PORTRAITS : TOM FLATHERS
As I write this on my first day off since early January, , a good old easter break is definitely what the doctor ordered. For me it always tend to be this time of year when things all start to get a bit hectic. Deadlines start coming in thick an fast and work get busier so relaxing evenings in front of Iplayer with (you guessed it) a bowl of Weetabix become a thing of the past. Despite the fact I wouldn’t want it any other way, feeling knackered can become a every day occurrence and if you have an immune system like mine then it won’t be long until you get the mother of all colds that won’t just bugger off.
Any workaholics like myself will know that when you start getting your teeth into a new project or venture it will be all that you think about and will start to take over everything that you do. Free time will become a thing of the past and all you waking hours will be filled with sending emails and catching up on that massive backlog of work.
When a similar thing happened at the end of December last year, my trip to the lake district in January was exactly what I needed in order to get away from busy city life, recuperate and have a good old rest. With the easter break closely approaching I am excited for being able to do exactly that all over again! It can definitely be hard sometimes to let your self stop worrying and try and so absolutely nothing (I imagine I will never be that far away from my emails) but if I have learnt anything recently it is that in order to be able to work effectively and productively you need to allow yourself a little bit of a rest.
So another year rattled its way around and I now find myself somehow getting to the grand old age of 21. Seriously, how the flipping hell did that happen! It feels like yesterday that I was playing in sand pits and panicking about what GSCE’s I am going to take ( I can confirm that they were not both happening at the same time).
Anyway, I thought I would bring the celebrations into blog form in a 21 for 21 round up, 21 special occasions to me from the past 21 years. Now I say 21 years, with my memory not serving me in quite as much detail the further back we go I’ve had to sort of narrow it down to the last few years. (but “21 for 21, well from the last 5 years of said 21 years” wasn’t such a catchy title.)
These occasions may not have been special out of their grandure, just out of something small happening to make it feel special. Obviously there are going to be some that get missed too but these are some which have stuck out to me. So after a good old trawl through my Facebook to see what I have actually been up to without further ado in no particular order as I really don’t have the brain power for that, lets get onto no.1.
p.s. those who don’t like theatre may avert their eyes.
In a rather snazzy hotel with probably the best gravy I have ever tasted, we had a great time in a very cool location and managed to get some pretty great photos (even if I did have to freeze my feet off in a very thin dress in very cold water.)
I’ve been involved in many a show over the years from being on the stage to my new life behind the scenes but the final night of Pool (No Water) will always hold a very special place in my heart. On the whole my 2 years at 6th form was a brilliant experience and it was great way to bring them to a close and say goodbye to some wonderful people who I loved working with.
Take me anywhere which involved very high things and very fast things then its highly likely that I’m not going to enjoy it. But with best friends by your side it really did make some scary experiences so enjoyable. From getting on my first rollercoaster, to the creation of “Hampshire rules” in UNO (something even we will never truly understand) and getting well and truly “gazeboed” in a £22 a night hotel in stoke it all made for a very special and memorable experience.
Rather ironically as someone who spent most of their youth performing and now studies costume I have never been much of a fan of fancy dress parties. But our disney themed fancy dress party in 2014 was fab with everyone giving it their all and creating some fab costumes, (maybe not including my slightly below average Mary Poppins), and having a great time and was the start to many a great party to come.
Give a group of 18 year olds some free time and access to some camera equipment and what do you expect them to do? Make a short film of course. with my silver screen debut (maybe more slightly grubby tin screen would be a more apt analogy) we spent 3 days from day break to dusk filming
Genuinely one of the funnies nights of my life with the Student Theatre at Glasgow scratch comedy night proving sometimes that we may just be students, but there is definitely a lot of talent within us.
Obviously getting a phone call while standing on a windy and rainy mountain in the middle of deepest darkest Shropshire trying not to be blown over was not quite how I imagined the moment I found out that I had got into drama school. Drama school was aways somewhere that I had dreamed of going to. It may have previously been for acting but now for my new life backstage in costume I was over the moon to finally be moving down to London to one of the world’s leading schools.
This is one going a bit further back but devising and rehearsing this show basically turned into having a huge laugh and a giggle with obviously working hard to get the job done at the same time, obviously ;). I had a fab few years at Lightsdown Theatre School from being a student to a teaching assistant leading to far to many good memories and shows to mention with it being the highlight of my week for a long time. I will always hold some of the shows we did here as some of my favourites I’ve done and it was so great to be part of a group of people having the same passion for performing and theatre that I did.
With the story line being such heartfelt one of a true story I will probably won’t be the only person out there who has any emotional attachment to this film. However, this is definitely one of my favourite films I have ever seen added to the first occasion of seeing it being with a very special person.
Proving that all the hard work, late night, blood, sweat and tears had all payed off (even if I haven’t used any of that knowledge since!)
I think getting to sit next to Sam Claflin on the premier night of Me Before You, a film which I loved from the book and had waited so long to see was a stroke of luck leading to an evening that I will never forget.
From Billy Elliot to 42nd to Macbeth and all the others in-between, all of these shows have lead me to some great times with some wonderful people and have shaped me and inspired me to pursue what started as a passion into a career.
As a theatre lover it is probably considered some sort of a crime to have only ever seen 1 show by the Royal Shakespeare Company but seeing Death of a Salesman in Stratford upon Avon in 2015 was a wonderful first show to see and the first of many to come.
I never imagined being someone who has their own textile design collection but at the end of my foundation year I had just that. Now it may not be on your Debenhams bed lined quite yet but now having my range of makeup bags with new designs sat waiting to be sewn together after my small break due to pure busy-ness, I’m determined to keep going with it.
Something starting as a new hobby just over a year ago has turned into something that has grown to be a big part of my current life. It may not be getting 1000’s of views a day with sponsorship deals coming in every direction but I still love styling and putting together posts each week for the little community on here. It may also have had a couple of face lifts and content direction changes, but it is still the good old miss spelt, badly punctuated and poorly scheduled Fabric Forward at heart!
Kind of the thing which started off Fabric Forward in the first place. From those first few shoots me and Tom did in our home town we have trawled the country in search for cool photo locations and have come up with some pretty cool shots (if I do say so myself). I look forward to many to come!
Its not everyday that you find yourself in a room with the walls entirely covered in pink fur and Ru Paul booming over the speakers. However some how I did. As part of uni we were tasked to dress some mannequins to be shown at the Barbican Ball this year running along the theme of Vulgar which is their being exhibition going on at the moment. If you follow me on Instagram you my have seen a couple of pictures from the event on there. I’d never done anything like this before and was a really cool experience to be part of (along with having a new appreciation for people who dress mannequins, and I thought actors were difficult sometimes ;). )
This summer I became a member for costume of The National Youth Theatre and with it being their diamond year at the end of my course I got to work on their Diamond Anniversary Gala at the Shaftesbury Theatre in hair and makeup. This was my first occasion working and going backstage of a west end theatre so it was all very exciting for me. Despited being full of the worst cold I have had in years I powered on doing more victory rolls and beehives than I have ever done in my life. It was a long and tiring day but it was all worth it seeing such a great show come together (Plus and having Matt Smith acknowledge my existence in the corridor twice was the icing on the cake!)
This year I lucky enough to get the chance to do some work at The Libertine at The Theatre Royal Haymarket on The Libertine doing wardrobe maintenance on a Saturday morning. It may have only been washing and ironing shirts, but its washing and ironing Dominic Coopers shirts.
I know this is something that came with moving to a university down here but moving to London is something at I have always wanted to do. I know many a young adult has said this same thing before me but but to live in such a busy and vibrant city with so much going on and the industry I work in centred down here is something I have always wanted. Sometimes feels a bit surreal that I am actually now here maybe partly not being quite as good as you thought it would be (the northern line at 5 o clock on a Friday would put anyone off!) Obviously is it not all plain sailing, realising you need to leave at least an hour to get anywhere and you wont find a cheap supermarket for miles but its the place for now that I call home and I promise to make the most of it.
It may not have been and intoxicating time partying the night away however spent with my nearest and dearest it was a time to say goodbye to the ups and downs of 20 and onto the next chapter of 21.
PHOTOS | TOM FLATHERS
With my habit of dropping hobbies as nearly as quickly as starting them (those golf lessons only lasted a matter of weeks), it is a minor miracle that we have actually of this far. Having not done anything to celebrate one of my own birthday for the past few years, I can’t say I have cracked out a cake quite yet however having managed to stick at this semi constantly for the past year I thought it should be given at least a small nod somehow. From horse riding to knitting after taking up something new for over a year, you would hope you have learnt a few things new about it and blogging has been no different. So without further ado here are some of the things which this year has taught me about blogging.
From SEO’s to HTML’s no matter how much you consider yourself a wiz on the computer with being able to use Iplayer and photoshop at the same time, coding will always seem to be another language to you.
You may have noticed in the early days of the blog, nearly 1000 word essays seemed to be the order of the day, competing with War and Peace in terms of time taken to read. This is something which didn’t last particularly long realising 1. I’m not exactly the next Charles Dickens and 2. I don’t exactly have the size of following of Charles Dickens
No matter how many days that I give myself to sort the photos and write a new blog post, you can almost guarantee that I won’t end up doing it until the morning of wanting to post it.
With everyone and their dog seeming to have a blog nowadays to make someone read yours rather than one of the big guns’s seems to be a never ending struggle. I guess many many more tweets is the key.
I don’t think I can scroll through instagram nowadays and not see a picture of avocado on rye bread served on perfectly dainty crockery anywhere.
No matter how comfy and marshmallow like those big baggy winter jumpers are, sometimes when put on camera you realise their not the most flattering thing for you. A good old waist belt never did anyone any harm!
Any new blogger out there will know the feeling of panic that rushes through their veins when someone tells them that they have been reading their blog, then you just have to remind yourself, you did put it out on the internet.
Even if you are damn sure that when you wrote that post you couldn’t possibly have make any glaringly obvious grammatical errors or spelt any words practically backwards its highly likely that there will be a mistake lurking in there somewhere. it is aways good to go back and check everything through if nothing more than to save the embarrassment of having your friends scribble their hypothetical red pen all over it.
Its like having all you photo albums at the click of a button!
Photos – Tom Flathers
This week, inspired by my little 3 day holiday to Norfolk, (yes 3 days to me does count as a holiday) I have done a specialised seaside edition of this weeks Wanting/Wearing/Working post.
Wanting – Interior designer and Illustrator Jessica Hogarth
Now instead of fabric print design, with surface pattern design stretching beyond the bounds of fabric, this week I have chosen to focus on the work of Illustrator Jessica Hogarth. As someone who has spent many a family holiday walking along windy beaches in the pouring rain her beautiful illustrative prints of seaside towns put a bright and colourful portrait of our beloved seaside towns and let you believe that sometimes the sun does come out.
I first discovered her work many months ago when scrawling through Instagram looking for inspiration for my own work and with the beautiful weather and the glorious scenery in Norfolk, it reminded instantly of her work. Now her style is rather different to mine with it being solely illustrative and using whole landscapes and scenes for her drawings but it being different to my work is a reason I think why I love is so much due to knowing I would be hopeless if I wanted to create something similar. One of the things I love about it the most is the simplicity of it, the simple squares and lines put together to create beautiful boats and houses and beach huts which seems so effortlessly drawn but knowing that a lot of time and effort has gone in to making each one perfect. The bright block primary colours which she has used to fill in the designs also add to the simplicity of it with no complicated shading or photographic images, just bold and exciting colours to draw your eyes in. But to contradict that, I it is the colour which adds a lot of the detail to the prints with the stripy beach huts and coloured house roof tops. Looking at it, it seems so simple and replicable, but I’m sure with all the time and effort put into each design, she makes it look easier than it is.
With the sea side known for being full of colourful houses and boats her style of working is perfectly portrays this. She has definitely honed and created her own individual style of working and made her stamp upon the interior design world with her stylish wall paper and cute tea towels and coasters.
Over the years I have seem many different seaside illustrations and paintings but I think her work is defiantly my favourite I have come across. Her work doesn’t just continue on a seaside theme but consists of many different prints and illustrations all as lovely as on another.
Weather you live by the sea or in inner city London, I think her work would defiantly help make your house into a home or her greetings cards I’m sure would cheer up a loved ones day.
Who knew a group of plain white houses could look so pretty
Jessica’s work is available to purchase online at her website: http://jessicahogarth.com/
Wearing (well viewing at least) –
This week due to the beautiful scenery I was surrounded by in Norfolk,surprisingly with the rest of the country seeming to be getting a lashing from the rain, instead of the usual outfit post I’ve decided to do what all Grandad’s do best and that is show some of the old holiday snaps. (yes still persisting that it was a holiday)
Despite the weather being nearly 30 degrees, I lived up to true form and didn’t venture too far away from my black comfort zone but, somehow did manage to ditch the scarf! (desperate times call for desperate measures). Now as as beautiful as the sunset behind me was, in terms of seeing what I was wearing its rather impractical, but you can slightly see. After a long day roaming around Cromer and relaxing on the beach I decided to crack out the comfortable mom jeans (which you will know I love if you have read my last post all about them, hint hint ;) ) this time in black and paired them with a loose fitting cropped black blouse with floral pattern. Now its probably useless me talking about it due to the fact you can barely see it but I love the cute little red and yellow flower pattern with spots which is printed on this blouse. With it being quite small and discreet it makes it easy to wear along side any other items however adds a nice bit of interest to an otherwise plain black blouse.Pairing it with the mom jeans make this outfit fell nicely thrown on and vintage which is a style which I am currently loving. This was perfect in the evening with the weather cooling off and was very easy to layer with plain black jumper and brown scarf as the night drawed in.
In some the of the down time I had in the evenings in Norfolk, I couldn’t resist cracking out the laptop to continue with some of the work I started last week. Again taking inspiration from henna tattoo designs I started working solely with one motif I had created and started to add colour to it. With the print last week being mostly blue with areas of red, this one I wanted to make the opposite with red being the main colour with the blue accenting it. To create this I rotated the motif round in blocks of 4 to make one bigger motif and then closely repeated them together. I did two different versions of this pattern, one where the motifs are separated apart with a light coloured background and one where the motifs are layered closely onto of each other with no background separating them. Im not sure which one of these I particularly prefer, I think you can see the detail of the motif’s more in the one with the background however I like the compactness of the one without with the blue being the colour which pops out to you as if that is the motif and the red around it is just a detailed pattered background. These patterns particularly reminded me of middle eastern tile designs with the colours, the style of motif and how the motif is arranged and repeated.
Due to the fact I really love this motif on its own without lots of colour in it I decided to use it again to make a more simple, complementing design with the motif differently laid out and simply in white with a bright blue background. These two designs work really well together and are a good starting place along with the design from last week to start building a collection.
Both posts next week are going to be very London themed following on from my recent trip down to London ( I really am getting around!). In W/W/W you will be seeing some of my new purchases (of course including fabric) and some work inspired from all the lovely sights and smells (…well maybe not smells, but you get the idea). Come back on Wednesdays Spotlight On: for a designer focus all about Archie Mac London
Design portfolio: https://www.flickr.com/photos/129012653@N05/albums
Chloe Natalie Knott Textile Design facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chloenatalieknotttextiles?ref=hl
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