  Email julie@julieboyd.co.uk

Freddie Gilroy & the Belsen Stragglers

Return to the main Designer Maker blog page

Freddie Gilroy & the Belsen Stragglers

L IMG 5588

Back in the summer we visited Scarborough as part of a birthday celebration. It has been many years since we visited the area so there were lots of new things to explore, particularly around North Beach where we stayed and which we don’t remember ever visiting before.

A quieter side of the town, North Beach is also the home to a giant steel sculpture called Freddie Gilroy & the Belsen Stragglers. The sculpture by Ray Lonsdale celebrates Freddie Gilroy, a former miner, who, as a young man, was one of the first Allied troops to enter Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp where they discovered 60,000 prisoners, most of whom were seriously ill, along with thousands of unburied bodies.

L IMG 5814

The sculpture represents everyday people who are pulled out of their ordinary lives because of war, and in doing so who experience extraordinary things which impact on their lives in a profound way.

 Although Freddie was originally from County Durham, the sculpture became a permanent fixture in Scarborough after it was on display there for a short period. A local pensioner donated money to keep the sculpture in the town and it has been a permanent feature ever since.

L IMG 5820

The sculpture is incredible for its size, how it uses the material and for the emotion of both the story and the character within the sculpture itself. It is something that is well worth a visit if you are ever in the area as only being near it can really communicate the sense of scale and emotion of the piece.

Ray Lonsdale also has another giant sculpture in nearby Filey called High Tide in Short Wellies. Also made from steel the sculpture is inspired by the decline in the fishing industry, a traditional source of income for the local area. 

There is also another steel structure built by Lonsdale in his home town of County Durham titled Eleven O One.

Find out more about the work of Ray Lonsdale

See blogs from previous years

Look in the side bar to view other blogs I write on textiles, D&T, education & coaching 

Contact:     Tel 01159 607061   Mob 07972 749240  Email julie@julieboyd.co.uk

Knit for Peace (& Your Own Wellbeing)

Return to the main Designer Maker blog page

Knitting was one of the first textiles skills I learnt and it is something I have done on and off over the years, especially when I was a lot younger. I even chose hand knitting as an area to specialise in the final year of my degree. 

LL knitting needles and yarn 7300

It came as no surprise to me to see the results of a study for Knit for Peace which said that the health benefits of knitting are significant, including lowering blood pressure, increasing sense of well being and purpose, encouraging activity, offering opportunities for social interaction as well as much more. 

The report also identified that the benefits increased when knitters had a reason to knit beyond the obvious family and friends. This was particularly of interest to me as one of the reasons I stopped knitting in later life was because you can only knit yourself and others so many jumpers before you (and they!) get bored. This has been the case with a lot of the creative work I do and it’s been the reason I have gone through different phases focusing on different textiles techniques. Indeed one of the reasons I started selling my own work was to give myself a purpose. 

The aim of the Knit for Peace organisation is to support those in need, whether it be refugees from Syria, street children in India or for hospitals in the UK, along with giving knitters a purpose for their work. The website has lots of resources to get knitters started, including patterns, information on knitting groups, and different causes knitting can be donated to. Knitters can take on simple or more complex challenges depending on their skills and the time they have available. 

I’m going to take part in their Keep Britain Warm campaign making knitted dressing gowns. The knitting is very basic - just lots of knitted squares sewn together but this will be something I can pick and and put down without having to follow a pattern and it will be something I and even if I only have a limited amount of time. Why not get involved too?

See the Knit for Peace report on the benefits of knitting


See blogs from previous years

Look in the side bar to view other blogs I write on textiles, D&T, education & coaching 

Contact:     Tel 01159 607061   Mob 07972 749240  Email julie@julieboyd.co.uk

Adventures with Millie in Liverpool

L IMG 7404

This weekend we visited Liverpool, my husband’s home town, along with my niece Millie. She says Liverpool is one of her favourite towns because there is so much to see and do and because of the atmosphere and vibrancy of the city. 

L IMG 7395

As with most of our visits to any city we're always on the lookout for anything creative and this visit was no exception. The day started off with a bit of shopping and seeing this fabulous colourful canopy of umbrellas in one of the main shopping areas. Next we visited the Tate Gallery to see the famous ‘The Bed’ by Tracey Emin. The controversial piece art was interesting to see if only to try and understand why the last time it was sold it fetched 2.5 million pounds! Millie wasn’t very impressed and thought her bedroom looked worse!

L Tracey Emin The Bed IMG 4297

Much more impressive were the lambananas sculptures inspired by Japanese artist Taro Chiezo, original superlambanana, which itself was inspired by lamb and bananas being popular goods travelling through the busy docks in the past. 

L lambanana0074

Equally impressive and inspiring was the architecture of the town with contemporary and traditional architecture sitting side by side. One of the things Millie particularly likes is the variety of architecture and the impressive size of things which gives the city a grand and vibrant feel. We saw some of the architecture from the famous ferry that crosses the Mersey, on a windy day it was a little cold but well worth it. 

Liverpool

As well as visiting the city we also visited the beach at Crossby to see the Antony Gormley ‘Another Feature’ statues on the Beach. 

L IMG 7781

This is a permanent installation of 100 cast iron life size figures spread out along 3 kilometres of the shore and going almost one kilometre out to sea. It’s quite a powerful thing to see the figures, especially the ones in the sea itself. 

Andrew Gormley

A fabulous few days in a fabulous city with lots of inspiration and ideas. We all look forward to visiting again soon. 

L IMG 7753 edited-1


See more of Millie’s design and make adventures!

See blogs from previous years

Look in the side bar to view other blogs I write on textiles, D&T, education & coaching 

Contact:     Tel 01159 607061   Mob 07972 749240  Email julie@julieboyd.co.uk

Mowgs Baskets

It’s been a couple of months since my last blog as life has been so busy. It’s a shame as I see so much inspiration around me that I’d like to showcase on the blog, but with so many other things going on, I often don’t get chance to upload a post. So much of what I see that inspires me is in unusual places and it’s these unexpected surprises that I like the most. Recently on a long road trip we stopped off at Gloucester Services, somewhere we had never stopped before. What an unexpected surprise this was as the services are a fabulous example of eco design along with a big focus on giving the user a great experience. Instead of the traditional fast food restaurants there was a great restaurant with fresh local produce, along with an amazing farm shop. It’s not often you see a fully blown butcher’s department in a service station! 

L IMG 4080

In the farm shop I spotted these Mowgs bags made out of repurposed plastic strapping that has been woven. The bags were a riot of colour and immediately caught my eye. On returning home I investigated the weblink on the swing ticket and discovered the bags are all hand made, making each one unique, and that they are made by artisan weavers who use traditional rattan basket weaving techniques. 

Mowgs

Instead of using traditional materials the weavers upcycle the packing tape waste found locally. The bags are distributed by a British company with the aim of supporting the artisan workers and creating items from what would otherwise be waste. 

Mowgs bags
LL IMG 4081

What a great way of supporting a local community as well as using up common plastic waste. Find out more about Mowgs bags. 


Return to the main Designer Maker blog page


See blogs from previous years

Look in the side bar to view other blogs I write on textiles, D&T, education & coaching 

Contact:     Tel 01159 607061   Mob 07972 749240  Email julie@julieboyd.co.uk

3D Printing

NCCD

When my niece Millie visits us for a day out she gets dragged along to all sorts of museums, galleries and creative venues. Her visit over Easter was no different with a visit to the 3D printing exhibition at the National Centre for Craft and Design in Sleaford, Lincolnshire. 

IMG 2202

The exhibition showcased a wide range of applications for 3D printing from ceramics, textiles, metal and even 3D printed food. 

There was some impressive items on display, but when you're fourteen, guess what's the first thing you think of doing with a state of the art 3D printed hand?

After our visit to the museum we went into nearby Lincoln for shopping and some retail therapy! Another great day creative out!

L IMG 3325


See more of Millie’s design and make adventures!

See blogs from previous years

Look in the side bar to view other blogs I write on textiles, D&T, education & coaching 

Contact:     Tel 01159 607061   Mob 07972 749240  Email julie@julieboyd.co.uk

Proud Teacher Moment!

I have taught many students over the years and one of the ‘perks’ of the job is being able to play a small part in sparking an interest in design in a young person and then seeing that grow. 

I love to hear what my ex students have gone on to do, particularly if it related to design in some way. I was therefore very proud to hear that Nicholas Daley, an ex student in my last school, is one of just fifteen designers recently awarded NEWGEN support by the British Fashion Council. This supports new and emerging talent with the aim of helping them build global, high end fashion brands of the future. Nick has already had some success with his work being stocked in a couple of outlets in London, as well as considerable success in Japan, so hopefully this NEWGEN support will help him develop his business further.

Nick Daley
L Hamburger bean bag

Both at GCSE and A level Nick was always an adventurous designer. For his GCSE he designed a giant hamburger bean bag complete with separate layers of bun, burger and salad all of which were over a metre in size! For his AS level he designed a man's jacket with a hood fitted with integrated MP3 player speakers (long before integrated headphones and speakers appeared in the shops), and for his A2 he created a man’s see through PVC coat with a shirt underneath. 

Seeing students go on to exciting futures such as Nick's is very rewarding and it makes all the hard work (and paper work!) as a teacher worthwhile.

Take a look at Nick’s collections as a menswear designer


Return to the main Designer Maker blog page


See blogs from previous years

Look in the side bar to view other blogs I write on textiles, D&T, education & coaching 

Contact:     Tel 01159 607061   Mob 07972 749240  Email julie@julieboyd.co.uk

Creative t.shirts

Who says boys’ clothes have to be boring!

Fish t.shirt

The boys’ clothing buying at Sainsbury’s is obviously a big fan of 3D appliqué and lift up flaps as each season they seem to have at least one t.shirt or jumper featuring some sort of 3D appliqué effect. In fact so much so that I regularly visit that aisle just to have a look at the latest design! 

George the pig t.shirt

I think my favourite is the George Pig that has 4 pockets that unbutton to reveal a story about George’s trip to the woods.

Dinosaur t.shirt

Some designs are quite complex whereas others are effective because of their simplicity. Many use very clever designs that make them extra cute! They are, however, all great fun and much more interesting than the clothes the supermarkets sells for girls!

knitted hoodie with scales
superman t.shirt
Race zone t.shirt
space rocket
Jungle adventure
Tow truck applique t.shirt
Peppa Pig
Dinosaur applique
bus taxi 3D t.shirt
airplane applique t.shirt


Return to the main Designer Maker blog page


See blogs from previous years

Look in the side bar to view other blogs I write on textiles, D&T, education & coaching 

Contact:     Tel 01159 607061   Mob 07972 749240  Email julie@julieboyd.co.uk


© Julie Boyd 2012  All  text, images & ideas on this website are the copyright of Julie Boyd & may not be copied or reproduced without permission.. All rights Reserved.