Thursday, 26 May 2011

Zizzi Leeds The Light

I am very pleased to share my new work for Zizzi with you!! I am just one of their new recruits to the Fresh Talent Collective. I am so proud to be apart of such a talented bunch which includes amazing illustrators such as Lizzie Mary Cullen ( who came to meet us at New Designers One Year On last year to give us a pep talk! If you haven't encountered her work yet do check out her website, she is quite the amazing lady.

Off the peg guy hangin' out at the bar
So here's a little bit to explain my concepts behind my illustrations for the restaurant...

“I would spread the cloths under your feet:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams

I have spread my dreams under your feet

Thread softly because you tread on my dreams.”

William Butler Yeats

"The Cloths of Heaven," poem by W.B Yeats

So often in life, a creative steps out from the crowd and offers something new and exiting to the masses. When the industrial revolution unfolded, textiles manufacturing was at the forefront of the uprising in Leeds. It was then that broadcloth was dreamt, produced, sold and worn.

my illustration of dressmaker working on HANDMADE broadcloth dress
 A beautifully quintessential English prototype, the material was woven into the industrialised society, creating jobs, fuelling the development of crafts and offering an elegant material to suit the fashionable fillies of that time.

I can envision the hustle and bustle of the Corn Exchange and the city markets during this time, when the town’s cloth market was described as “a prodigy of its kind, unequalled in the world.”

But as we understand so well today, regardless of the innovation and hard graft that goes into a product, it can and will be produced cheaper by foreign our counterparts. And this is exactly what happened with broadcloth manufacturing in Leeds. No longer able to compete, the highly skilled work force were made redundant to create off the peg, mass produced fashion apparel instead, in a bid to somehow keep up with their competition.

This is the element I have chosen to illustrate in the restaurant. It happens too much in today’s society that skills which an area prides themselves upon, become diluted and often forgotten by our quick turn around society. Many people in Leeds may not even realise this heritage that created their wonderful city, and that is an awful shame. I am illustrating this in a quirky matter to draw attention to the subject, and to make people think twice about supporting what’s locally their own and helping it to succeed and thrive.

Leeds City Market

Leeds City Market is one piece of history which has survived the years of change and continues to flourish today. It is the largest undercover market in the county and houses around 800 traders. I felt it was very important to illustrate this fantastic Edwardian building and so it is featured prominently in my work for the restaurant.

For now you will have to make do with my drawings, I'm travelling over to Leeds next week to take some snaps of the completed work in all its threaded glory!!! I should have mentioned it was all stitched on leather panels, some of which have been mounted to chairs so it's going to be a very new way of presenting my illustrations. Can't wait to see it all!!! Hopefully some of you might get the chance to see it too if your in Leeds!

You can read more about Leeds The Light and about Zizzi's fantastic Fresh Talent collective here... 

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