About Me

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hi! my name is kirsty gilliburn and i am a student at manchester school of art studying Design and Art Direction. Sometimes my mind runs off on a tangent and i imagine myself sat in a Vogue office wearing head to toe chanel, the new anna wintour. A girl can dream.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009


Alex from YCN visited last week, not meaning to sound negative, this lecture didn't really teach em anything I didn't already know, he came in and told us about how YCN as a company works, the majority of which I knew from researching the company online myself and subscribing to the creative opportunities they have available online. The lecture did help refresh my memory on the opportunities that YCN create and have available to students, particularly the live brief's which as I wrote before I am currently taking part in (Fedrigoni), which is particularly helpful since I am currently considering my options post graduate.

New brief...live arghhhhhhh

We were given new briefs to choose from recently. My work load is currently piling up to a point of craziness and I am starting to stress. NOT GOOD stressing only waste's time. But i've got to keep going, the more I work at it, fingers crossed, the more I will get done. The new briefs look really interesting, particularly the Ted Baker window display brief! However I have decided to pick the Fedrigoni brief. It is is based around the company wanting to encourage more creative's to use their paper services, we are allowed to use any method we want to create our ideas, so it is a completely open brief, fun but alot of work because i feel like there are a million possibilities. However this is one of the aspects that has pursuaded me to do this brief, i'm hoping it will give me the chance to have a play instead of stressing about an outcome, although in the back of my mind I am still worrying about it but i really can't help it! I have been looking at work by Rob Ryan and Beatrice Cohen who's work I saw when I visited New York at the Slash paper exhibition at the Museum of Art and Design. I loved the work shown there, the intricacy of the design's on the paper is beautiful, a piece of Rob Ryans work is shown above. I think working in this style will work well for the brief because I will be able to create a message within the image and promote and show the abilities of the paper through my designs. However I haven't forgotten about the Ted Baker brief, with my main passion currently in visual merchandising I am waiting to tackle this brief for my personal project where I will have more time to focus on it and hopefully enter it for the YCN competition, I have never entered my work into one of these competitions but with a huge interest in the subject area i'm hoping that my enthusiasm and interest will show though my designs and enable me to enter. keep your fingers crossed!

Karen's family photography...

Photography has always been something i am extremely passionate about, and when my mum's friend said she knew a photographer (Karen) who might want some help on a photo-shoot i jumped at the chance. I am mainly interested in fashion photography, Nick Knight being a particular favorite of mine, and even though Karen focused on family and portrait photography any experience is good experience right? Definately, i found that despite the photographic subject not being one that i was truly interested in there are clearly many aspects which link together with all types of photography. The main thing i learnt was setting up the lights and checking for the right light settings, this is something i have always been eager to learn but unsure of where to find out how. aligning the lights with the backdrop and using a light sensor to check that the exposure would be right was complicated but interesting, alot of numbers were involved easy to say not my strongest point. we were based at a nursery not far from where Karen lived and her job for the day was to photograph children for their parents, alot of the children were quite upset about having their photo's taken but we managed to get some pleasing shots.
i really enjoyed doing this placement as it taught me new skills and helped me recognise the associations between all types of photography despite the subject.


I have many things to post from my trip to NewYork but unfortunately they will all have to wait for a few weeks now i have neglected my blog in the hopes that i will spend more time on my creative projects. unfortunately u havn't =( it is now time to...

panic and freak out...

Tuesday, 3 November 2009



Monday, 19 October 2009

yet another blog for the evening...

O.K. so i'm going slightly blog crazy tonight, I thought it was time to catch up with it so I thought i'd share this little piece of information... whilst playing around on my mac, yes i've had it 2 years and still don't know all the things it can do, I started exploring the widgets and found that more can be downloaded from apple... it scared me slightly when I found that there is a live cctv widget on which you can watch the people of new york passing through Greenwich village. being as nosey and curious as i was downloaded it (free of course!). I felt I needed to share this piece of information because it was the strangest thing i've seen in a long time!! i know i wouldn't like the thought of someone halfway round the world watching me on cctv. although it did give me mini butterflies in my belly thinking that i will be in NEWYORK in 2 weeks and 3 days!!

What Scares You The Most?

The Sound Of SILENCE...

Whilst in Rochdale looking at the Shop exhibition I also went to see the rest of the galleries in the heritage centre. It held Rochdale's permanent collection of art work, there were several pieces which caught my attention, in particular those below...

It's not often I find this type of work interesting, my interests generally lie within fashion photography and commericial graphic design; but these pieces definately caught my eye. The first piece was called "loop my loop" by Helen Chadwick. From afar it just looked like a piece of hair braided, it was only when I got up close and read the plaque did I realise it was even more unusual than i first thought. It is actually made from a braid hair entwined with a pigs intestine. The juxtoposition of these items works well, from afar it lures me closer at it appears to be an interesting photographic subject, then upon inspection it is repulsive and makes you want to move away from the image.
The house sculpture made from thorns is similar to the photograph. both items/ideas juxtopose one another and create an unusual and luring object.
I wasn't expecting to find this type of work within the gallery, considering my local gallery holds mainly victorian paintings, it was exciting to see something conceptual rather than just paintings in a local gallery.

The Shop

Visiting Touchstones, Rochdale's heritage centre, meant that i was able to see the current "Shop" exhibition they were holding. It showed what shop displays were like in Rochdale during the 1900's. I am greatly interested in visual merchandising, particularly window display's and so it was great seeing how different life was and what design tactics were used to sell items during this time.

It was clear to me that displays were not neccessarily thought out as thoroughly as they are today. It seemed that shop keepers would just put as much as they could out on display, this made sense for the time as it was during the first world war and money was tight and so shop keepers had to show their full range of products to try and entice as many customers as possible with their range of items.

Another aspect of the exhibition that i found really helpful was looking at the items that are displayed within the windows not just the way they are displayed. This tin of Vaseline particularly caught my eye as it is strange to see that despite nearly a hundred year gap the packaging has changed very little.

The simple 2 color, color scheme and basic placing of texts is simple and effective and it can be seen above how little it has change today. Alot of products constantly change their packaging to grab the attention of new customers to buy the product. To create a piece of design which is still being used after a hundred years is a graphic designers dream.
I really enjoyed seeing this exhibition and am hoping it will help with the writing of my essay about retail branding as visual merchandising is highly important when it comes to branding a store. It also helped open my eyes to the amazing techniques and visuals going on within visual merchandising today, and how visually beautiful aspects of our life are that we often take for granted.

"Get Excited & Make Things"

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

French Connection: Range Review autumn/winter 09

For the past couple of months i have been working more hours at my part time job at French connection in Manchester and i have been really enjoying myself. Becoming more involved in the way the company works and in particular finding out about the advertising and visual merchandising side to the company. i recently took part in a regional walk through of the store, where by store managers come from all over the northern sector of the country to see how our store has been visually laid out to inspire customer purchases and interest in the current season items. Getting there early hours Friday morning to prep clothes so the store was looking at its best was tiring but worth it. getting to join in on the walk through and listen to the head visual merchandiser for the company on why items where placed, folded and hung in specific ways to attract customers into the store and also to entice them to look at other sections within the store.
Visual merchandising really interests me and i feel privileged to work for a company where by i am able to get involved with events like this and am able to further my visual merchandising knowledge and experience. Speaking to my manager she has agreed to get me involved with more aspects of visual merchandising within the store, which allows me to use knowledge i have gained on my D&AD course about how imagery, design and layout can sell a product and/or reveal/convey a message.
Previous examples of how French Connection use Visual merchandising to create beautiful and fashion forward window displays to enhance their brand are shown above.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Sound and Vision.

As well as visiting the Beaton exhibition i also visited the Sound and Vision exhibition at the National Conservation Centre. Although i am a big fan of photography the work here didn't really appeal to me. It was a very different style of exhibition to the one i had been to at the Walker gallery. The theme was based around bands who had played in Liverpool in the 70's and 80's during the punk/rock period and were photographed by Francesco Mellina. Music played throughout the exhibition of bands that were featured and so a very different atmosphere was given as soon as you walked in the room. Again no photography was allowed but even though the style of work wasn't my cup of tea i managed to find interesting aspects to the work there. Particularly the way fashion, music and photographed had been encorporated into one exhibition was very interesting and since i have a keen interest in fashion it was strange to see the influences that this era still has on the fashion world today. The use of leather within clothing, blazers, deep set eye makeup and messy hair; these were all aspects i picked up from Francesco's work that can be related to fashion trends today. It made me realise just how influential previous eras are within fashion today. Even though i am constantly reading and hearing comments such as "new trends are so...80's and that dress has definately got a 40's style to it", it has never been completely clear to me how much we rely on the years gone by to create the fashion we know today.

Seeing Francesco Mellina's work also made me realise that even though your looking at a piece of work, a photograph, poster, magazine or even book cover that you don't neccesarily like, you should never dismiss it straight away, there could be an underlying aspect of that piece of work which directly links to your interests. You definately learn something new everyday.

Cecil Beaton portraits and my trip to the POOL.

Ok... so I am finally completely up and running with my blog and I have started to prepare myself for the stressful year ahead! for the past couple of months I have spent my time working and I have also been on a couple of holidays, spending time with the girls in Aiya Napa and then visiting spain with my family. Now I'm home i thought it was time to visit some exhibitions and re-ignite my creativity.

On TUESDAY 18TH AUGUST I went to Liverpool (the POOL) with Jemma, Gemma and Anna.

A range of Cecil Beaton portraits were being displayed at the Walker Art Gallery, at first I was going to Liverpool to see my friends and just collect information in preparation for my journal in the upcoming year, I liked Cecil Beaton's work and I knew I would like the photographs but I wasn't expecting to take as much interest in the images as i did. what interested me was that Beaton didn't only take photographs of the "famous" people of his time but also royal's and politically influential people also, I particularly liked his image of queen elizabeth and also of winston churchill. unfortunately when I was in the exhibition I was unable to take photographs. (not that I knew that initially and went around taking photographs, only to be told by the security guard i wasn't allowed...ooops.) The way Beaton has photographed all of his subjects particularly that of queen Elizabeth and Winston Churchill is different to what I was expecting to see from a portrait, although they are clearly staged the atmosphere around the subject is a natural setting and makes you feel like you are given a view of the person themselves and their life instead of just an image of them.

Another favorite of mine was this of Julie Andrews, the use of the mirror to show her reflection is creative and different to many of his other works, you don't get the basic face on view you would expect to find in a portrait, there is a playful side to it which is what I like the most about the image.

While I was on the way out there was also a small selection of work from Zoe, of Zoe photography, she had used Cecil Beaton as her inspiration and taken images similar to his. I liked the way she had made associations with his work and when I came home I looked at other portraiture work she had done on her website.


I really like the style of her work and it was good to see how looking at past creatives can really influence a photographers style today.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

My First Blog.

Hello everyone... FINALLY got my blog up and running, Im currently browsing around and getting used to it all and will be adding more posts about my summer SOON...