If you have visited us recently or have been following us on social media, you might have seen some of the changes we’ve been working on in the past few days and weeks.
We have been working hard, organising and reorganising the Ulster University Pod in Makers House to showcase the work of the students from Ulster University’s Enterprise Placement Programme.
Almost a year on from our initial collaboration with Ulster University and Belfast School of Arts, this evolving programme has to date allowed 3 graduates and 3 students to take up residence and get first hand experience in commercialising their businesses.
Through the Enterprise Placement Year, Lauren Kelso, Grainne Mullan and Courtney Stockman now showcase their artwork amongst an established network of designer-makers in the Ulster University Pod. They are joining fellow artist, Gillian Brownlow who has been featured in Makers House as part of the Ulster University Graduate in Residence programme.
It is so important to both Enterprise Causeway and us at The Designerie to support the local community and the creative sector. As a social enterprise, we want to create an environment for local artists to come to put themselves forward and help them advance in their careers, providing them with networking opportunities and a safe environment in which to unleash their creativity.
Gillian Brownlow - Graduate in Residence
Having been a resident for the longest time, joining The Designerie team in July 2021, Gillian believes that the Designerie has contributed to the growth of her business and inspired her to enter work to local art exhibitions and galleries.
“It’s been great to have somewhere that you can showcase your work and begin to get recognised publicly. The support that you get within The Designerie, from other resident makers, the staff and from Leeanne, the manager, is key,” she said, adding: “There’s amazing support creatively as well as on the business management and development side of things.”
Gillian’s first large-scale abstract art piece, ‘Breaking Dawn’, is one of many of her abstract works that guarantees to create an impact in any contemporary interior space.
Commenting on the piece, Gillian said: “The beauty of abstract art is that each time it is viewed, there is something new to discover. ‘Breaking Dawn’ is inspired by the colours of Dawn, fragmenting on the landscape, and the hope that is offered in each new day.”
Lauren Kelso - LJK Designs - Enterprise Placement Student
Owner and founder of LJK Designs, Lauren Kelso joined the Ulster University Pod in January this year. As a young illustrator and entrepreneur, being part of Makers House has allowed Lauren to build on the foundations of her business while creating a network amongst established creatives.
“I’ve been given really great advice and help from Leeanne. It’s just brilliant to have my work on show and connect with the customers as well; having their feedback whenever I’m talking with them about my work. It just raises the level of my business.”
Lauren’s art prints, posters, greeting cards and notebooks are on display in the UU Pod in The Designerie. Her new 'North Coast Collections' is currently exclusive to the Designerie, consisting of illustrations of the Ballintoy Harbour, Carrick-A-Rede Ropebridge and The Giant's Causeway. Always adding to her range, Lauren has two new illustrations also available in the pod, Mussenden Temple and The Arcadia.
“I like my illustrations to leave a little bit of white space and not fill absolutely everything because I think it draws the eye and it allows you, as the customer, to fill in your own memories of that place. Each of them has been created with so much love and they are all really versatile so they can sit in any home.”
Grainne Mullan - Point Angel - Enterprise Placement Student
A recent addition to the UU Pod this year has been textile designer and student, Grainne Mullan’s brand: Point Angel. As a passionate 22 year old designer, Grainne is in the process of creating hand embroidered clothing, prints and framed tufted pieces, some of which are currently available at The Designerie. For her, the Enterprise Placement Programme helped her look at her artwork as a business and a career she can pursue.
One of the projects Grainne is particularly proud of is her largest piece, a recycled tufted stool.
“It was second hand furniture that I saved from landfill and upcycled myself adding the tufted piece and my artistic touch to it.”
“It took me so long to get it perfect, and it was a real learning experience because I’d never done this before. It taught me a wee bit more about how maybe instead of constantly making new products, there are a lot of materials and products out there that I could save and upcycle myself. With my artistic ability I can make more sustainable products.”
You can find Point Angel on Instagram.
Courtney Stockman - Limseca - Enterprise Placement Student
The youngest person to join the UU Pod has been Courtney Stockman, the 21 year old illustrator who creates Stationary products and Gifts for her own brand, Limseca.
“I love to design my own fun little animal characters who I feature on a lot of my illustrations. When I say stationary and gifts I mean; Sticker Sheets, Die-Cut Stickers, Keychains, Memopads, Greetings Cards, Enamel Pins and Art Prints. In the future I hope to expand this range into Plush Toys, Washi-Tape, Tote Bags, Clothing/Apparel and Mugs.”
When she joined The Designerie and Makers House she admits to feeling a sense of connection to the shop she’s never felt before.
“When I visited the Designerie for the very first time it was the feeling of home. It felt like a safe space for people from all creative backgrounds to come together and collaborate. There's a sense of ease in the Designerie that I haven't felt anywhere else before and it really puts a spring in my step every time I come and visit.
“No one is there to judge your creative ability in the Designerie, we all help each other to improve our skills and make better work.”
It is our mission at The Designerie to actively promote, present and support artists by giving them the opportunity to develop themselves as creatives in a nurturing environment.
Call into Makers House today to see the Ulster University Pod, and for a chance meet all the amazing artists featured within. If you want to see more of their work, make sure you follow them on social media.