Thursday 24 July 2014

One to Watch - Louise Archer

*Soppy message alert*

Before introducing Louise and her beautiful colourful works, I'd love to say a little something. The past year since graduating, I've been the blogger for F6.Studios and have relished the excuse to meet lots of talented and interesting people, and visit art previews and studio parties! Although I'll still be working in this amazing space (and still meeting new people and going to colourful events), I'm really sad to have finished my internship, and it's been such a privilege to look after the blog and to have all of the experiences that have come with it. Back to the blog itself, I'll leave you with my last blogpost for F6.Studios, which I have decided to write on recent graduate Louise Archer. Not only is she a great person who happens to have a brilliant eye for colour, but she is going through the nerves, uncertainty and excitement that many creatives can relate to at this moment in time...

Earlier this month in London was the annual event New Designers, which attracts the top picks of new graduate designers and top buyers from around the globe. One of the designers showcasing at New Designers, having just completed her textiles degree at Cleveland College of Art and Design (CCAD), as well an interview for Texprint, is emerging talent Louise Archer. Louise's surface patterns are incredibly versatile, working well on everything from fashion to gift and interiors, and her lively colour combinations and expressive style are something that makes her stand out from the crowd. We particularly love her two-tone velvet devore, which cleverly combines two different types of dye to achieve the contrasting colours.

We recently caught up with Louise to talk about her love of colour, London, and how it feels to be stepping into the real world as a designer...

F6 Studios: Hi Louise, we'll start with a congratulations on your first!

Louise Archer: Thank you

F6: How does it feel to have finished your degree?

LA: Exciting, I was a bit nervous towards the end because I've always been in education, and now it's like I'm entering the real world, but I'm excited to see where it's going to go...

F6: So for your degree show collection you've used vibrant colours in quite an ecclectic way, what inspired your colour pallet?

LA: I tend to always go towards bright colours, I think subconsciously maybe, but it's meant to go with my theme and concept. It was direction and movement and things, so I wanted to mix a whole bunch of colours together and see how they went, how they're always moving in different directions and get put on different paths, so to see the movement between where the colours work together.

F6: So it's quite an organic process?

LA: Yeah it takes me a while to get into things but once I get there, normally towards the end everything starts to flow more naturally.

F6: You've also just come back from New Designers, how did you find that?

LA: Ah it was an amazing experience! I was really glad to get picked for that, it's a really good opportunity to be there and to see your work in that sort of environment, it really makes you want to...really hits home that's what I want to do now, and that I'm doing the right thing for me to carry on after university. It was just great to be there with everyone, and it was a really nice way to finish off.

F6: What would you say was the best thing about London when you were down there?

LA: Just the place itself really, there's so much going on and everything's really fast paced, and it was really exciting putting up the show. Seeing it all come together and being surrounded by a load of other people's works, cause I mean you see everyone who's in your class at uni all the time and you know their work, and see what other places are doing as well was really good.

F6: So now you've got your graduation coming up, what's next?

LA: I just want to get some placements and get a bit more experience within the industry, I'm not really sure which direction I want to go into because I like trend research, and really like surface designs in general. I just want to see where I would fit really, also some experience of working in some studios and see where I go from there.

F6: That's the good thing with a textiles degree is that it is very versatile, so you could go into pretty much anything you wanted.

LA: There's a lot of different directions you could go into so we'll wait and see!

F6: Well the world is your oyster, you're really good with interiors though and you've just gotten yourself a placement? 

LA: Yeah I've got a placement coming up which New Designers helped with, they seen my business card and I wasn't actually there at the time to actually meet them, but they picked my business card up and I got an email saying they would like me to go for a placement, which I'm really excited about and see how it goes from there!

F6: Congratulations! That's a great start and I'm sure it's only the beginning of an exciting journey for you, and it's been a pleasure talking to you.

We're excited to see what's next for Louise, and we'll be keeping our eyes peeled for her experimental work. Just like her designs, based on direction and movement, and seeing where everything fits, the beginning of her life as a young designer seem to have similar exciting parallels with the early stages of her work.

This leads nicely onto our studio shakeup, as we are waving farewell to a few members and saying hello to a few new people! We're sorry to have to say goodbye and wish lots of love and luck to our fab photographers, Michael (McGuire) and Lucie (Cox), who are moving to a new space, our fine artist Kate Dunn, who begins teaching in Cyprus in September, and also one of our colourful urban artists Stu Borbjerg, who will be moving to Edinburgh to start his Masters degree!! We also would love to wish a very warm welcome to our newbies, avant-garde fashion designer Dayne Henderson (as seen on Lady Gaga and at Newcastle Fashion Week!) and 3rd year animation students Thom, Emma, Dannielle from Newcastle College!

And to round up this blog post, here are some lyrics by Gracie Fields:

"Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye,
Cheerio, here I go, on my way
Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye,
Not a tear, but a cheer, make it gay!"


Thursday 3 July 2014

Elton V Gaga -The Review

Last Wednesday, we went along to a brilliant event which left people thoroughly entertained with a perfect concoction of witty humour, unexpected surprises, goose bump-inducing songs and enough costume changes to rival Gaga herself, it was the 'Gaga V Elton' performance in aid of charity Body Positive North East (BPNE).

Kicking off the show was drag artist Crystal Meth, who got the crowd in the mood for the spectacular show ahead. Causing a stir wearing a daringly sheer gown by Galvan, accessorised with punky nipple covers, Indian face chain and colourful tattoos, Crystal delivered some of her signature wicked one-liners, causing the crowd to gasp and laugh at her rebellious attitude.

Following the BPNE slideshow, the first performance of the night came from Maltese Elton, a larger than life character, the former business manager of Centurion Bar, and one of the event organisers. In the lead up to the show kicking off with a rendition of 'Philadelphia Freedom', Tiago and myself tottered about the crowd in our police hats, handing out sausage rolls and quiches on his request, to make sure everyone's culinary needs were being met. When on stage, his wacky persona and his beverage never left him, wearing the attire of a purple Quality Street and launching into Crocodile Rock whilst playing the red velvet piano. It wasn't long before he was accompanied by guitarist, Kabiee Hlalo, which elevated the performance to another level.

Next to the stage and personally escorted into the room in typical celeb fashion was Gaga, her dramatic entrance enhanced with a largely sculpted black and gold veil/train and Maleficent-style protruding horns. With photographers wildly snapping around her, she begins to perform 'Paparazzi', much to the delight of the increasingly growing crowd. Part-way through the performance, her bustle is removed so she could fit on the stage to perform 'Born this Way', complete with Gaga-style dance moves. With her incredible voice and thrilling persona, she captivated the room with her renditions of some classic Gaga hits, and persuaded plenty to 'put their paws up'.

During Gaga's performance, unknown to the audience Malaysian Elton was planted alongside them, though his bling snap back and sheer black and gold tinted shirt ensured he was easily spotted. He was shortly 'hand-picked' by Gaga to accompany her on a duet of 'Don't go breaking my heart', which completely stunned the audience and even had Sean, CEO of BPNE, in tears.

Following the duet, Elton took the spot light for his solo performance, singing a couple of tracks including a beautiful version of 'The way you look tonight'. Throughout his performances and his flawless ballads, he had the crowd on their feet, swaying their glow sticks, and ended the show with a spine-tingling Adele cover of 'Skyfall'. On the occasional song, he was also joined by Maltese Elton on piano, double the Elton fun!

Although not one of the main performers, but adding that extra bit of dash to the performances, was guitarist and videographer Kaiee Hlalo. In addition to the multilayered, spiralling imagery that made up the backdrop to the show, Kaiee also made a dapper musical addition with his suave glam attire and slick electric guitar playing skills.

Some of the great entertainers of the show, and a lot of the fund raising too, came from the 'camp police', which included Trish Wilson, Jeff Allan and Tiago Galvan. Throughout the performances and in the intervals, seen wearing an array of tutus, authoritative hats, disco earrings and a particularly fetching LED belt by Jeff which read 'camp police', they served food, raffle tickets, CDs, dished out a 'camp quiz' and fined audience members for being 'non-camp'. They kept a great atmosphere throughout Centurion Bar where the event was held, and added extra sparkle!

Speaking of Tiago Galvan, fashion designer, F6 member and with the help of sponsorship from Phaze Clothing, creator of the magnificent costumes. From the avant-garde sheer dress on Crystal Meth to the corsets on Gaga, shimmering shirt on Malaysian Elton, not to mention the hair styling, he contributed an element of glamorous and gothic theatre which really added a visual wow factor.

Overall the audience seemed to have a fabulous time, drinking, taking 'selfies with the stars' and being thoroughly entertained by the performances and those involved with the show. A really successful event for BPNE, the Centurion Bar and all those involved.

To find out more on the people who took part, here are links and contact details of those involved...

Crystal Meth (Drag Artist)

Lady Gaga (Jemma)

Agency website -
Agency email -

Malaysian Elton (Jeffri)

Kabiee Hlalo (Videographer and Guitarist)

Email -

Galvan (Costumes)

Email -

Phaze Clothing (fabric and accessories)

Official Photographers

Murray Thompson

As used on the blog!!

Email -

Chris White

Event photographer for The Chronicle and The Journal.

Body Positive North East (BPNE)

Also Well done to Paul (Maltese Elton) who helped organise the event at Centurion Bar, and Alex Hunter of Intu Eldon Square Marketing Department for designing the graphics and flyers for the event!


Tuesday 24 June 2014

Lady Gaga 'V's Elton John

This Wednesday on 25th June, we're going along to a very special and colourful event that is happening at Centurion Bar in aid of HIV awareness charity 'Body Positive North East'. The show, which kicks off at 7pm, will include a wealth of talent and entertainment with Elton and Gaga tribute acts, hosted by the wonderfully unique Crystal Meth and with our very own scissor wizard Tiago Galvan providing the larger than life costumes.

Last night we were privileged to have been invited along to the group meeting to get a bit of an inside scoop. Firstly a few final costume preparations at F6.Studios and testing the corsets (we even managed to get videographer 'Klunky' into one) and getting everything ready to head over to Centurion Bar for the performers to check out. Lots of latex, ruffles and glitter was involved, but you'll have to wait until tomorrow's show to see the complete looks in all of their glory!

When we arrived, we were introduced to the performers Maltese Elton (Paul Gatt), Malaysian Elton (Jeffri Ramli) and Gaga (Jemma Jenkins). Also there was compĂ©re Crystal Meth, Sean Murphy of Body Positive North East and a few others working behind the scenes. We don't want to give too much away, but just a few things to look forward to include a special raffle to win tickets to see Elton John at the Metro Radio Arena (donated to the charity by Elton himself), a selfie with the stars competition to win £50 of Eldon Square vouchers, and the fabulous 'camp police', making sure we're all on our best behaviour!

We can't wait to let our hair down at this fantastic event, which is set to be fabulous in every way though carries an important message. HIV in society nowadays is still seen as a taboo subject, and a one which some believe only applies to the gay community and 3rd world countries so doesn't personally affect them. The truth is, HIV is passed on the same as chlamydia, and 55% of people living with HIV are straight, busting outdated perceptions of the virus. Worryingly, there are 1500 people in the North East who have HIV, and 22% are not aware they have the virus.  With such a high number undiagnosed this is likely to lead to an increase of people living with HIV. Hopefully, with the money raised from the show and a little presentation on the charity at the start of the event, people feel more aware of the virus and more able to talk about HIV without stigma or prejudice.

We're looking forward to what's set to be a night to remember, and with live camp entertainment, flowing drinks, witty banter and a fantastic cause, what's not to love?!


Monday 16 June 2014

Foundation Degree Show at Newcastle College

It's that time of year again where students who have been slaving away for the past couple of years get the chance to showcase their best work yet, showing their newest designs to the public and potential buyers and employers. Recently we attended Newcastle College to see what the Foundation Degree graduates had to offer, which ranged from fine art to fashion, and traditional textiles to technology. Here are our picks of the fashion and textiles peeps...

Rana Amer

Rana Amer created a striking maxi dress for the degree show, taking a staple garment and giving it a modern industrial twist with a contrast waxed yoke and parallel pointed stitching around the neck band. The final look is fierce yet elegant, and we reckon if Catwoman ever needed an outfit change, this would be her go-to dress.

Franchesca Bell

Fashion graduate Francesca Bell also took the clean lines approach, showcasing her minimalist outfit which featured flowing but structured silhouettes, toughened up with contrasting masculine shades. We love the attention to detail shown in the horizontal purple piping on her futuristic cape, which brings the whole look together.

Elizabeth Browell

Elizabeth Browell's fashion collection was unashamedly feminine with complimentary spring hues and gorgeous lace. The detailing on the garments was delicate and selective, the solid base colours showcasing the soft laces and prints perfectly without distraction. We can happily imagine ourselves wearing these at a fancy garden party with sandals and   fascinators, champagne and strawberries...

Chantal Newbold

Textile graduate Chantal's fashion fabrics are an explosion of tropical technological eye-catchers. Her multi-layered motifs mirrored with some clever Photoshop skills thrown in create some truly striking works, and we love how she has made some into beach-to-club tunics, perfect for that Ibiza holiday!

Kirsty Butcher

Kirsty Butcher, a textiles graduate who has specialised in interior design, has created a range of nature-inspired wallpapers and cushions with dusky purple neutral shades. Her strong illustration skills really shine through to create a tranquil, sophisticated collection, which is the main focus of her designs.

Ashleigh Brown

Ashleigh Brown presented a delicate yet vibrant jewellery collection inspired by nature, fusing together poetic illustration and sherbet rainbow highlights. We love how she has enhanced her lush drawings with various textures such as crochet, hand-embroidery and cut-work without overpowering them, and the bright crochet circles would make beautiful frames!



We wish all of these newly graduating designers and all those who took part in the exhibition the best of luck for the future!!