Design To Sale - Demelza

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Crisis artist Demelza tells us about her experience of a new project, Design To Sale.

In January, earlier this year, the Old Fire Station and Crisis were starting a new training scheme. It was offered to a small group of Crisis members, giving more people the opportunity of taking part in a creative training course. We had the chance to design products to be sold in the OFS shop.

The weekly classes were in-depth and informative, no previous experience was necessary. It helped that every member had an interest in expanding their art and learning something new, which was really all that was needed.

It was refreshing to learn as part of a group, having group discussions was inspiring and brought out ideas we may not have had individually.

For most of us, we were exploring a different side of creativity. Looking into shop displays, product design, pricing, labelling and sustainability to name a few topics in the course, really opened up my eyes to all the careful thought that goes on behind the scenes of any shop/business.

The brief was to create a product that explored/reflected the themes of Oxford, The Old Fire Station, nature, or something combining all of these. We took a walk around the OFS building, taking notes and photographs. We looked for elements to incorporate into our designs. There were interesting features we must have walked past many times and never noticed. Such as curling, iron structures in the upper floors and pretty windows with an unknown history.

The product we produced, whether it be a T-shirt, mug, print or tote-bag, would be sold in the OFS shop and would therefore need to look at-home amongst the colourful quirky products already on sale there. We had the encouragement and expertise of Harriet Peacock, OFS shop coordinator and Ann Tutt, who has a background in textile design and product creation.

I loved the idea of creating something unique and made in Oxford, whilst supporting the shop in the process. We learned that most items sold in the shop already, are made by local artists and crafters.

There was a great element of play when working on ideas, trying out different colour schemes to see what works and what doesn’t. We went on trips to visit local businesses including the Ashmolean gift shop and Objects of Use, to see first-hand what struck us most about the shop experience and if there were any ideas we’d like to incorporate into our work.

I thoroughly enjoyed this Design to Sale experience and I would recommend it to any member who wants to try something new.