Tuesday, 21 December 2010


Finally I have located my little black note book (note to self a spring clean is definitely in order) and can therefore bring you my reporting from Sketchbook at the Design Museum.

As anyone currently residing in the British Isles or trying to enter or leave our frozen shores will know getting in, out and around is proving to be somewhat problematic due to ice, snow and variations thereof. This leads me to the night at the Design Museum where my poor map reading skills and icy conditions meant I arrived ten minutes too late to catch the Richard Nichol talk. Damn you TFL journey planner.

However, I did catch everything else and to get this rolling we’ll start with the beautiful, colourful and amazing prop, accessories designer and stylist Fred Butler.

Now for those of you who haven't heard of Fred you will have seen her extraordinary out of world designs upon the head of Gaga in 'Telephone'. Ah I hear you mutter. Now you see where my love of her work stems. Not Gaga but more Fred’s use of colour, the shiny and the origami structured nature of her work makes me feel very happy indeed. Describing her favourite colour she replied “this” and held up the clip that she was wearing which was part kaleidoscope in its use of an ever changing spectrum of light thanks to its full construction from iridescent acetate – I was hooked. Butler herself says of her love of colours I “don’t just take standard things that are recognisable” adding that she “hopes when people see my work they don’t know how it is done” – and it is this sense of mystery in her work that really pulls in many of her loyal fans and customers, that intrigue and web of design genius that makes you wonder how, how and how.

And in this industry she is open about the need to be prepared to work your way up and often for free “you have to be willing to do your time” the designer told us “this is an ingrained industry of hierarchies” she added, something I’m sure everyone in the field can vouch for.

Scattered amongst the images from Fred Butler are my shoddy images of the designer herself on the night (result of taking notes while taking pictures and being scared to turn on flash – I am not of the breed of women who can multitask) which shows that her love of colour extends right through to her own personal style aesthetic. An artist true to her vision – impeccable.

To this I add that real style is about being who you are, knowing what you like and doing it your way. These are who I class as the true trailblazers and trend setters out there – sorry mass trending.

Of her own entry to fashion, Fred revealed that at first she “wanted to be a fashion designer but the [fashion design] course was too intense – so I ending up studying art direction in fashion” which has done nothing but further her precise artistic vision. Surprisingly in this new age of techno innovation she claims to be “oldskool” adding that she “doesn’t know how to use computer programmes” – a girl after my own heart.

The ideas process behind her work is another area she delved into explaining that her “ideas come from an inherit aesthetic” and that when she starts working on her designs she “has a clear idea of colours” in her mind, but I like to “teach myself how to work [with materials and colours] like taking bright colours and mixing them up with pastels and metals” she told us.

I don’t know why but her work reminds me of Rebecca’s World – which in my head is a very vivid memory from my primary school years at William Bellamy Junior School. If you would allow me to reminisce for a moment. The story was of a young girl who looked from a telescope and was transported to another planet. I remember my active and insalubrious mind picking up every reference to gems and sparkle and colour not illustrated in the pages of the book and creating real visions in my mind which have stuck with me far longer than any art lesson. Also getting a starring role of the emerald green baddie in the school play further cemented the affirmation that I was a child meant for colour.

Post Christmas I will have hopefully received gifts i.e. money from family which means I will be able to buy a Fred Butler original at the wonderful Kabiri.

Pre Christmas why not get some hit tape from ASOS, although with delivery times and all the snow lark I talked about earlier this may not arrive in time for the day. So why not pop down to the V&A and get yourself a Fred Butler paper accessories kit – which on every level beats a 1000 piece puzzle with old man Johnson from next door over the festive season.

So there we have the Fred Butler at Sketchbook Live at the Design Museum interview come article. Hope you enjoyed and in the short term make sure you keep up with her goings on at her blog which she “loves blogging” on - adding “it’s like a good book and you’re addicted and can’t put it down” something I would definitely affirm..

Now for the others ...



  1. Thank you for taking the time to write about us and our event! we hope you enjoyed it!

  2. My pleasure! Thoroughly enjoyed it and thank you for checking out the post.