HOCKNEY, Emin, Hirst – and Hardwick?
While much has been written about the first three as some of the biggest names in the world of British art and design, the latter, Eyv Hardwick, (nee Saunders) busies herself out of the limelight, servicing royalty and celebrity but also inspiring students at the only specialist art and design university level college in the North-East.
But the designer maker from Stockton-on-Tees is now enjoying the same international acclaim as her celebrated contemporaries.
Selected by The British Council, the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations, Eyv’s iconic recycled hand-hooked floral check shopper and flower arrangement handy bags have been chosen to promote the achievements of leading British artists, alongside Damien Hirst, David Hockney and Tracey Emin, at the British Consulate in New York City.
Eyv is one of just 14 British artists who have been picked to represent the best of British contemporary design at the Creativity Is Great exhibition, alongside fellow celebrated artists Conrad Atkinson, Glen Baxter, Austin Cooper, Clare Goddard, Frederick Herrick, John Kindness, Horace Taylor, Mark Titchner, Joe Tilson, and Mark Wallinger.
Contemporary designer Eyv, 40, who has travelled the globe with her innovative recycled artworks, is currently sharing her industry knowledge with students as employability and enterprise co-ordinator at Cleveland College of Art & Design’s university level campus in Hartlepool.
“To be selected for an elite arts show among the likes of professionals such as Hirst, Hockney and Emin is a huge honour,” says Eyv. “Both of my works were created back in 1999 and bought by The British Council for their art collection some years ago. To know that they still have a future and are considered contemporary really does fulfil my creative vision.”
Eyv, who started her own design business age 22, making hand-hooked recycled rugs from her student digs, studied at Cleveland College of Art & Design before moving on to study at a higher level at the Bolton Institute and Wolverhampton University.
At her first graduate show, New Designers, London, Eyv sold her whole graduate portfolio and received international exposure through the Heimtex and Domotex trade fairs in Germany selling out her complete stock within ten minutes.
From 1996 to 2004, alongside running her business, she was asked to work for The British Council, travelling extensively to Egypt, New Zealand, Australia and China to promote British designers abroad, before returning to the North East as arts development officer for Middlesbrough Council.
“My designs were quite revolutionary for the 90s when making products from recycled plastic was slightly frowned upon,” recalls Eyv. “But when I started creating, the use of such materials, and the technique of hand-hooking, were absolutely key.
“One of my main aims was to raise the profile of what was originally considered a pauper’s craft into something that would be taken seriously and could be made into high-end luxury items. Being chosen for this latest exhibition has made that aim a reality.”
With a passion to pass on her vast knowledge and experience to others Eyv started work at Cleveland College of Art & Design in 2005, while still running her business in a smaller capacity. And she has sold her products around the world to top-end department stores, such as Barker and Stonehouse, celebrities including Kylie Minogue and footballer Rio Ferdinand and even royalty.
“In terms of being a designer maker I’ve been there, done that, learnt what to do and more importantly what not to do and now I’m passionate about helping other young designers achieve their ambitions,” says Eyv.
“Students gain their inspiration and knowledge from everywhere but for them to see the staff at CCAD carrying out their own practice in addition to their educational careers is vitally important. Creative people need to create so juggling creative practice, educational practice and work-life balance should be inspirational.”
A publication produced by the British Council to accompany the work includes a photograph and description of Eyv’s creations and is being made available to visitors to the exhibition at The British Consulate, Third Avenue, New York.
“I always wanted my products to be functional yet attractive,” adds Eyv. “I consider them more as items to use than artworks but I love that they cross the boundaries. They take a long time to make so I am pleased and honored that they are getting the glass cabinet treatment that they deserve.”
For more information on opportunities at CCAD contact (01642) 288888 or log on to www.ccad.ac.uk.
HOCKNEY, Emin, Hirst – and Hardwick?