Up & Coming… Flo Fairweather

Flo FairweatherFlo Fairweather is a freelance designer.

She graduated from the Chelsea College of Art in 2015 and currently lives in Streatham, London.

How did you end up doing the job you do?
I did Art and Photography A levels, and couldn’t decide what degree to do; whether to go down a fine art, illustration or photographic route.  Graphic communications seemed to combine many of my interests. We were given a series of industry briefs and able to respond in any medium we chose. Some chose film or graphic design, my response was usually photographic. I haven’t looked back.

What are you working on right now?
Right now I am organizing Brixton Youth Design Trail, which is taking place on the 17th-25th September 2016. It’s a series of open briefs, talks, commissions and events for and by 16-25 year olds.
I am also working as a freelancer. I work at a production agency, designing treatments for art directors. I’ve just finished designing packaging for a coffee company, which is being produced now.  I also do my own work and I make music on the side https://soundcloud.com/flo-fairweather

Describe your first job
It was at a pub. I had quite the knack for dropping people’s change in their drinks…

What would was your B plan if this career didn’t work out?
World conquering pop star.

Who or what has been your biggest source of inspiration to date?
I’m not sure about biggest, but I did visit César Manrique’s house in Lanzarote this year, which is inspiring me at the moment.

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Who would you most like to work with?
Cindy Sherman. I have admired her since I was young. I love the humour and transformative nature of her work. In the age of the ‘selfie’ I think people find it easy to disregard self portraiture as a powerful art form.

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Where do you feel most inspired?
Anywhere I haven’t been before, places I can look at with fresh eyes.

What did you want to be when you were little?
An archaeologist. I used to be given those sand brick toys, where you’d scratch out these miniature dinosaur bones. I thought they were real and that I was really helping to make significant discoveries.

What advice would you give your children (or nieces/nephews/young people)?
Make the most of the playtime you have and make loads of mess.

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What has been your career highlight to date?
Winning my D&AD New Blood pencil last year. These awards are open to young creatives with a view to offering a way into the design industry – companies set industry standard briefs and students or recent graduates are invited to respond. Last year I won a graphite pencil for an Ident I created for VICE, for their ‘rule britannia’ series of films.

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Which one thing would you like to change about your industry/working life?
I would like to spend less time looking at a screen and make more fun objects.

Who is your favourite fictional female character?
Sue White from Green Wing.

Right Now I’m…
Watching: Broad City
Reading: ‘Girls will be Girls’ by Emer O’Toole
Listening to: The Sugarcubes

Pass it on:
Who would you most like to see featured on this blog?
Olivia Bohac
Twitter @_Oliviabohac

Joanna Kiely
Twitter: @Joanna_Kate
Instagram: @jofanna

Alice Lees
Twitter @alicelees_
Instagram: @aliceblees_

Keep up with Flo at www.flofairweather.co.uk and on Twitter @Flofairweather

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In Her Words… Memories of my Nan

My much-loved nan passed away two weeks ago.  Today would have been her 92nd birthday. Like so many of her generation, my nan lived through an incredible time in history, witnessing the devastation of the Second World War and raising her family in the years that followed.

Peggy Norton and her four children

My nan was known to everyone as ‘Peggy’, I’ve no idea why, her real name was Elizabeth. She was born in the East End of London and I remember her telling me how she was crossing the Thames one day when she stopped to watch a series of planes flying along the river towards central London.  This was the start of the Blitz.  She ran all the way home to find that half of her street had been demolished.  Her own house was still standing but her relief was short-lived as she was then blown off her feet by a subsequent blast.  She was unhurt and I’m sure this is where my nan’s mantra ‘There are plenty worse off than me’ must have taken root.  This was a line she lived by and one that served her all of her life.

Peggy Norton and her son
Nan with my dad

But my nan’s life was far from idyllic.  She fell out with her mother when she was in her teens and went to live with her spinster aunt, a story we still haven’t quite gotten to the bottom of and no doubt ever will.  She had four children, my dad and his three sisters and my nan nursed her eldest daughter, Sally Anne through cancer before she died at just 36. My granddad never got over the loss of his daughter, he had a heart attack and a series of strokes, which left him suffering from dementia and in need of 24 hour care which my nan provided at their home in Hornchurch.

Peggy Norton and her daughters

Never complaining, stoic in nature, fiery and feisty, Peggy Norton was absolute in her conviction that life was for the living.  She was a force to be reckoned with and full of courage.  After my granddad passed away, she would go up and down the steep stairs at home on her bottom as she was riddled with arthritis.  So she took herself off to Belgium after the NHS offered to fund her trip and transport her there by ambulance.  The first her family knew of it was when my dad received a call from her in Brussels letting him know that she was getting ‘new knees’.  She hadn’t wanted to cause a fuss by letting us know before.

One of the many family anecdotes that I love hearing my dad retell (and there are plenty) was when one of my aunts locked herself in the bathroom as a child.  Without hesitation, my nan jumped into action, climbed out of the neighbouring bedroom window and inched along the drainpipe towards the bathroom window.  (My nan was a ‘sturdy’ lady so this was by no means an easy task).  By the time she got there, my aunt had freed herself and run downstairs, instructing my granddad to get the ladder to rescue my nan who was now, ironically, left clinging to the pipe outside.

One of the qualities I most admired about my nan was her strong work ethic.  She couldn’t abide laziness and was always keen to understand what we were doing to advance ourselves and to pass on her own advice whether invited or not!  She absolutely wanted the best for us and she believed passionately that hard work would pay dividends.

Nan was an enthusiastic, if not especially gifted cook.  She would produce her latest and frequent offerings with a pre-emptive, ‘Here you go, only I’ve.…’, followed by an unfortunate catalogue of disasters that might include the burning, dropping or the even more bizarre ‘putting a curtain pole through it’ of said item.  My sisters and I would rearrange our faces before the annual mince pies were unveiled, charred and oozing blackened mincemeat; they became a great source of amusement between my family as we joked that there was more filling on the outside than the inside.

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My nan, sisters and Auntie Chris

Apparently when my sisters and I were too small to remember, my nan served up a pie for dessert, announcing that she couldn’t remember what was inside.  It was covered in custard and dished it up before my family realised that we were eating sausage meat pie for pudding.

Undeterred, my nan continued with her love of cooking and baking, never wanting to turn up at my parents’ house empty handed.  And then, when my sisters and I left home and started university, she continued to shower us with food parcels; weighty homemade fruitcakes, value packs of baked beans that were ‘just out of date’ and the infamous and most anticipated, boxes of broken biscuits that she’d bought from Romford market.  These legendary boxes of delights were received with squeals from my housemates who still speak fondly of them today.  In true Forrest Gump style, you really never did know what you were going to get.

My nan’s legacy is her three remaining children, her three granddaughters and her six great grandchildren.  We share a wicked sense of humour, especially in the face of adversity and a bizarre collection of private jokes.  These jokes would be lost on anyone outside of our immediate family but will reduce us to tears of laughter, even my own husband is often left entirely bewildered by the nonsensical impressions and expressions that leave my sisters, aunts, parents and I in hysterics.

My nan would always encourage us to ‘laugh at yourself’ at the first sign of self pity and right until the end, nan proclaimed she had lived a ‘wonderful life’ even though she had endured experiences that I pray I will never have to.  I hope my children inherit her steadfastness, her humour, her devotion to her family and her generous spirit.  If not her dubious cooking skills.

She was the matriarch of our family and we will miss her.

Peggy Norton 1924 – 2016