Friday, 12 December 2014

Venture's Rosemarie Va Va vooms with her creations in London

Rosemarie James, who took part in our Venture start up programme last year, had her designer dresses wowing people on the catwalk in London.

The Fashion Designers and Craft Makers Young Designer Awards took place in November. VV by Rose's  designer outfits for larger busted women were showcased in the Emerging designer category.

"It was wonderful to see my designs on the catwalk at such a prestigious event," says Rosemarie. "I networked a lot and met many great designers including some from the USA."

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Exhibition showcases the 'Polyprop' chair

The latest exhibition at Birmingham City University's Parkside Building celebrates the landmark Polypropylene side chair.

Professor Richard Snell charts the development of this 20th century classic by furniture company Hille and designer Robin Day. Richard's exhibition demonstrates the evolution of the chair, still sold worldwide, in the context of 19th and 20th century chair design and takes account of the creative and commercial possibilities offered by new materials and processes.

Professor Richard Snell
Private view  Day and Hille exhibition 

Speaking at the opening of the exhibition, Cherrill Scheer , youngest daughter of Ray Hille who led the company from 1932 - complimented Richard on the elegance of the exhibition. Cherrill also shared some vivid memories of life at the company in the 1960s and 1970s.

Cherrill Scheer (r) and daughter Danielle Benson
If you are visiting Birmingham this is informative exhibition well worth visiting.

Exhibition opening times
The exhibition is open 9am to 7pm (closed Sundays). It will close for the holiday period from 20 December and reopen on Monday 5 January. Last day Friday 9 January 2015.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Stax of ideas, Stax of effort

Stax Creations, alumni of our 2013-14 ILF Venture start up programme, go from strength to strength.

Most recently, the young team, which specialises in the design and build of large installations for retail, office and event spaces, achieved a major profile boost with their work for the Birmingham wing of TED the global ideas phenomenon.

Part of Stax Creations work for TEDxBrum

The theme at TEDxBrum event on November 8 was DIY and Stax whose own company ethos of 'do it yourself' dovetails so well with the TED philosophy, quickly created a distinctly visual stage set.

"We really wanted to do it," adds Nathaniel Hanna, Stax Creations managing director. "I'm a fan of the brand and it was a great opportunity to showcase what we can do."

The TEDxBrum project followed a busy summer and autumn for Stax, which included major builds for two festivals.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Sara Page - making a splash.

Surface designer Sara Page is a stalwart part of the Interiors & Lifestyle Futures community. She has recently teamed up with fellow ILF member GlassDomain to produce a kitchen glass splash back. The work will feature in online kitchen design magazine Utopia in January.

Sara with one of  her wild wine glass splash back designs
GlassDomain's visualisation of the wild wine kitchen splash back

And, if you are visiting Birmingham city centre, you will also notice that Sara features on posters as part of this year's Birmingham Made Me campaign, which runs on 19 November.

One of this year's Birmingham Made Me Expo posters 

If you cannot catch Sara at the Expo, make sure you check out her online website

Follow @adrianilfutures 

Friday, 24 October 2014

Venture workshop - David Clarke Critique

This week the ILF Venture workshop welcomed innovative  silversmith David Clarke.

David is also much in demand around the world as a teacher of design and creativity - in fact he had just returned from a three week stint in China.

He provided each of our Venture participant with a thorough critique of their business ideas (yes there were some tears!) and invaluable suggestions for improvements and opportunities.

"David gave me constructive criticism, showing me how and where I need to improve, " said clothing entrepreneur Lloyd Taylor.

David Clarke gets to the point
Around the table group discussion
(L-R) James Harris, Dawn-Marie Denton and Karim Kahn-Ali
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Friday, 17 October 2014

Visioning workshop Worcester

Interiors & Lifestyle Futures would like to thank all the companies that took part in our latest  workshop for the welcome they gave us and, more importantly, all the hard work they put into the two days! Thanks also to Natasha from Worcester CCC for the group photograph.

Adrian and Heather - AKH Vintage
Anneliese Appleby
Sarah Walker Artshades
Lisa and Andre -Blacktape
Gemma - Brown + Black Studio
Jenni Waugh Consulting
Sarah Millin Art

Visioning workshop Day 1

Visioning workshop Day 2

ILF team and participants

For more about  our Visioning workshops click here.
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Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Next Visioning workshop - in Worcester

Following our very enjoyable two day Visioning workshop at Harper Adams with members of WIRE (Women in Rural Enterprise), the ILF team is taking its road show next to Worcester.

The workshop will take place at Worcester Cricket Club on Wednesday 8 October and Wednesday 15 October (days run from 9.45 am until 4.30 pm).

To book please contact Ruth Edwards on 0121 331 7922 or email

Members of WIRE and ILF at Harper Adams

About our workshops
If you are a creative West Midlands based small business or sole trader  wanting to take a fresh look at your future business direction, then this will be two days well spent.The workshop is free thanks to funding from the European Regional Development Fund.

You'll need to working broadly within the interiors and lifestyle sectors (furniture, furnishings, textiles,  interiors, ceramics, glass, jewellery, art or services that support these areas).

The two-day Visioning workshop  helps you
  • identify strengths, gaps and opportunities through our unique network wheel
  • take a look at your existing business and/or explore new ideas 
  • map your current business network, identifying positive and negative aspects
  • create an action timeline for implementing changes
  • discuss issues with and learn from other businesses
Penny Eccelston and Lyn Abraham at Workshop 16

They said
"I found the two days extremely useful, not least because the content helped me to reinforce that the action plan I am currently working with, which has been the result of my own research, evaluation and proactive nature, is on track." Maggie Hollinshead, Maggie's Studio. [workshop 16]

"There were also things to learn, not least by listening to others with different scenarios and their action plans, also responding to and taking on board different ideas for my business."

"It was great listening to others and their experience in business and how they go about finding opportunities," Maria Wigley, Textile Artist [workshop 10]

"What a wonderful, focused and inspiring day I had at the final session of the Visioning workshop in conjunction with WIRE." Gilly from Gilly Page Jewellery. [worshop 16]

"I have meet a group of very talented women and been mentored by great people from the Interiors and Lifestyle Futures team."

If you have any questions or would like to sign up for future workshops please telephone Ruth on 0121 3317922 or email  And, please pass on to any suitable contacts you think may like to attend a Visioning workshop.