Like the amazing Issaka (that’s Jasmin, NTU Graphic Design 2016: bringing new line and colour to a project near you), pattern, graphic, surface and illustration designer, Tess Wheatley is a brilliant new force for aesthetic literacy: a great champion of surface, pattern, line and new product situated here, in Nottingham.
She sees inspiration in everything:
It’s fascinating to know that Tess’s work comes out of an early Steiner education where all the secrets of the expressive arts are valued: play, rhythm, repetition and reflection, where the joy of living, seeing, seeking are the beating heart of learning:
Rudolf Steiner brought his approach to Britain in 1923. Steiner’s ideas came out of the experience of helping his own child, that through education you can realise existential aspirations. Learning is valued as a transformative process: in the self, the other and between the two. The Steiner education like many other approaches to education revalues things that were once valuable but have lost power across culture and time: the idea of ring time (regular and repetitive activity in a circle), thinking of the natural world as a classroom (in forest schools) and the outdoor classroom movement. Steiner education is a human rights based philosophy like the approach to learning of Emilio Reggio. A child is seen as having unlimited potential when they’re taken seriously, where the reflective thinking of children is at the centre of every teaching task.
How do children learn and play? The One Hundred Languages exhibition in Cambridge makes you realise that children are already immersed in culture and they’re always producing their own unique take on that culture.
This approach to learning is clear in Tess’s work: beautiful and functional patterns overspilling into language, asking questions like: why can’t this become a product? Encouraging the viewer to participate in her journey. Tess says the Waldorf Steiner school embedded the creative process into the way she learnt, she adores the shapes, colours, patterns and textures of nature and has been illustrating for as long as she can remember.
Tess works digitally though experimentation with different mediums for initial ideas and mockups is part of every project.
Music is really important to Tess and she often hand draws the lyrics of the song she’s listening to. She’s very involved in her local community and designs flyers and ads for events and groups. Her rates are very reasonable.
I asked Tess what she thinks is an opencity? Her reply is moving:
Tess: I believe an open city is somewhere everyone is forward thinking and accepting of each other, no matter gender, age, race, religion. As a society we have progressed I still think we have a lot to learn about each other and the world.
Support Tess’s vision and her work at:
@visuallytess (Instagram, Behance, Twitter)