PORTRAITS : TOM FLATHERS
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
Now I can’t say that I am someone who is out every weekend “painting the town red” or blue or green or any colour for that matter. Staying in at home tucked up in bed with a mug of hot chocolate and an episode of the crown on seems all too appealing. However when it comes to fashion, a good old piece of red is definitely is a good enough to get out of bed for.
If there is any colour that I am going to be wearing that doesn’t make me look like I am going to a funeral then it is going to be red. From tops to dresses to scarfs all of these nestle within my wardrobe in a variety of different shades. Its a good old trusty colour for me with never feeling too girly but is versatile when pairing with other colours. I feel its a colour that never really goes out of season, being bright and colourful for the summer months yet an obviously festive option for the christmas period.
Ever since I saw The Little Magpie repeatedly strutting her stuff in a gorgeous pair of Topshop red tapered trousers, I had been on the hunt to find a pair for myself. Funnily enough after searching high and low from high street to vintage, it all came back to Topshop with exactly what I was looking for. With them being a slightly more muted and darker shade of red I don’t think they end up being too bright and in your face. This style of tapered trouser is definitely a bit of a Chloe signature with them being great at showing of a waist with not being too tight and restrictive.
I’ve never been one to shy away from red on the basis of it being “fattening” because at the end of the day if you like it and feel good in it, the bloody well just wear it!
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
Now with starting any new university college or even job you are bound to be given the obligatory starting off project just to dip your toes into the water. This was no different for me with starting at GSA with our first project Drawing Beginnings based no the practise of mark making and drawing from still life. In an effort not to make it as mundane as it appeared I decided to try and make the project very much my own by developing some pattern designs from the mark making and still life sketchbook work. So this week I am taking you down a small trip on memory lane back to starting off at university (those long 4 weeks ago).
After being told to go on somewhat of a scavenger hunt to find possible mark making materials (please say you hate that term mark making as much as I do), after slopping them in some ink and various paint materials as groups we created these large mural like images all out of our different marks. When creating these all ideas of being neat and precise went out the window in exchange for being expressive and abstract.
As you can probably see compared to the rest of my group I decided to work solely in black and white just using ink and ignoring the brightly coloured paint used by others. This decision was based on the fact that I knew from starting this that I wanted to take these drawings into photoshop to edit and manipulate into patterns so didn’t want to overcomplicate them with colours and with not yet deciding on a colour scheme (although the odds of it starting off as a variation of red and blue were pretty high) I didn’t want to tie myself down within any of the source drawings.
Taking this combination of lines as a whole this is the design I produced this with my usual style of mirroring and rotating. I’m very pleased with this design with it being possibly my favourite coming out of the whole process (I promise it doesn’t go too far down hill from here) with one of my favourite aspects being the fine detail within the thinly crossing lines contrasted the the larger black spogges. Although I thinks it works really well as a finished black and white illustrated design I think this one would look really cool if colour was added to it creating an almost paisley inspired design but obviously in a slightly different style however when it comes to adding colour I would have to deconstruct it and go back to the beginning to create a repeatable section of it instead of trying to colour in the whole thing which would be madness.
2 more created from mark making experiments
When it got down to creating some of our own smaller scale mark making experiments I did decide at this point to start adding colour and surprise surprise as I had preempted earlier on red and blue were the chosen suspects – with a smattering of orange and various shades of blue to not limit it too much. A while ago I had the idea within my pattern design to of using oil paint to blend together a background with the pattern arising with various marks over the top. This was a perfect opportunity to try this idea out. Using some of the earlier mark making techniques I layered these on top of an acrylic paint background starting to make a pattern with it. As well as adding on top with the black ink with using oil paints as a base I was able to mark into them dragging the paint around creating another element within the design. I really wanted to try and replicate some of the flowers I had found and used for mark making within the designs by using the colours of them within the choice of paint and using the flowers them selves to print with creating the black flower splodges.
As I did with my earlier back and white drawings I mirrored, repeated and layered these scanned in images to create the new designs. Im really pleased with how these and the previous black and white ones have come out however I can see how my work is all becoming very similar using the same ideas and techniques with a lot of my designs. This could be considered as my style of working however I think it is still quite simple and could be pushed further and maybe isn’t the style which I ideally want to be creating.
In order to do this I took the jump and decided to try to start using adobe illustrator as well as photoshop. After plenty of blood sweat and tears (maybe subtract the blood for watching countless youtube videos) I started pick up some of the effects which I wanted to try and create.
I found that the marks I created using the feathers when sectioned out and played around of By some sort of happy accident when using the pattern brush tool created a really cool butterfly image. This wasn’t really what i intended to create but I’m very pleased how I managed to create it. Unable to leave my beloved photoshop for too long, I took this motif I had created and used and manipulated it in there, adding colour from some of my previous designs and layering design behind it until I has created a design with them which I was really happy with.
This final butterfly design is a lot more muted than the work I usually do however I still really like and it and is a good start at varying my portfolio a bit. I also love it when I create a design which has a lot different designs and layers involved in it knowing that a lot of different work came before it and wasn’t just simply created in 5 minuets.
Drawing from still life of a dream catcher. The still life element of this project was an area which I definatly struggled having not gained much inspiration from the items we were drawing. The dream catch was the only item which caught my eye with the design made out of wood in the centre and the lovely feathers hanging off it. I did first draw it in its natural colours of brown and beige but changed it when paining it into red and blue to link in more with my collection of other designs.
Final design of dream catcher kaleidoscope
Thankyou for taking a look and reading, I will be doing regualr updates on my uni work so please make sure to come and check back in the future to see what I am up to.
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