Winter and Kurth

Reflecting upon New Designers One Year On 2017

Natasha Kurth

If you are starting out, trying to build your own creative practice and looking for a platform to help with exposure whilst learning from industry professionals then we can highly recommend you apply for New Designers One Year On 2018.

We knew that we wanted Winter and Kurth to become a sustainable design practice, but also felt overwhelmed by how to go about it. How to gain exposure and how to balance making new work, marketing and finances alongside our other part time Jobs.

Being selected to join a group of talented designers and makers, who all happened to be in a similar position really helped to gain perspective on our own situation. Starting out is a brave and bold step made easier through the support and encouragement from the One Year On team from selection right through to the show and beyond. It is a safe yet challenging platform where you are encouraged to push yourself to go the extra mile.

And go the extra mile we did. As the show got closer, we began to wonder how we were going to achieve everything we had set out to achieve. A couple of weeks before the show, our marquetry wall piece was made, bigger than the last and with a subtle concave form just as we’d planned. It looked great - but how on earth were we going to get it to rotate? Two weeks until the show and we were trying all sorts of ideas. Meanwhile we had 6 plinths to build and 40 mirrors to produce.

The last few weeks leading up to the show tested us in so many ways but we kept going, kept persevering and kept believing that it would all come together! And it did, albeit the night before the show. So our advice to anyone applying for One Year On is to be prepared. Prepare to get making the work as early as possible, prepare for things to go wrong but at the same time prepare to push the boundaries of what you think you can achieve. If you want to make the most of your experience at One Year On, take risks, surprise yourself, it all makes for a good story.

The show itself is a fantastic space in which you experience a range of audiences. From college students to industry professionals, we had some really engaging conversations. Whilst taking on board helpful feedback we also helped inspire others. It’s a place for exchange, a testing ground for new ideas and an opportunity to reflect on where you have come from and where you are heading. The show creates a neighbourhood of like minded people who help, share and look out for one and other. It’s a really special experience.

One Year On helped us gain a greater sense of who we are and where we want to position ourselves going forward. We are so delighted to have won the award which gives us the opportunity to work with The Design Trust and Design Nation over the coming months. Since the show we have been busy moving into a fantastic new artist led space and completing our first large scale commission. Talks are also underway regarding some exciting collaborations!

In the New Year you’ll find us exhibiting at the National Centre for Craft and Design from 13th January to 11th March 2018) and participating in the Surface Design Show Spotlight from 6th - 8th February 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Collaboration through Colour

Natasha Kurth
traces of crayon making, photograph taken during our factory tour at Scolaquip 2017.

traces of crayon making, photograph taken during our factory tour at Scolaquip 2017.

The Festival of Making which recently took place in Blackburn was a huge success in uniting all levels of making and manufacturing within the City.  Following the map we toured the city, discovering the creative diversity of the region, whilst learning about it's rich industrial heritage.

The highlight for us was The Art in Manufacturing project which saw 9 multi-disciplinary artists collaborating with 9 of Lancashire's most innovative world leading manufacturers. With the buzz of the festival still in the air we thought what better time to share our own recent collaboration with North West based Arts and Crafts suppliers & manufacturers Scolaquip!

It's a special thing being invited to see the ins and outs of a factory at work. Meeting the people behind the products we buy, understanding the processes, materials, time and energy involved at every stage of production. They are busy places, valuable places and often go unnoticed by those that live on their doorstep. How did I get to 30 without knowing that the Rainbow Crayon was made in the next town!?

So thank you Scolaquip for inviting us in, giving up your time and helping us turn our idea of making crayon table legs into a reality!

Our latest side table series in red was Inspired by Kenya Hara's suggestion that “the box of twelve crayons we are given to draw with when we are small children shapes our perception [of colour] for better or for worse”. We used the side table as a framework to explore our interaction with colour by combining two distinct materials. The marquetry tops were assembled using a single coloured wooden veneer, which we randomised to create subtle tonal movements as the viewer moves around the surface. In contrast, with the skill and expertise of the team at Scolaquip, the legs were cast in wax crayon.