Creative Dundee

Talent Show Special – Duncan of Jordanstone Degree Show 2009

Hayley Scanlan show

I’d like to start this Talent Show special with a little confession…

To be completely honest,I was dubious about the decision to move the Degree Show out of the Art School this year. I thought changing the venue would suck the very soul out of the event, turning it into a clinical, almost corporate display of student work with no sense of passion or character.

Oh ye of little faith. I was wrong.

Hand on heart, I think this year’s show is absolutely stunning, possibly the best I have seen. I shouldn’t have doubted Those in Offices. The space has been transformed into a vibrant, yet sophisticated showcase of students’ work – each section of the show flows into the next, the spaces are all light and airy and no-one is left out in the cold or tucked away in some lesser known corner of the Art School.

Evidentially, there has been cash to splash (no doubt to impress the V&A). The overall tone of the show, from the lighting, display cabinets, signage and literature is one of slick professionalism, the show just oozes sophistication. To be cynical, this pimped-up version of the Degree Show may just be an attempt to make eyes at the V&A board, but hell, it sure is pretty.

Some might say the Art School has sold its soul to the devil for turning away from the paint splattered studios and battered old MDF display booths; exchanging them for softly light atriums and polished steel banisters. However, to my surprise, I am not one of them. I think the move to the Vision Building has shaken up the dusty traditions of the Degree Show and catapulted it from an event for your nearest and dearest, to a stunning showcase of the diverse creative talents of D of J students which would turn the eye of any industry professional or self respecting design commentator.

Dam, I wish I had graduated this year.

That’s enough chatter about the venue, what about the work? Well, I made a whistle stop tour of the show this morning and below are a few snap shots of work which caught my eye. I tried to be as impartial as possible, but my love for the quirky and unusual (not to mention my bias toward textiles!) is evident.

So, in no particular order:

Hannah Livingston – Jewellery

Delicate and charming, tiny little caskets and trinket box wearables. Beautifully hand crafted by a very over-modest maker.

Jane Gowans – Jewellery

A stunning example of how to be different and stand out from the crowd! A show-stopping display which I expect will go down a treat at New Designers. A cracking website too with some great photography of Jane’s unique jewellery.

Laura Christie – Jewellery

Laser cut jewellery with a storytelling twist, I loved the use of new techniques to embed a narrative within each piece.

Gemma Valentine – Illustration

Old school milk bottles make for a quirky display of family snap shot illustrations.

Andy Macvicar – Time Based Art

Unnerving and weird, but cool. Go see it!

Fergus Walker – Product Design

A bicycle powered flour mill. Genius.

Imran Lobania – Product Design

I was lucky enough to meet Imran at the show and he told me all about his portable wind turbine (shaped like a rose). 

Jacqueline Frary – Product Design

Illuminated garters, the outcome of a study into the perception of the feminine form.

James Smyth

The most intriguing installation of the show – this one exhibit captured my imagination and reminded me of an old PC computer game called Myst. A note at the entrance instructs the viewer to cross the pungent earthen floor, sit at the desk and strike the keys of the typewriter. Doing so, activates the system of pulleys and chords fixed to the wall, lowering the apples into the waiting cupped hands. Striking one key in particular, sends a precariously hanging golden apple shattering into the octagonal pool. I LOVE stuff like this. From the pinging noise of the typewriter, to the flickering glow of the spotlight and the earthy, forest smell of the floor – its like tumbling down a rabbit hole and finding yourself in some mysterious other world.

Jessica Ramm – Fine Art

Another mechanised installation piece which kept me spellbound. Tiny metal hammers strike the glass bell jars which house flickering filament bulbs. The silence of the gallery is interrupted by the eerie (yet tuneful) sporadic tapping of metal against glass.

TWIG (Susan Younger and Louise Forbes) – Environmental Design

A design duo with character AND talent – the winning combo!

Angela McBride – Textiles

A bold and punchy showcase of knitted menswear.

Lynsey Coke – Textiles

Fascinating yet creepy animal specimens, dark and alluring! Be sure to check out her wallpapers too (sorry, camera died at this point!)

Hayley Scanlan – Textiles

Crazy prints and strong emphasis on fashion, Hayley’s work has already been snapped up by Erin O’Conner at the Fashion Show last week! Click here to read more.

Laura Ironside – Textiles

A twist on tradition, appliqué, print and stitch in tweed and plaid.

Emma Pauley – Textiles

An eye catching exploration of colour and mark making.

Nicola Brown – Textiles

Beautifully tactile – delicate paper and fabric constructed pieces, straight from the realms of fairy tale.

Victoria Campbell – Textiles

Dark, dark, dark. Inspired by religion and torture, Victoria’s work knits together yarn and found
fibres such as human and horse hair to create fine art pieces.

A few final thoughts:

  1. Why don’t all graduates have a website?! Whether it’s a simple template site or a portfolio on Carbonmade – please please please, get yourself an online presence. It does wonders in helping to secure jobs, placements and press. Believe me. 
  2. Product Design has put on an ace show this year but I didn’t have time to do it justice. Some really spectacular ideas and fantastic working prototypes you can play with.
  3. Graphics and Animation not 2 departments I can really get my teeth into – some great work though, perhaps one for Lyall to post about!

The show is on for 2 weeks.

Go and see it. You will be amazed.



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