Nicholas’ blog: designing inspiration
Hello to you all and a Happy New Year 2016.
I hope you had a relaxing joyful and rewarding Christmas and January. I had a wonderful Christmas day with my family – because the forecast was for high temperatures, I put together some great games for the grand-kids. They normally love being outside, but because it was going to be hot I decided to come up with some ideas that would convince them to stay indoors.
It worked. We all played ‘Pin the nose on Rudolph’ – a game I created by making some big antlers and a large disc for the nose area. I stuck them to the wall and once the kids were blindfolded they tried to pin a lovely big red bauble nose to an area where they thought the nose should be. Blindfolding was heaps of fun even without the game. Wandering around with lots of helpful hints, most of them very confusing, was lots of fun. And some of the ‘oldies’ had a go. Lots of laughter!
When they had had enough of Rudolph we played ‘Guess The Item”. I laid 10 items on a tray and let them look at them for about 5 minutes, then covered all the things over and they had to guess them all. The kids were amazing. I believe a good score is 7 out of 10. They must all be above average because the scores were over 7, even Matthew’s little three year old was a star! They did so well and the parents and grandparents had lots of fun too.
‘Xmas Bingo’ was also fun although high spirits meant the dice ended up all over the place! Needless to say we all really enjoyed ourselves and all the games were such simple ones – so much fun. Helen and I are so lucky to have a close and loving family who enjoy being together and are so relaxed in each other’s company. We feel very blessed.
Helen and I spent the second week in January on Kangaroo Island and thoroughly enjoyed the climate and solitude. We have always loved the Island, in fact celebrated our honeymoon at American River, and have made many ocean crossings since. Helen’s sister and her husband live at Penneshaw so we are lucky to have accommodation. It is a magical place and continues to entice us with its beautiful wilderness.
So, it’s 2016 and at PIKE we have had a busy start to the year, and again my design skills are in demand. I am often asked the question ‘Where does my inspiration come from?’ It’s not an easy question to answer, as I gain the creative concepts from a wide range of sources.
The most common is from my conversation with a client where I gain some insight into what they want made, why they have decided on a particular piece and what they want it to look like. Sometimes I ask do they want to incorporate something meaningful (maybe an inherited gem) and is it for a special occasion?
If there is not a particular brief, I ask a number of questions allowing me to put together my own checklist. For instance, the colour of metal to be used, a contemporary or classic influence, with or without gemstones, large or small volume and budget. The starting point is often the most difficult part, but once I start the process I draw up a number of options and begin to establish what the client likes. We identify a clear direction and the excitement begins to build.
For many years I have been fascinated by the way clients are drawn to quite definite styles and sometimes they haven’t realised that they relate to certain shapes. Things like geometric or organic forms, and symmetrical or asymmetrical placement. I have always thought these attributes are clearly represented in two historic styles: Art Nouveau and Art Deco.
Art Nouveau originated around 1890 and is a style of decorative art, architecture and design and was prominent in Western Europe and the USA. Art Nouveau is characterized by intricate linear designs and flowing curves with an organic feel based on natural forms. It represented a very romantic era with sinuous and seductive curves.
In contrast, Art Deco began to flourish internationally in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. The style expressed a time of rapid industrialization and technological development. It featured geometric shapes, clean smooth lines and emphasized symmetry. It was influenced by cubism, modernism and futurism.
Both eras are very recognizable and one is almost the opposite end of the spectrum to the other in appearance. I feel they have had an influence on designs throughout past decades and continue to be represented in styles today. Luckily when I use examples of these as a starting point for my designs, people seem definitely attracted to one or the other. This helps me with the process and makes the final design more straightforward.
So design continues to excite and fascinate me and my imagination seems boundless – I’m always on full throttle. It is exhilarating and rewarding in so many ways and I hope to use my skills for many years to come. I often say to young people about to launch into a career, ‘if you can make your passion your daily profession, what an amazing ride you will have and the feeling that you can’t wait for the work day to end will be replaced with ‘I don’t want the day to end, I haven’t completed enough’.
For those of you who never experienced the joy of owning a custom made piece in which you are involved in every stage of the process, from the drawing to the final piece, please come into Highgate and I would love to show you examples of pieces we have created and the journey we have shared with our clients. To see some of my latest designs, click here.
To all our readers of the newsletter and my blog, Louise asked in the January edition whether any of you would like us to talk about certain subjects of interest. We haven’t had a lot of responses so don’t hesitate, we would love your feedback. Please let us know through email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will endeavor to answer your questions.
Until next month, enjoy yourselves and Happy Valentine’s Day!
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