Tuesday, 12 June 2012


On Thursday last week, me and my friend Liega (who is also in Italy on a placement) briefly discussed going to Florence this weekend to see our friend Sian who is working there. Nothing was official and I called her the next day, “Let’s do it!” we said so I packed my bag and looked for cheap hotels/hostels. I found a few and wrote the addresses down.

The following morning, we boarded the train and met some lovely guys from South Africa in our booth. We chatted about cultural differences, language, accents, free time and our plans. They were really friendly and keen to know why we were in Italy.

We arrived in Florence around noon and we were shortly greeted by Sian, I was so happy to see her and gave her a massive hug. Myself and Sian lived together for two weeks during our language course, after that we were placed in different accommodation. Our priority was to then find a room for Liega and myself for the night. We walked around for just shy of an hour but found a really cheap one star place, it was only 30 euros and included breakfast so we were very happy. We literally dumped our stuff in the room and Sian lead us out into Florence.

I took over five hundred photographs and I realised that I’d really benefit from getting a better camera. Mine is decent but I think when I next have money I’ll get myself a better model. From my photographs, I will draw and maybe even create some letter stationary designs. I feel extremely inspired and I am thoroughly enjoying my freedom here.


Ponte Vecchio

After we had browsed the delights of the city for a good few hours, we decided that a rest was in order but said we’d meet later for drinks. Myself and Liega were very tired so we made our way back to our room and slept for a short while. After we had rested, we made our way to a pizza place and ate in the Piazza by the Duomo – which really blew my mind. Even in the night it looks amazing and glows, I was able to get good photographs even in the dark. Again, wow.


After pizza, we made our way over to the steps of the Duomo and chatted for a while. We got chatting to three new people, Kristin from Canada, Ryan from America and Issac from Australia – they were all friendly and they had each only met each other recently at the hostel they were staying in. When Sian joined us we all had drinks in an Irish bar. Maria, Sian’s Spanish room mate also joined us, she was very friendly and spoke brilliant Italian. 

After an hour or so, myself, Liega and Sian said goodbye to our new friends and we swapped email addresses and Facebook names. We joined Maria in another bar and I met some more people, it was so much fun and we danced until 3am. I was glad to get in bed afterwards but found it difficult to sleep with fresh memories of my visit flooding through my head.

In the morning Liega and myself decided to do our own thing for the rest of the day. I had another wander around Florence and amazingly didn’t get lost, I was very proud of myself. I found a wonderful little jewellery shop, everything was handmade and I bought a necklace. It’s a cute little skull and I haven’t taken it off since. I had a broken but good conversation with the shop owner/jewellery maker, told him what I was doing in Italy and that I studied Italian for two weeks but would like to study more – he was very impressed and said that considering I’d only studied for two weeks my Italian was good. It gave me a real confidence boost and when I’m back in the UK I think I will look into learning Italian properly while it’s fresh in my head. Being in Italy has really rekindled my love and passion for language and I may also start studying French again.

My thoughts before I came here were to do my placement, enjoy Italy, get a design job afterwards and move out but I feel differently now. I don’t feel like I’m ready to fully grow up just yet, I want to travel. I’d like a real job still of course, where I can design and be creative but I think I will save up and go travelling for a few months within the next year. I’ve seen so much during just two months of being here and I know for a fact that there’s tonnes more of the world that I am yet to see. I do want to move out but I am sure I can manage staying at home for a year longer so I can go travelling, it will be worth it and from the experience I can learn more about myself and experience things that build character.

I have a lot of thinking to do but for now, I’m going to continue enjoying myself and hopefully visit Rome and Cinque Terre soon. I also visited Verona yesterday, another post to follow shortly.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Italy, Experiences, Placement, Plans...

I’ve been meaning to write here for a good few weeks or so now but honestly, I haven’t felt settled until recently. The thought of writing became rather daunting as I didn’t want to be entirely negative with me feeling so out of sorts. I decided to wait until I was in a better mind set, and I am! I feel happy, positive and settled. I have been enjoying the sights, the sunshine, the culture and I’ve met so many fantastic people here. I am learning lots about myself and I have been surprising myself quite often, which is always an amazing feeling. I really feel like a different person, my confidence is soaring.

This is a Spritz! It's made with either Aperol or Campari, or half and half! Sparkling water and Prosecco. Depending on where you are, most places add an orange wedge, some add an olive as well. Me and my friends often drink these at the weekend, they have a sweet/tangy orange taste and are a local favorite. I enjoy mine with Aperol. 

I have done a few drawings since I landed here on 16th April of some architecture in and around Padova. The city itself is rather rough but the buildings are beautiful, even a deserted alleyway is quite pretty in its own way. I’ve always found it a challenge to record detail in my drawings and it is still one of my weaknesses but I am trying to become a better drawer by doing it more often and with different subjects. I like my style but I keep pushing myself, there’s always room for improvement even if I’m happy with my outcome.

I'd like to attempt this again at some point, the dimension/scale and colour are inaccurate but I feel that it was a good first try. I would have liked to have brought more markers with me!

This is one of my favorite photographs so far, I love the composition and colours. I am happy with my drawing but the colours are completely off, part of this was deliberate as my style is quite flat, too much of the same colour would have caused an even flatter appearance. So I decided to be free with colour and I quite like the result, and my sense of scale/dimension is improving.

My placement is going well, I am not given challenging tasks but my boss is gradually giving me more responsibility and a bigger work load. I spent most of today on Photoshop CS2 using an iBook G4, it’s really old but it works well and I sort of want to keep it. She’d notice if it went missing though! Our conversations are rather broken due to the language barrier but we always come to some kind of understanding, thankfully. I appreciate her speaking English, it’s such a big help. The company is called B.Bongianna Accessori, nice bags!


Many things have happened here that seem surreal. To name just a few - I’ve been lost LOTS of times and was even rescued one night by a lovely lady called Sienna, she drove me home. Such kindness. I was lucky to bump into her! I’ve nearly been run over about 5 times and have probably eaten my body weight (and more) in pasta since I’ve been here. There’s been a few earthquakes and they are quite frightening, there was one yesterday and I found my landlady under the kitchen table!

I am currently in a situation where I feel positive but scared. What will be my next move when I’m done here? Where will I end up? Will I get a design job soon? What do I need to do? – I think all graduates go through this often but I am really feeling the pressure to get out “there”, wherever that is. I have to find my place, it’s what I worked hard for and I have so much energy, it just took me a few months to realise it. I know I’m good at what I do, I just have to prove it. So, tonight I plan to research and gather different ideas on self promotion and apply for jobs in the UK.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012


So I got the placement for Italy! And I leave the UK on 16th April.

I'll be there for 3 months in total, and recently purchased "Italian for Dummies"- I was advised to learn some Italian but they stated it wasn't mandatory. I'm not a dummy but if dummies can learn it I'm sure I can, I'm extremely passionate about languages so looking forward to getting stuck in.

I have a lot to sort out, but my new passport and EHIC card arrived last week so that was a massive relief. I still need to buy stuff such as smart clothes and sun cream...I have bought a few things so far including a beautiful sketchbook from Paperchase. I plan on using it as a scrap book to keep my memories and achievements in for me to one day look at and reflect on myself. It's something I enjoy and is always good to evaluate yourself.

The placement is in graphic design but I have a surface design degree. Both areas do link in many ways, but obviously I won't have as much knowledge as a graphic design student has in that area, so I'm hoping that I will get along well with the structure. But I will learn anyway.

I'm feeling quite nervous, in a way I feel the same way I did when I first started University. I'm not moving out this time, but I'll be in another country, sharing a bedroom with up to 3 strangers. This is big but I can do it. I am finding this unsettling but also exciting, I enjoy meeting new people. I'm hoping that my belongings will be safe, I have recently bought a few things to take with me that are the best for creative work and I don't want to lose them. I suppose the others are on the same boat though, so I'm trying to relax for now.

I've met a lot of interesting people lately and a lot of things have happened that I wasn't expecting, but that's life. I know that when I return in July it will be even more so.

I'm sorry there's no images in this post, I'm going to update my blog (and scrapbook) as often as I can when in Italy. I'll have lots of images too, bought a new memory card for my Canon!

Ciao :)

Friday, 10 February 2012

February 11th 2012

So, tomorrow I have my very first (real) interview! It's in Lichfield and is for a design placement to be completed in Padova, Italy for three months. I am hoping that I will be successful, I'd love the opportunity to see some more of the world.

There will be a lot of candidates there, it's a massive opportunity and I am already feeling competitive, which I think is a good thing.

I've never had any problems with talking to strangers before and during interviews I have always done well, I'm fairly confident in that department. The only thing I am concerned about is that my portfolio is ridiculously heavy.

So to make the day easier, I have purchased a sack barrow, yep, that's right! Just so I can cart it around, I cannot physically carry it, I hope it doesn't make me appear unprofessional.

I have to be there for 10.15am but my interview won't be until 4pm to possibly 7pm...bit of a bummer, but let's hope it will be worth it!

I think I'm going to wear this with some heels...

But if the weather is still bad, I'm going to go smart/casual and wear leggings, shirt, blazer and my Docs. I see no point in wearing a suit, it's just not me.

I'm looking forward to it, it's going to be an interesting day and even if I am unsuccessful, I will have gained experience which is priceless. Also, I'll be able to attend Download Festival and may even take part in a Swimathon, so either way, it's a win. I'll be updating again soon.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

London Visit (November 2011)

A friend of mine wanted to go to London for the weekend as part of her birthday celebrations so myself, her and another friend of ours all organised between ourselves what we wanted to do there. We decided on going to a burlesque show and visiting both the aquarium and Madame Tussaud's.

I had been to a burlesque show before in Doncaster which was amazing and I was really looking forward to seeing one in London - because it's London! It was good :)

I've been wanting to do a design project based on sea life for a while now but there are hardly any primary resources in my area so it has been difficult. So when we went to the aquarium I took FULL advantage of the visit and took stacks of photos. So many that I ended up flagging behind my buddies. I was having problems with my camera and my photos kept blurring, even though it has super fast shutter speed so I was often having to stick around in the same place, it was worth it in the end as I ended up with a a decent selection of photos to work with.

I'm not quite sure what these things are, my memory is failing me but I'd like to draw them regardless!

He must have known he was on camera!


I thought these were gorgeous, the colours and the overall composition of the image. It's a shame my camera acted up but I'm sure it's something I can sort out. There was a lot of children at the aquarium and it was nice to see happy faces shrieking, "Finding Nemo!" - one of my favourite films.

The waxworks was fun but nowhere near as entertaining! I'm not a huge fan of celebrities, never mind wax ones as I soon discovered! However, I couldn't help but notice and appreciate how much detail and effort went into each and every wax work. They truly are amazing and a lot of them looked real, I thought these were amongst the best...


Nicole Kidman & Kate Winslet

All in all, it was a great trip. There was even time for cake!

I can't wait to head over again, it's been a long time since I was last in the V&A Museum and I'd like to visit again soon.

I've started a concept journal with some research I found in magazines, journals, etc to be a starting point for my aqua project.

Lots and lots of material to work with here!

I'm not dead.

Time certainly flies, even more so when you're busy and I realised the other day that it's about time I updated my blog, so here I am :)

I graduated from Cleveland College of Art & Design in November 2011 and it was a great day, was brilliant seeing everyone looking so smart and proud, we've all worked so hard for our degrees.

It was really windy, but we didn't lose our caps :)

I studied a foundation degree in textiles for two years and I then topped up to the BA in surface design. I joined the final year students so only studied for a year. I didn't enjoy the foundation degree so much, I did well in my second (aka final) year of the course but I didn't enjoy making things...which was the focus point of the course! I enjoy making things as a hobby though so doesn't make sense. I topped up because I was still unsure about my future/skills and I can honestly say that it was the best decision I have made. Ever. I adored the course and it gave me the chance I so desperately needed to develop my design skills to what they are today. I am aways growing and would recommend University to anyone.

The problem I faced with topping up was that although the courses were both textiles based, they were two different areas of the industry. I found the beginning of my final year of Uni (top up year) to be extremely tough and my grades dropped by a whopping 13%. I was devastated but didn't give up trying. My print skills were poor, I don't blame the foundation degree programme but I do wish we had been taught full silk screen printing techniques, but this is something I can look into myself at some point.

I was expecting a 2.2 final degree classification due to the drop in my grades, I found this hard to accept as I had dreamed of a 2.1 and honestly believed I would get that. The time came where fellow students were checking their grades and I didn't bother checking mine, I knew what I had so what was the point?

But I had to check anyway, for graduation ceremony details...and I DID IT! I read it over, and over and over just to be sure I wasn't seeing things but there it was. Imogen got a 2.1 :) I started crying and ran upstairs to tell the family, my Mum thought I was upset - It was intense.

I went to a graduate exhibition shortly after graduation day, I found some pretty cool opportunities. I have an interview in Lichfield next week for a design placement to be completed in Padova, Italy. I'm excited to say the least, my nerves won't strike until 5 minutes before my interview though! It's always the case with me, or at least has been in the past.

The company looks amazing. They provide transport, accommodation, living expenses and two weeks language tuition - if I am successful that's the most exciting thing for me, I adore language so all good!

Design wise, I am currently doing some drawing for my boss. I work in a cafe/canteen and she wants some cool/quirky drawings to put on her new menus. I am trying to get it sorted but I work about 45 hours a week so it is difficult at the moment. I hope to be out of there soon though!

Just some ideas so far.

Having Henry around is very helpful!

I've realised that since I left Uni, I seem to have forgotten A LOT about architecture, which is not good.

So I thought this little guy would help me out, he even fits in my bag.

Anyway, I will leave it there for now. I will be posting again shortly, by that I mean tonight!

Monday, 16 May 2011

Deadline Day

I cannot believe that deadline is FINALLY here! And to be honest with you, I'm not happy about it because I don't want to leave. I will most likely be doing a Masters degree sometime in the near future but I think I will sort out some placements first.

I've thoroughly enjoyed my time at Cleveland College of Art & Design and I would reccommend studying here to anyone. The courses are well structured and the staff are just amazing. I will miss this!

Here's some of my finals :)

I managed to reach my original target of 25 surf wear designs, all unisex!

I hand this in in 35 minutes!