The Giraffe takes on the COW… As part of my course at Nottingham Trent university I was lucky enough to take part in a Lord Whitney workshop. For those of you that haven’t heard of Lord Whitney, they are a prop making duo and with a beautiful company and great workshops to get involved with.… Continue reading VM at COW Vintage Nottingham
As I sit here listening to the sound track for the tenth time after only seeing it last night, it just puts me in a good mood…or though I can’t say the same for my house mates. ‘“La La Land” is set in contemporary Los Angeles, but its heart and soul are rooted in the… Continue reading La La Land Film Review
If you have me on any form of social media over the past week, you’ve probably noticed I won’t shut up about the fact I was in Berlin… Lucky for you I’m about to talk about it in even more detail. I wanted to outline our itinerary and what we achieved in the days we… Continue reading The Lanky Giraffe takes Berlin
So, meeting new people and making new friends is so important when in the creative industry. A few weeks ago at Nottingham Fashion week I was lucky enough to bump into the lovely Christina Bentley, a local jewellery designer and freelance graphics designer. We hit it off immediately when I asked to take a picture of her for my street style post, she told me how she makes hand made jewellery. Following this I checked out the TirNaNog Instagram and fell in love with the beautiful rings, if you know me personally you’ll know I’m a little bit obsessed with rings.
Wanting to know more, I asked to interview her about her brand! So in a little coffee shop in Notts town centre she shared her wisdom. We sat down and Christina had bought some of the rings with her, giving me the chance to have a proper nose. They were beautifully made and strikingly sophisticated, I recommend to anyone that you have to have a TirNaNog ring!
“I actually bumped into a friend at a festival, he’s a DJ, he had this really nice necklace on and I was saying ‘oh I really like it!’… it caught my eye. It was really unusual, he told me he made it. And I was like ‘what?!’. I wasn’t expecting that, Id never really considered jewellery making before. He said he just did a course, it helped him with writer’s block (he’s a producer with his music), it was a good outlet for him. I also think, as I used to work in events and as a creative person its nice to have something tangible at the end of it.”
Where does the name come from?
“Basically its an old Irish tale. Translated, or roughly translated in means land of eternal youth or land of the young. My mum, when I was a baby, named our house TirNaNog. So it was our little home together.”
So your mum’s Irish?
“Yer! So it was really nice and I’ve always just really liked the name. And obviously we moved and I now live in bumblebee house. We always have unusual named houses (and) I wanted to do something with that name, so I chose it! My mum was like ohh I didn’t realise you even remembered that! Difficult having to name it, because it started off as a hobby. And like my friend, just something to do creatively in my spare time.”
Do you do the jewellery full time now?
“I’m a freelance graphic designer and this is kind of like a hobby but I had so many friends and friends of friends getting in touch saying they wanted to buy them! Because I did graphic design I have to brand everything! I was thinking more about the packaging and the website design, and all of that, before thinking about what I’m actually going to make. I had my logo before I’d even finished my course! Everything’s got to be on point!”
So you designed everything, including the logo?
“Yes! And the website is just through Etsy. I kind of put off doing things through Etsy for a while, lots of people on my course had set up an Etsy shop. And I didn’t know if I wanted to? I think the problem with Etsy, as great as it is, is that you are a needle in a hay stack. There a million guys and girls out there making jewellery, like mine. You know? And its difficult to get your self out there. I try and push the website more-so than my Etsy shop. Because when your on Etsy you’ve got ‘you might also like’ these 200 hundred other jewellery designers. Which is great but it kind of takes away from your own brand. I like having all my branding there together, all clean and isolated. So its got its pros and cons. Its easy and obviously it takes care of loads of issues with just having a shop, having that inter face. It would be really difficult to build that from scratch.”
Ok so what inspires your work? Is there any particular artists or other jewellery designers that you look to for inspiration?
“I try and not look at other jewellery designers. Just because, and it’s the same with any design work I do. If I’m doing my graphic design and someone asked for a logo I wont look at other logos, i’ll look at plants. Or if I’m designing a video for someone, I wont look at videos, I look at packaging or something. I try and get inspiration from different mediums because otherwise you just fill your head with other people’s ideas!”
I love that!
“I really like brutalist architecture. I love what people normally call a hideous concrete car park! I try keep it all very liner, very structural. And I’ve decided to not do any stone setting, I want it just to be silver. It just is what it is. But I am starting to work with copper, just because I quite like the two colours together. Its actually a lot cheaper, so if I want to work out a design I do it in copper then do it in the silver. The amount of silver I wreck, I would then have to melt it down and start again. Its really expensive.”
How long does it take to make your average piece?
“Its different for all of them. I think I’m getting quicker if I know what I’m going to make from start to finish. So if I know what its going to look like at the end I can get it done within the day.”
So sometimes you just go with it and you don’t know what your making?
“Yer so a lot of them are happy accidents! I’m like ‘oh I didn’t mean for it to go like that but we’ll just style it out!’- that’s fine. I try a different ring every time. I like to see a result very quickly. I never start a ring and do a bit everyday. If I start it, I’ll finish it in the sitting. It frustrates me too much to leave it. Obviously the simpler bands where its just one piece, they don’t take as long as the ones made of four. It depends on how many times you have to solder it and the pieces you have to put together that will effect how long it takes. But the lengthy part isn’t actually making the ring its in polishing it up. It takes ages, and you have to file it down by using loads of different files and then sand paper it with loads of different sand papers and then polish it. It’s a painfully slow process.”
Well its great they look great amazing!
Which ring is your favourite?
“Hmmmm! I’m trying to not make them for me anymore. I have to start thinking about what other people want. Cause I just make them and I’m like “well I like it!” The one that I’m happiest with is probably this one: just because it’s the most ambitious one that I’ve tried so far. I like that you can wear it two ways.”
What advice would you give to young jewellery designers that want to start up there own business?
“Read the book ‘Make Your Own Luck’- by Kate Moross. Or ‘Girl Boss’- by Sophia Amoruso. Yes, that all you need, those two books will get you so far in life. She’s a graphic designer (Kate Moross) that I’ve loved for ever. You’ll be surprised by how many things that she’s done that you’ve probably seen. Her design work is really fun, very colourful. Very different to my style but her process and the way that she’s grounded herself; how she’s got her studio together and the way that she approaches her projects are brilliant. I went to one of her talks and she gave a lecture about how to be freelance in any industry you want to go into. So whether you are an illustrator or a jewelry designer or a photographer! Even if your freelance but wanted to join a studio or a collective it was some of the best advice that I’ve ever had and that I just didn’t get from university. So things like how to copyright my work and how to invoice people properly. And knowing when to say, ‘no I’m not going to do any more work for you for free’. Just simple tips like, don’t send them your work at print resolution until they’ve paid you, because otherwise they can print it and not pay you. The book goes through so many things like that.”
“You’ll be doing so much free work at the start but its about knowing when to stop and put your foot down ‘saying no I’m not going to do anymore for free’. So yer read that book, because there is nothing I could say that would give you any better advice than what she has in that book. It’s a beautifully put together book!”
And lastly what will you take on next, what are your goals for the next year?
“I think I would really like to, regarding my jewelry, shoot a really nice look book. I really want to tie up all the loose ends, I feel like I’ve vaguely got a brand identity together but its not as solid as I’d like it to be. A look book would nail that.”
“Hopefully get stocked in some places, maybe some boutiques and clothing stores. And I’d love to make some rings for… I’m trying to think of dream clients…”
Of course, who is your dream client? Or dream celebrity to wear your jewelry?
“Christine and the Queens! I found out about her last week. She’s incredible. She’s French, and all of her music is really beautiful. She wears tailored suits, and is very androgynous. Also her performances are really interesting. I saw her on Jools Holland, I watched the performance and I was like ‘I want to know everything about you!’”
I love it when you see someone like that!
“But turns out she’s massive in Europe and in America and places like that. And she had some really cool jewelry on, and I thought I would love to make her something. All her stuff is very minimal, she wears very muted colours, with a monochrome look about her. And maybe Alexa Chung!”
After meeting with Christina I’m set on purchasing one of her beautiful rings! I was blown away with how friendly and passionate she was. Clearly talented with an eye for design I look forward to seeing what she does next. And a huge thank you to Christina for letting me pick her brains for the afternoon it was truly great.
Go check out the TriNaNog Insta page: @Tir_Na_Nog_
Have a look at the website: http://www.tirnanogjewellery.com
Thank you for reading
-The lanky giraffe x
PHOTO CREDIT: TIR NA NOG- Christina Bentley
So following up my last post about the research task I completed, I wanted to share how I then went on to develop the idea into an exciting brand called Aesthetic Fragrance. As a group we were working towards a launch presentation, we needed to include several key areas such as; context and the big idea; creative concept followed by the execution and promotion.
Moving forward with this project we knew two things: our target consumer and initial concept. In terms of our target consumer we built on our winning insight ‘defying age stereotypes’. From all our previous research we knew that people over the age of 50 own 80% of the country’s financial assets. In addition to this, the industry isn’t capitalising on the potential of the 50+ consumer, we continue to see not enough products that celebrate age instead of offering anti ageing products. This target consumer goes shopping asking for advice, but often ends up disappointed because young sales assistants don’t understand there needs.
‘This well-informed and potentially lucrative demographic has been badly let down in the past by brands which have little understanding of what motivates them to buy’- Tracey McAlpine
To sum up our initial concept we came up with three sentences that we could always refer back to:
- We hope to create an in-store experience that will break age stereotypes and encourage consumers to embrace innovation at any age.
- Our product will motivate individuality, freedom and creative expression by using fine art as a vessel for fragrance.
- Our brand focuses on creating an inspirational and unique experience in a space that is both stimulating and informative.
As part of our unique brand and what sets us apart from the rest is our exciting collaborations with UK artists. Using art as a vessel for fragrance in an innovative way. Simon Starling was our first choice, taking inspiration from his recent exhibition at the Nottingham contemporary. Having studied at Trent University he seemed fitting as our brand began in Nottingham. The Turner Prize winner is interested in physical, poetic and metaphorical journeys, something that our consumers would connect with as artistic individuals. The partnership has resulted in an incredible in store experience that is almost like being in a tranquil exhibition space. We work with artists to create a new a exciting shop space, as the brand develops into the future the idea would be to work with a different artist each year, keeping our costumers interested and a buzz around the brand. The fragrances and in store layout change annually keeping our creative costumers satisfied.
When looking into what already exists within the market we found several examples that linked fine art with fragrance. Artist collaborations such as the brand Bio Killian who worked Sophie Matisse, and Comme des Garcons who worked with Tracey Emin. Other projects also exist that call upon museum and gallery visitors to use their noses as well as their eyes. Belgian artist Peter De Cupere exhibited his Olfactory Tree, a latex sculpture of a life-size tree trunk embedded with scents of the forest, while Japanese artist Maki Ueda presented her Olfacto escape, an aromatic journey evoking a landscape of cherry blossoms and fields of grass, in a small empty room at the Dutch consulate in Osaka.
These are our three bottles designs, each will hold a different fragrance. The scent will change annually with the interiors of the store as we collaborate with new artists. So basically, they are limited addition bespoke fragrances.
-we wanted monochrome with a flash of colour to connote maturity yet fun and creativity.
-we also looked at photography that used colour blocking, acetate and light filters
When it came to our promotional video we wanted it to be mysterious and enticing leaving the consumer asking questions. In terms of our Inspiration we looked at the Lost village festival video who focused on images of adventure where as we wanted to focus on images of creativity to attract the rebellious and creative archetype
In addition to the film and print ad we wanted to include social media platforms i.e. a Facebook page, Instagram and blog. In order of how successful we thought they would be we predicted Facebook then the blog followed by Instagram.
‘Women aged 55+ are the fastest-growing demographic on Facebook’ WGSN
Lastly we created a flyer and poster, this was to reach as much of our target costomer as possible. If we missed them through social media and advertisement on TV or even magazines, then face to face promotion was more personal. This way we could refer back to our initial research showing how this demographic wanted to feel more informed. Having people on the ground handing out information and talking to the public we can create more noise/buzz around the brand.
Thanks for reading,
-The Lanky Giraffe
So this is a week or so late but I’ve been super busy! However I think its still vital I post about the Nottingham fashion week street style as everyone looked so amazing. Because I was a steward at the event I wasn’t able to take my good camera so I took what I could on my phone, (apologies for crappy photo quality) and got talking to some great people! Have a look at what Nottingham’s most creative and fashion conscious individuals had to offer at the spotlight event.
Thanks for reading!
-The lanky Giraffe
As I was helping out with the event, (stewarding and being a runner for the show) I didn’t have time to take many pictures. However, the brand that stood out to me the most was the incredibly edgy OneBC. Therefore I made sure I had front row position when seeing the show for the second time Saturday evening. In more ways than one these guys stood out, bringing an energy to the evening. I love to inject a bit of rock’ n roll into my own wardrobe on occasion, but oneBC takes it to a whole other level.
The atmosphere was electrifying… quite literally with a live electric guitar being played up the catwalk amongst the models! The colour pallet is kept to charcoal blacks, textured metallic and concrete hues keeping within the theme. I feel like the atheistic of a brand is so much more powerful when a catwalk show is colour coordinated or themed.
To finish the models themselves stole the show. Fierce and profound. I loved the mix of gender, ethnicity, height and age (refreshing for a fashion student, when all you see is young white women dominate mainstream media). It was a beautiful mash up of all things rock’ n roll, a bliss movement of attitude and personality. I wanted to be in their gang!
If you want more info on what they are all about, have a look here at their website: http://www.one-bc.com
Or check out the shop in Nottingham located on Gedling street!
-The Lanky Giraffe
The countdown continues, two days until Nottingham fashion week begins!! Everything you want to see from new trends on the high street to exciting independent designers. The first ever week long fashion event is a collaboration between The Nottingham BID (Business Improvement District) and the Creative Quarter. So get ya self down there.
When is it?! April 22nd– 30th
I’ve had the exciting job of helping out with the Creative Quarter spreading an enthusiastic word across the city. ‘Spotlight on Nottingham’s independent fashion’, presented as part of NFW, takes place on Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd. 6.30pm-8.30pm. Venue: Sneinton Market avenue. Not only will you find fashion but as a creative space there will be music, inspiration, performance and food&drink.
Part of my role is helping out with the social media, a few other bloggers and I have been taking over the Creative Quarters social media accounts so please have a look! Today we’ve visited just some of the exciting businesses that will be showcased at the event. So give us a follow…
Facebook: Creative Quarter Nottingham
To find out more visit:
AND the experience doesn’t stop there! Fellow bloggers and friends are posting exclusive interviews with designers and keeping you up to date on all the inside information, so check their blogs out too!
-The Lanky Giraffe
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I haven’t a clue what I was researching when I first came across Thecuadro’s work, all I know is I was side tracked into stalking the artist online and through his Tumblr for a significant amount of time. The Madrid based photographer and artist creates abstract imagery using, what I might sometimes deem to be unoriginal fashion editorials, to create something we haven’t seen before.
Under his creative vison Thecuadro cuts and tares both digitally and physically to craft abstract art. Using his own work as well as images from other photographers he offers something different to an industry that is saturated by the same old narratives.
“The collages I make express the duality in the human being, who we want to be versus who we really are and what part of us we want to show to others. ‘Collage Art’ is a never ending process, you can put as many images you want together over and over again.”
A quote from the artist himself describing what his work communicates perfectly. As a society and culture obsessed with image and the way we look, its interesting to see art that makes us question what we are looking at. I most certainly found it refreshing.
-The Lanky Giraffe x
So a couple weeks ago I was lucky enough to go to London with my course to conduct further research into my ongoing perfume project. Of course primary research is important, and lucky for us we were tipped off in the direction of some incredible places all linked to fragrance. One of which and probably my favourite thing of the day was visiting the flagship store of Illuminum London. Beautiful. I recommend poking your head through the door if you’re ever near Dover Street.
As we were given a suggested list of places in and around London to explore we set off not knowing what to expect. From the outside we didn’t notice the small gallery and initially walk straight past. As we approached the friendliest and most helpful assistant opened the door and invited us in.
At first look it is incredibly artistic and sculptural- grey tones fill the room and wafts of dreamy scents filled our noses. To me the idea of using art and instillation to create an experience for a consumer is undoubtedly exciting. Hanging from the ceiling were exquisite varying shaped bottles form different length thread. The thread length altered higher and lower in the shape of a semi-circle creating an organic feel and shape to the room.
As we were leaving the assistant gave out some cards with words from the artist Antonio Cardillo who collaborated with the brand to create this incredible space.
Colour as a narrative
‘behind a portal on a Georgian street in London lives a small grey grotto.
Its rugged walls, imprinted with gestures of the mason’s trowel reveal the eroticism which was conveyed in the act of construction by the ancients.
The pozzolanic ash echoes the volcanic typography from where it was quarried. As ‘chambers’ of light’ the three tall openings facing the street orchestrate the light and shadow.
Onto a rough wall: the backdrop for a sweeping semi-circle of thirty-seven irregular glass forms each suspended by a black thread.
Enclosed are colours
Invisible colours revealed only by the nose’
-The Lanky Giraffe
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