Amelia’s Magazine | Stick of Rock mugs: An interview with product designer Lydia Leith

Lydia Leith stick of rock mugs
The striking designs of product designer Lydia Leith first caught my attention at Bust Craftacular a few years back so I was delighted when she got in touch to tell me about her fabulous new project: the Stick of Rock range of mugs.

Lydia Leith royal family moulds
How much did your parents influence your decision to enter the creative world and what was the best advice they gave you?
Both parents have always been creative (Father illustrator and Mother craft teacher). Growing up in London we just happened to live in a very creative community, our neighbors (and friends) included a well known ceramicist, a fashion designer, an RA artist and in the house opposite us a Turner Prize winner. As a child I just thought this was very normal but looking back it was lucky coincidence and I have very fond memories of it all. From an early age I always assumed I’d end up working creatively, it never really crossed my mind to do anything else. The best advice my parents ever gave me was to “do the best I can” and “to occasionally break the rules”.

Lydia Leith badges
What was it like to leave London and relocate to a small town in rural Cumbria?
Moving from London to a small town in Cumbria at the age of 12 was a total culture shock. Once I had got used to the countryside it was a great (and probably a safer) place to spend teenage years.

Why were you inspired to create so much design based on the Royal Family? (your sick bag, jelly moulds and more)
The Royal Family theme happened by accident and I had made the Royal Wedding Sick Bags as a bit of a joke to practice my screen printing and to entertain myself. After their success and with the Queen’s Jubilee the following year it seemed fitting to run with the Royal themed designs for a bit longer, people expected me to bring something else royal themed out so I did.

Lydia Leith mural
You recently moved again, this time from Newcastle to Hackney – what prompted this latest move and how is it going?
I love the north and often pop back to see family etc. It is good to expernence new places. As a designer I felt I could be missing out on something by not being in London. It is early days for me here in Hackney, I am settling in well, it is fantastic to discover new shops, meet more creative people and find new inspirations. I am looking forward to becoming a Londoner again.

Lydia Leith wired up china
Your ‘Wired Up’ china set first attracted my attention a few years ago – where did you get the idea for this and how did you adapt the designs to suit the whole range of table ware?
Although water and electrify don’t usually mix, I thought a fairy lights design could be visually exciting but also would tie in with the cosy feeling of coming home and having a cup of tea. Using a tea set worked well because the design worked on cylinder and circular shapes and having multiple pieces meant we could have fun with mixing and matching.

Your latest Stick of Rock mugs are another stroke of genius – where did you get the idea for these from and where are they produced?
The idea popped into my head one day after watching rock being made. I had to find the right shaped mugs and ended up using a factory in Stoke in Trent to make them. I’ve started with Brighton, Blackpool and Margate but aim to make eventually all the seaside towns, Skegness, Bognor Regis etc.

Lydia Leith mural
When did you first start collaborating with your father and how does this process work in practice?
I started to collaborate with my father on some projects because I saw his talent wasted. His illustration work was seen everywhere over the 70s/80s/90s, he never adapted with computers and sort of disappeared off the radar once the industry became digitalised. However he was still a prolific worker but a lot of his personal work was finished then put in a drawer and never seen by anyone (the opposite to when he was working commercially). I thought this was a waste so I helped him get a website and we started working on some projects together.

So far we have worked on large scale murals, a range of mugs and coming soon children’s books. We get on really well, between us we have more ideas than we can keep up with making into reality. I am currently planning for a retrospective for his commercial illustration work, which is very exciting!

Lydia Leith mugs
Where can people buy your products?
People can buy my products online here: my fathers website is General info and updates are on instgram and twitter too.

Categories ,Blackpool, ,Bognor Regis, ,brighton, ,Bust Craftacular, ,Cumbria, ,designer, ,Humorous, ,illustrator, ,interview, ,Lydia Leith, ,Margate, ,Paul Leith, ,Queen’s Jubilee, ,Royal Family, ,Royal Wedding Sick Bags, ,Seaside, ,Skegness, ,Stick of Rock, ,Stoke in Trent, ,Turner Prize, ,Wired Up

Similar Posts:

Amelia’s Magazine | Review: Designs of the Year 2012 at the Design Museum

Design Museum designs of year 2012 -Vivienne Westwood
Vivienne Westwood ethically produced bags.

The Design Museum‘s flagship exhibition, Designs of the Year, has returned for 2012. I went along to the preview to check out the experts’ choice of the best from multiple design disciplines; including fashion, architecture, product design, digital and graphics. Here’s my pick:

Design Museum designs of year 2012  noma bar
Design Museum designs of year 2012  noma bar
Outline Editions have brought along designer Noma Bar and his Cut It Out dog machine, which is able to cut through all sorts of materials. His artwork is inspired by negative space – he gleefully told me how he has taken to trawling charity shops for interesting things that the dog can chomp through. As well as the wonderful simplicity of his bold imagery I am particularly attracted to the upcycling side of this clever project.

Design Museum designs of year 2012 -Photolettering
Photolettering by House Industries allows users to create usable type from vintage American fonts. As something of a font fiend I love this idea!

Design Museum designs of year 2012 -GF Smith
GF Smith create beautiful papers (they were used in the first two issues of Amelia’s Magazine in print) and their colourful display was inspired by the microscopic detail of paper fibres. Designed by SEA Design with Field.

Design Museum designs of year 2012 -De Designpolitie
Using bold yellow with red and black typography, De Designpolitie of the Netherlands have created a brand identity for the two day What Design Can Do! conference in May 2012. I love that they are not afraid of making a statement!

Design Museum designs of year 2012 -National Maritime Museum
The National Maritime Museum‘s High Arctic display to highlight the fragility of the environment was represented with a tiny model. This immersive gallery installation must have been quite mesmerising in situ.

Design Museum designs of year 2012 -Mary Katrantzou
Representing the very best of British fashion was an outfit from Mary Katrantzou‘s seminal A/W 2011 collection: great to see the digital detailing and remarkable cutting up close.

Design Museum designs of year 2012 -Suno
Suno of New York was a new ethical fashion discovery: they work locally with artisans to create highly desirable collections – the first one used vintage Kenyan textiles but more recently they were inspired by the subtle colours and abstract designs of Art Deco illustrator George Lepape.

Design Museum designs of year 2012 -Vivienne Westwood
And then there’s Vivienne Westwood grinning gleefully from beneath her bird’s nest hair. Her Ethical Fashion Africa collection is created out of scrap materials by marginalised women in Nairobi. The outcome? Typically colourful designs with outrageous slogans embroidered out of Masai beads.

Design Museum designs of year 2012 -Bethan Laura Wood
I was most intrigued by Bethan Laura Wood‘s incredible Moon Rock table, made using colourful kitchen laminates. Her Totem lighting was also on display. Miranda Williams previously spotted Bethan‘s beautiful work at London Design Week, for this talented lady also makes jewellery.

Design Museum designs of year 2012 -Thixotropes by Troika
Thixotropes by Troika are huge spinning LED sculptures that combine art and science. Hypnotic!

Design Museum designs of year 2012 -Studio Bertjan Pot
Heracleum is a hanging light by Studio Bertjan Pot – designed to imitate the branching form of a plant.

Design Museum designs of year 2012 -The Comedy Carpet
The Comedy Carpet in Blackpool is a huge 2,200 sq metre granite installation designed by Gordon Young with Why Not Associates. It features jokes and catchphrases in glorious decorative fonts of all sizes. I am very impressed that such a thing was commissioned!

Design Museum designs of year 2012 -Hovding Invisible Cycle Helmet
Design Museum designs of year 2012 -Hovding Invisible Cycle Helmet
The Hovding Invisible Cycle Helmet is designed for stick in the muds such as me who refuse to wear a bike helmet. It contains an airbag that sits around the neck and is only activated should an accident occur.

Design Museum designs of year 2012 -Orb-It
The Orb-It is a small hand held rechargeable vacuum hoover by Black & Decker. It looks very cute, but I’d like to see it in action.

Design Museum designs of year 2012 -Kokoro & Moi
Stockmann packaging by Kokoro & Moi has a delightfully playful Finnish quality.

The panel of judges encompasses a diverse range of artistic talent, which explains the chaotically eclectic nature of this exhibition. Despite some arbitrary choices (I mean, there’s so much good design out there, where do you start?!) Designs of the Year offers a great chance to discover some exciting new design from a wide range of fields. My one wish would be that more designers begin to incorporate sustainable practice into their work: one of the wall infographics depressingly stated that only 19% of projects on show have been designed to be sustainable. It will take more than that to sort out this mess we are in.

Find out more information at the Designs of the Year 2012 website.

Categories ,2012, ,Bethan Laura Wood, ,Black & Decker, ,Blackpool, ,Cut It Out, ,De Designpolitie, ,Design Museum, ,Designs of the Year, ,digital, ,Ethical Fashion, ,Ethical Fashion Africa, ,fashion, ,Field, ,Fonts, ,Furniture, ,George Lepape, ,GF Smith, ,Gordon Young, ,Granite, ,Graphics, ,Heracleum, ,High Arctic, ,House Industries, ,Hovding Invisible Cycle Helmet, ,Laminates, ,Lighting, ,Mary Katrantzou, ,Moon Rock, ,National Maritime Museum, ,Noma Bar, ,Orb-It, ,Outline Editions, ,Photolettering, ,Print Design, ,Product Design, ,review, ,SEA Design, ,Stockmann, ,Studio Bertjan Pot, ,Suno, ,The Comedy Carpet, ,Thixotropes, ,Totem, ,Troika, ,typography, ,What Design Can Do!, ,Why Not Associates

Similar Posts: