‘Fantastic opportunity to develop creativity through collaborative work.’ Teacher, Walbottle Campus
In 2008 the Design Your Life project was focussed on young artists and designers of the future developing the relevant skills needed to succeed in the creative industries.
Students from five regional secondary schools studying Design & Technology and Art and Design worked with designers and gallery educators to create work inspired by the collections at the Shipley Art Gallery, with a view to selling them as part of the Gallery’s annual craft and design exhibition, Christmas Present.
Ideas and Inspiration
The students gained inspiration and ideas from the Designs for Life gallery at the Shipley.The group also used the associated handling collection as a catalyst for ideas and considered form, function and materials. They worked with a designer who offered guidance about practical processes of design as well as insights into the creative industries. In the gallery the pupils used drawing skills and photography as a means of documenting images. They looked at the products in the gallery shop to consider the differences between handmade and machine-made goods.
Designer-maker Carolyn Handley met the pupils in the gallery to show examples of her work and talked about how she makes a living. This was followed by discussions about how the young people wanted to work with Carolyn, within the timescale and budget. Teachers were also able to explore ideas about what type of approach would fit their curriculum needs.
• One Design for Life workshop at the Shipley Art Gallery, which involved; sketching, taking photographs, object handling and evaluating key design pieces.
• 5-10 practical sessions at school.
• One Day at Art Fair held a the Shipley Art Gallery to display final pieces.
Methods and Materials
Thomas Hepburn Community School worked with a ceramic designer to learn new skills and techniques such as slab, coil and basic hand building processes. The use of existing moulds, glazing techniques, spray booth, imprinting, wax resist, black wax and scraffitto were also covered. Prior to submitting the items, pupils learned about labelling, selecting, pricing and displaying the work. This included designing a brand identity for the school.
- All of the work produced by the young people was showcased at the Young Designers Art fair.
- Some works were selected to be displayed and sold alongside those made by professional designer-makers at the Shipley’s annual selling exhibition Christmas Present.
- A large proportion of the work was sold at the events.
- Profits were given to the school to provide art materials for other projects.
- The Director of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums commissioned a student to make another piece.
‘This project has given young people insight into how professional artists and designers make and sell work and a unique opportunity to experience a commercial brief for themselves.’ Project Coordinator, Design your Life.
Tips on running a project like this
• Don’t underestimate how much exploration of designers and artists work is needed.
• Work closely with the gallery or museum to establish the quality of finished work.
• Creating a comprehensive database of students work will help with costing and pricing.
Sacred Heart RC High School
St Thomas More Catholic School
Thomas Hepburn Community School
Walbottle Campus Technology College
Kingsmeadow Community Comprehensive School