Design Your Place

Work by Ai Tomiki at the Design Your Place workshop

Work by Ai Tomiki at the Design Your Place workshop

“Few activities seem to promise us as much happiness as going travelling: taking off for somewhere else, somewhere far from home, a place with more interesting weather, customs & landscapes” Alain De Botton, The Art of Travel.

I have a fascination with travel; the connection we have with places, whether special or ordinary, and the visuals that re-enforce and re-ignite those connections; holiday snaps, train tickets, restaurant receipts.  The mundane objects which appear exciting and even beautiful in another place; lampposts, post boxes, graffiti.

“If we find poetry in the service station and motel, if we are drawn to the airport or train carriage, it is perhaps because, in spite of their architectural compromises and discomforts, in spite of their garish colours and harsh lighting, we implicitly feel that these isolated places offer us a material setting for an alternative to the selfish ease, the habits and confinement of the ordinary, rooted world.”  Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel 

When CSF colleague Camilla mentioned she would be curating the Relational Geographies exhibition; exploring the relationship between measurement, movement, distance and time and spaces which are neither here nor there, that are both physical and emotional, I immediately connected to the themes and was excited to see where Camilla would take them.

My fascination with travel and places has of course influenced my creative work and over the last 10 years I’ve created digital prints for textile surfaces based upon these themes.  When Camilla kindly invited me to run a creative workshop in collaboration with the exhibition I was more than happy to, so last month I facilitated a group and we set about ‘Designing Our Place’.  Our aim was to transform the memories of our most favourite and treasured places into a bold collage print for digital printing.

With an assortment of places from Italy to China to London’s Southbank the group worked on designing prints which showed the essence of the place; we had mopeds, pylons, beaches, mountains and maps. An interactive session where participants of all levels helped each other and suggested ideas – it took me back to University, where the proximity of your peers and their support can go so unappreciated until you enter the working world on your own.

We were kindly supported by the lovely people at bagsoflove.co.uk who gave participants a discount on products so that after the workshop our digital designs could be transformed into unique personalised products or printed direct onto fabric for us to create our own piece.

I can’t speak for the participants but as facilitator I was inspired and I’m looking for my next project.

And if you haven’t yet made it to Relational Geographies you have until the 18th October to get there!