Design Duo Inspire Next Generation Of Artists
Dynamic design duo Mark Hampshire and Keith Stephenson from leading interiors brand Mini Moderns inspired a new generation of artists when they visited a northern arts school.
Cleveland College of Art and Design (CCAD) welcomed Mark and Keith to its university-level campus in Hartlepool for a guest lecture as part of the college’s ‘Creative Talks’ series. During the two-day visit, the ‘cult’ brand designers met with textile degree students to review their portfolios and offer a wealth of advice on developing a career in textile and fashion design.
Designers Mark and Keith launched Mini Moderns in 2006, an interiors brand specialising in applied pattern across a range of products including wallpapers, fabrics, cushions, rugs and ceramics.
Alex Booth, 23 from Stockton is a final year student on the BA (Hons) Textiles and Surface Design degree at the specialist art and design college and was enthused by the lecture and the feedback she received during her portfolio review.
She said: “At the lecture I really got an insight into the work of Mini Moderns. I was inspired by their journey and hard work, and loved how each of their pieces had meaningful concepts behind them. It has definitely influenced me in the way I produce my designs, and has proven to me where my designs could be seen in the industry.
“I was really excited for the portfolio review, I even felt slightly nervous because they are really influential people and I was given the chance to show them what I have been working on. They both gave me brilliant feedback and we discussed how I could move forward with my designs. It was amazing to be given advice from designers who are incredibly successful in the industry and who have years of experience.”
After graduation, Alex is considering the wide variety of career options available to her and would love the opportunity to work in interior design and fashion. With a passion for working digitally, she is also exploring a role in digital and graphic design.
First year BA (Hons) Textiles and Surface Design 37-year-old Rachel Wilkinson from Hartlepool was also delighted to meet Keith and Mark for a chance to discuss her ideas and creative styles as she begins her studies and creative career path.
Rachel said: “I was so pleased and excited to have been given the chance of the portfolio review. The feedback I received was so encouraging, as if I’m honest I have had serious doubts about my abilities in particular my drawings. To receive such a positive response has reinforced the support already being received by my tutors and I now feel more positive and open minded moving forward.”
Guisborough-born Keith, who studied at CCAD’s further education college in Middlesbrough, said: “Returning to the North East was really exciting for us, and it was so interesting to see all the new developments that were happening in Hartlepool and the College. We knew we were in for an inspiring time when we walked into the new impressive theatre space where we held our talk, and we were so excited by how many people came to hear us talk about our inspirations and our collections. It was great to be able to meet the designers and students who attended the event and we had such great feedback.”
Mark, from Pudsey in West Yorkshire, added: “Having the following day to meet students and look around the college was also a highlight of our trip. It was so inspiring to see the students at work, in the various studios and the incredible print rooms, and discussing all the different techniques the students were experiencing, ranging from traditional print methods to digital. We felt so welcomed by everyone and we loved the time we spent with students from various years on the course. We were also very impressed with the course too. It was such a great experience and we hope everyone enjoyed it all as much as we did.”