I’ve been visiting London Design Festival for a few years now and admiring all of the exhibitions, installations and events with a hint of jealousy; I wanted to be involved, but I didn’t know how. Little did I know it, but 2018 was going to be different from my usual LDF experience! When the team at homeware brand West Elm said that they liked my mural and asked if I’d like to be an artist in residence in-store for LDF, it was as if everything had clicked into place. I said yes, of course!
I packed some paint, rollers and wood and headed to the White City store in Westfield for 2 days of painting, chatting to customers and pretty much living the dream… woo!
On the first day I was coming down the escalator when I spotted a sign at the front of the store with my face on it – it was pretty surreal and made things feel a bit more legit. And of course I needed a photo next to it! My white painting overalls looked a bit out of place in the shopping centre, but it’s all part of the look isn’t it?
Artist in Residence
West Elm had commissioned an artist in residence for each of their UK stores – ceramicist Rebecca Harker in Tottenham Court Road, painter Carne Griff in Kingston and yours truly in White City at Westfield. Our work is all very different but amazing in it’s own right and I was honoured to be picked for the opportunity – my LDF debut as a designer!
Whilst creating our pieces in-store, West Elm customers could watch and enter to win the finished pieces. I had my fingers crossed for a colour loving shopper to give my bold, graphic-inspired piece a new home!
Setting the mood
For my inspiration I looked at architecture, graphic design and some of the current season geometric inspired West Elm products. When I visited the store to see the space, I noticed a peachy/coral vase which I colour matched to some B&Q paint (Mai Tai) and built a citrus-inspired colour palette by introducing the bright orange (Pumpkin) and a pink (Love Story).
Carrying 7.5 litres of paint home from B&Q was a work out and a half, blimey! I swear someone told me that it’s illegal to carry paint on the tube, but Google couldn’t answer and I just made sure that I didn’t spill it everywhere… just imagine!
I think the last time I created a physical mood board was at University (nowadays I opt for Pinterest) but I wanted something visual for the shoppers to see. It was a nice change to get my scissors and glue out anyway – did you know that glue sticks can go mouldy?! No, me either until this project ha:
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🎨 Artist in Residence 🎨 Yesterday I spent the day pretty much living the dream… in @westelmuk White City chatting to people about creativity whilst making a piece of wall art 😍🙌🏼🎨 You can see what I've been up to on my story, but today I'm back in-store to finish the piece & find a home for it 💪🏼🎨💡 Yep, if you pop by to see me in action you can enter to win it! 🤞🏼🎉🙊 So then, what time are you coming to say Hi? 😜✨
I think a lot of people expected me to do something with triangles but, whilst I was tempted, I wanted to try something different.
To paint my piece, I took it apart and spread the rings across the whole table – I think this confused a lot of people and made it hard for them to imagine the final piece, oops!
At the end of day 1, I nervously peeled my first round of tape off. I found a few leaks where I hadn’t sealed the tape on the edges, but overall I was further along than I’d planned to be. This was a good position to be in as it meant that I could relax a bit for day two and fully enjoy the experience.
Making art and friends
If you’ve met me, you’ll know that I love to talk. With a few years of practice schmoozing at blogging events and one of the best skills I’ve picked up is being able to make conversation with anyone. During the residency in-store I met some cool people – shoppers passing through, students and fellow creatives. I had a really lovely chat with Charlotte (@charstextiles), a fellow colour lover. On day 2 I was surprised by an internet friend, Jessica aka @PretentiousFringe. It was so lovely to see a familiar face – it really made my day!
I know paintbrushes are a standard tool for most artists but I prefer to use rollers – it gives me a smoother finish. Each colour had 4 coats of paint to achieve a flat, even finish and then I’d removed the tape and hope for the best!
With all coats completed and the paint dry, it was time to take the tape off for the big reveal. I was really nervous at this point! Luckily, the tape removal went to plan and the lines were straight and crisp. I was very happy with the finish:
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💗 Art at heart 💗 Wahoo! Yesterday I finished my in-store residency at @westelmuk White City @westfieldlondon and my art piece – It's bold, it's colourful, it's 3D! 💪🏼🍊✨ I think a lot of people expected it to be triangular but that would've been too predictable, no? 😜👍🏼🙈 I'm really pleased with the final outcome & a bit sad that I have to give it away now… fingers crossed it's going to a good home though! 🏡🌈🤞🏼 Thanks to the team at @westelmuk for having me as part of their #LDF18 celebrations – it was fun (although a little nerve wracking pulling the tape off for the big reveal at the end haha) 😅🌈✨
Et voila: my 3D wall art piece. I can’t wait to see it up on someone’s wall! What do you think? Could you see it hanging in your pad – Bedroom? Hall way? Studio? Get in touch if you’d like to to create something for your home.
Thanks to West Elm for having me – it was a great experience and has given me some ideas for future projects! Watch this space…