This session was really great; enjoyed it a lot. It was back with the original course leaders, and was all about Ambition again, or rather, refreshing our ambition after being halfway through the course! A lot of us have clearer thoughts, while even more were more confused than at the start! Which I don't think is a bad thing. Just means that we are thinking about things more, at least.
We started by getting into groups (Janie and Sian love group work... quite a lot... 'get into groups of 5!' 'get into groups of 3!' and then it's the whole 'soooo..... who wants to go first...' thing. It's fine after a bit and generally no one can stop talking after a while. It's just makes me laugh everytime they say 'We're going to get you into groups...') and talking about what we are learning about ourselves, what's changed, what do you want from today's session, what values do you have around ambition. My general thoughts were thus:
What are you learning about yourself?
That I'm really impatient and am always chasing the next big thing. It's why I get bored in jobs quickly and why I think freelance is the best road for me in the long run. But I also know I need to stop being like this so much; I've just started (well, I say just, been there 4 weeks now) a great job which I'm learning so much from and I'm already thinking about where I want to be next in my life. I need to slow down and chill. There are so many things I want to do and be involved in, some of which will take years to get established in, not months. Chill. Out. Rachel. All is good.
What's changed for you?
Well, I have a job. That's good. Also, I'm much more clear about how I want to work, in what fields, and what I need to do to get there. I'm also finding that London is great, and I will live there soon. I have changed as well I think. I'm learning to link various parts of my life together, and how things can lend itself to others. (Like blogging, that was just a fun thing for me before, now I'm seeing how it's a vital extension of my professional self and is a great way of exposing my talents to the world. Mmmm. Sell out.)
What do you want from today's session?
For it to be different and useful. Simples.
What values do you have around your ambition?
We didn't really get this question. Still don't, really. My values don't change, my ambitions do... so... I don't know. I know I don't want to sacrifice my values to get my ambitions. I aspire to work in an ethical and environmental and social way. So... yep. Can you be ethical and ambitious?
We were then told to look up B.J. Cunningham. As he is a branding guru. Apparently. Noted.
We then had to get into a different group? I think? Maybe? To talk about how our ambitions translate into a tangible vision. I couldn't answer this as well. My tangible vision is to be living in a cool part of London, running around London working for cool brands and agencies, designing cool stuff, writing about cool stuff, drinking cool drinks, eating cool food, sleeping with cool people. Asking the existential question, what is cool? Am I cool? As I ponder my greatness. Is that shallow and consumerist? Possibly. I'm exaggerating for dramatic effect, but oh, to be a cool kid. I'm not ashamed to aspire to enjoy my 20's, for sure. Bring it on. And listen to The Common People by Pulp, by the way.
We then had two speakers for the day, the first was Hannah Martin. Hannah is a luxury jewelery designer; her work is gorgeous. I have written a separate blog post about her work because I feel it's easier that way. Click to read and have a look, it's not long.
She was such an inspiration. We graduated from St Martins, had work experience at Cartier(!) and then decided to go it alone. She works so hard and seems to be doing well from it. She had interesting advice as well, best for those of us in the course who are actually jewellery/fashion designers. But just generally, you have to see just how much she adores her work, and quite rightly so. I do too:
All her collections have characters and stories behind them, which I love. That narrative behind her work is fascinating and she puts a lot of effort into really inventing this character, and who would want to buy into it, and why.
After that talk, we got back into groups (see...) and talked about, who benefits from our ambitions? Who else? What is the risk? What wouldn't you risk? What will help you to take those risks? What do you need to make it happen? Which were strange but good questions. I know I wouldn't risk my financial stability (not like I have massive financial stability right now... but there you go...) It was nicer just talking about looser things really, our group got into a tangent but that was good. I like to hear other people's answers more than talk about my own, so groups is good, so long as I don't go first :) Ha.
After lunch, we had a talk from Max Fraser, who is a) really nice b) a design commentator/writer/critic guy c) writes books and d) boyfriend of Hannah Martin. So therefore one half of the most awesome design/creative couple I've ever met. Damn them.
His website is also 'coming soon' (how annoying), but he has twitter, so that'll do.
Max is a freelance journalist, events producer, writer of design books, does something called 'production', and many other things I'm sure. He basically reports on the best of contemporary design, and has 3 companies - MaxFraser, which is him, Spotlight Productions, and Spotlight Press, which handles the publishing of his own books.
One of the biggest things he is known for is writing the London Design Guide:
And so I bought a copy off him. He signed it too! Which was cool. I will add it to my signed Sara Fanelli book, and start my collection. It's one of those books that you see and think, yeah that's really great! And then never get round to buying it. So now I have. I heard about it last LDF and mainly wanted it because the cover is graph paper. And we all know how much I love graph paper.
But it's packed with really useful info and will be great for me; even though I've gone in and out of London all my life, I'm yet to live there so really only have a base knowledge of places to go and things to see, especially from a design point of view, aside from all the obvious tourist-y places. Secret London is also proving extremely useful for this too.
Max had so much useful advice that it was hard to take it all in. He had so many great stories and anecdotes too, like how he scored sponsorship from Mazda to get his first book publishes, which they then backed out of, but he still got loads of money because they'd signed a contract, etc etc. Tales of just being a bit gutsy and not being afraid of getting what you want. Tales of luck, but also of seizing opportunities. A lot of Max's stories were about luck, but there's a saying that has stuck with me, ever since college where it was taped up on the studio wall by my tutor: The harder you work, the luckier you get. I kind of live my life by that. And I think that Max seems to as well. Which is cool.
He also encouraged having a mentor of some kind, but acknowledged that mentors aren't something you actively look for, they just happen to you.
Don't seek praise, seek criticism. If you get stuck, draw with another pen. Learn to trust your intuition. Nobody owes you anything. These were all great bits of advice from him; there were about 20 more I didn't write down.
So another really good session, I love seeing other people's (successful people especially) work and learning stuff from those who have actually gone out there and done it.
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