Birmingham Design Festival

A couple of weekends ago I went to the Birmingham Design Festival for a long weekend with my boyfriend. It was also my birthday weekend, which was pretty cool and gave me permission to buy every art supply I saw – because Treat Yo’ Self – ammiright? We got to see a lot of Birmingham as each talk was in a different part of the city. I’m pretty sure my Fitbit was in shock at the number of steps I did over the three days.The famous Bullring Bull. Google told me this is one of the World’s top ten pieces of public art and the third most photographed landmark in Britain, after the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye. I managed to get this shot at 8:30 am – the only time we saw the Bull without a crowd  of admirers.I wasn’t sure what to expect from Birmingham – the only thing I knew of the city before I went was it had a statue of a Bull and this crazy building above. It’s a branch of the department store Selfridges and is basically made up of  15,000 aluminium discs mounted on a curved blue building. It’s pretty impressive close up.Birmingham is a pretty grey industrial city – but jammed between the newer concrete and glass blocks are little architectural gem like this one. The Queens Arms is a Public House  which opened in 1878, it was remodelled in 1901 with some really cool Art Noveau tilework over the entrance.

I especially loved this building: Newton Chambers used to be a a buff-terracotta Art & Crafts coffee house back in 1899 and still contains murals and decorative tiles. I kind of wish I knew more about the architecture before we visited – because it would have been awesome to do a photo-walk of the city. But that weekend – I only managed to snap a few shots (on my new camera!) while walking from one talk to another. We met a few Brummies (people from Birmingham) at a workshop and they suggested checking out the Public Library which has a replica of Shakespeare’s room on the top floor. Sadly, the room was shut for a function – but we did find the “Secret Garden” which had an aerial view of (construction sites) Birmingham.I spent about 8 minutes trying to get a macro shot of these bees. Bees fly around so much though! The garden was really lovely, all planted with herbs and flowers. The library was incredible too – it looked like something out of a film set. If we had a library like that near where I lived, I would be in there for hours.The main reason we went to the Design Festival was to a catch a talk by this guy – Aaron Draplin. He is a super cool, extremely prolific Graphic Design and his talk was so inspiring and motivating I left wanting to design something straight away. And I don’t even like designing! If you ever have the chance to see this guy live – jump on it!Aaaaaand it was my birthday! Did I mention that already? Here is a snapshot of ALL the supplies the I got and that I bought. Including my brand new Canon G7x Mark II which was the BEST present ever! If you would like to a little more info about my art supply haul – and see a bit more of the Festival – check out the video below. I filmed most of it with my new camera, and turns out I have no idea how to use auto-focus :/

Have you got a design or illustration festival you can recommend? This was my first art-y festival and now I’m hooked! When’s the next one?

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