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International Women's Day 2021

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Illustration of women
Illustration of women
Body diversity illustration by Cyrielle Viany
Written by
Eleanor Harvey
Published date
08 March 2021

Today is International Women’s Day (Monday 8 March 2021), so we wanted to highlight some of our female graduates' work. We haven’t even scratched the surface of all of the projects and work out there but this is a taster of the amazing projects being done by female graduates. And throughout this week, make sure to check out our Instagram stories where we’ll be showcasing more graduates each day.

1. studio_lovell

Sophie Lovell: BA (Hons) Design: Public Art and Design, Chelsea College of Arts, 1993
Orlando Lovell: Foundation Art and Design, Central Saint Martins (CSM), 2014

Photo of 2 women looking to the top left of the corner
Sophie and Orlando Lovell, studio_lovell, photo © Lena Giovanazzi

Sophie and Orlando Lovell are the mother-daughter duo behind studio_lovell. Based in Berlin, the intergenerational studio has recently launched a new platform for food futures and systemic change, called The Common Table. Sophie told us more about the platform:

“The global food system is broken. With The Common Table, we want to share stories and ideas about food from around the world from people who are searching for ways to fix it. Our goal is to understand how systems of production, distribution and consumption can be changed – and to help identify the people and projects forging ways towards a better, fairer food future.

As a mother-daughter creative duo living in Berlin, we have many years of experience in all things design, architecture – and food. Our home has always been a place where we have cooked and hosted many meals and fed heated discussions with wonderful guests. Now it’s time to extend our kitchen table and turn it into something bigger: a virtual workplace – a platform for change.”

2. Winnie Chan

MA Fine Art, Chelsea, 2015

Pink washed background with the numbers 1-28 in red
Menstruation Cycle and Mood, 2019, acrylic and chalk pastel on cardboard, by Winnie Chan

Winnie Chan is a Fine Artist, originally from Hong Kong and currently based in the UK. Chan’s works are her life experiences, introspection and her personal response to global issues. She explores the interconnectedness between our consumption patterns and environment, her identity as part of the Hong Kong Cantonese diaspora and her emotional struggles.

Chan’s recent work focuses on the human psyche and women’s emotions. She is actively involved in community projects and publications, such as the Health for All (2019) exhibition organised by The Art of Caring. She was also involved in the zine Progress by Nervezine (2020), which addressed the importance of mental health support, and the lack of awareness on the significance of dysmenorrhea (painful menstrual cramps).

She was in Hong Kong in 2020 and witnessed the social tensions due to the conflict between Hong Kong and Mainland China. She responded to the situation through a number of public art exhibitions including Art Guerrilla Anytime in the Wild Art Festival, Hong Kong (2020) and the community exhibition Extraordinary postcards for extraordinary times at the Newlyn Art Gallery, UK. Her work was also shortlisted for the 2018 Hong Kong Human Right Art Prize and has since been exhibited in the UK, China, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Finland.

3. Nema Mcmorran

BA (Hons) Art and Design, CSM, 1993

Photo of Nema with her book
Nema Mcmorran

Spondylux Press was launched in 2020 by Nema Mcmorran, who was diagnosed autistic three years ago at the age of 43 by the National Autistic Society. Nema, who goes by the pen name N.E. McMORRAN started the independent press to nurture, celebrate and publish neurodivergent creatives, and is run by an all autistic female and non-binary professional team.

Nema's debut novel, the clifi (climate fiction) adventure Moojag and the Auticode Secret was successfully released by the press in November 2020, and more inspiring titles are due for release later this year.

Spondylux Press is an inclusive project now open to submissions from neurodivergent artists and writers. An inclusive employer, autistics of all abilities are welcome and are able to accommodate all needs so that opportunities remain open.

4. Mina Stefanovic

BA (Hons) Fine Art, CSM, 2016

Line drawing of a pair of hands
Mina Stefan

Mina discusses her new drawing series which celebrates the empowerment of women and self-love.

“Themes of female sensuality, body diversity, beauty, life and loss are explored in an evolving series of work. I draw inspiration from the movement and fluidity of the body form. My art involves exploring shapes through the fragility of a line. For me, it’s about accentuating a form but also leaving it to the viewer's interpretation. Also, a female nude is fascinating, especially exploring the perception of female beauty. It’s an amazing way to explore many languages of identity, society and sexuality. I like the polarisation of the nude, it makes people feel a little uneasy. Your body is both a symbol of liberalism and a symbol of restriction.”

5. Jessie White

MA Fashion Artefact, London College of Fashion (LCF), 2015

Leather sculpture
Bent by Jessie White

“I am a designer and sculptor from Scotland, living and working in London. My work has always been driven by the desire to tell stories through the exploration of new materials, processes, and craft techniques. I currently work at Bill Amberg Studio, which acts as a source of inspiration and reinforces my skills as a maker.

“Bent is a celebration of imperfection. Made using the scarred offcuts of thick vegetable tanned leather and constructed using traditional leather box stitching, it's a playful labour of craft and experimentation of form. In the luxury market and society in general, there is a desire for perfection, as it indicates wealth, youth and beauty. The beauty of this work lies in the stretch marks and scars you can see etched on the surface of the skin and reminds you of its origin.

“The materials themselves are very important to my work and I love the natural grains of the wood and the stretch marks on the leather. My roots lie in Scotland and I source all the wood I use from a local woodturner. The leather is tanned using natural products and I use beeswax to finish the wood, so it is as chemical-free as possible. The small scale of the project means I know exactly where the materials come from and I can maintain a minimal impact on the environment.”

6. Poppy O’Neil

PGCert Fashion and Lifestyle Journalism, LCF, 2008

A selection of books
Poppy O'Neill

“I am a freelance writer living in Sussex, and since graduating I have published 8 books with Summersdale Publishers,  focusing on the mental health and emotional well-being for children and adults, including best-sellers Don’t Worry, Be Happy and You’re a Star. The practical guides use proven cognitive-behavioural therapy methods used by child psychologists in schools alongside simple activities. I have four more due to be published in 2021. I also work for Writers' HQ nurturing new and established writers.”

7. Johanna von Oldershausen

Foundation Art and Design, Chelsea, 2005

Painting of 3 people
Bettlaken, by Johanna Von Oldershausen

“I work as a digital collage artist addressing the themes of female identities and the different roles in our life. Drawing from my previous work as a stage and costume designer clothes, masks, set design and lighting are major elements in my work.

"In 2019 I started to experiment with the iPad and have found a unique way to combine my own analogue drawings with photos as well as magazine clippings and I digitally paint over these. All works are printed on Hahnemühle fine art paper and vary from limited editions to unique pieces.”

8. Wajeeha Abbasi

MA Illustration, London College of Communication (LCC), 2015

Illustration in fluro-colours
'Me, Myself and AI', by Wajeeha Abbasi

Wajeeha Abbasi is a Toronto-based Illustrator and Designer, who’s work represents narratives from the everyday and builds visual bridges revolving around women and pop culture. Her work has been featured in LDF ’15, Digital Arts, Elle and Al Jazeera.

In her full-time roles, Abbasi has worked as a Graphic Designer at Ogilvy, the British Council, and is currently working as a Graphic Design and Communications Specialist at CareRx in Canada.

9. Madelaine Dowd

BA (Hons) Interior and Spatial Design, Chelsea, 2016

photo of a woman in in front of a ship
Madelaine Dowd

Madelaine has been designing resilience systems for disasters for many years and has most recently developed an award-winning, lifesaving solution to one of the world's most dangerous jobs, maritime piloting. Her company Helm Innovation ltd, has design engineered a mechanism to reduce risk in ship to ship transfers which is a requirement of maritime pilots. As a result, they have reduced risk by 80% and are on track to become a global regulation for all 65,600 ships in the expanding global fleet. Additionally, she is the co-founder of the Cross Design Studio, providing consultancy on a range of projects from architectural installation design to product engineering due to demand.

10. Chanelle Edwards

BA (Hons) Fashion Design: Womenswear, CSM, 2011

Rubber vest with 'freedoom' painted on the front
Chanelle Edwards

“I’m a multidisciplinary designer and text based artist from London, and I make hand painted rubber vest sculptures and typographic prints - featuring words and statements mainly inspired by current social, political or environmental issues.

“This vest is part of an ongoing series of paintings, and was inspired by a conversation I had about freedom of speech, and a blog post I wrote about the refugee crisis, and freedom of movement.”

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