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One to Watch - Rachel Glinsman

Where did you study and what was the course title?

BA Product Design at Nottingham Trent University

Name of your lecturer – course tutor?

I had several, including James Dale (Head of Product Design), and my tutor for my final project was Paul Kennea.

Rachel Glinsman's practice is constantly evolving, and is drawn to natural materials and forms for inspiration. She appreciate fine details and innovative material usage, and aims to evoke a sense of delight through her projects.

"I am driven by the desire to create beautiful designs, but not at the expense of the natural environment. A respect for materials and the environmental impact of my work is key to my design process"

How did you feel about winning the Colour in Design Award – what does it mean to you?

I was absolutely thrilled to be awarded a Colour in Design Award! I was also surprised and grateful that my project, which conveys more nuanced and natural wooden tones, was picked up on amongst the many more obviously vibrant projects at New Designers. It was really special that the judges took an interest in my work and appreciated the colours, patterns and textures of the wood used in my project.

How important is colour in your work and how do you choose and narrow down colours?

I find colours and materials to be the most captivating elements of a design – particularly when used in an unexpected fashion. I particularly enjoy considering how colours will contrast in my work, in order to draw attention to fine details. I discussed with the judges how an exciting part of my project was that the colour variations of the scrap woods I used were exposed gradually throughout the making process, and only truly revealed once sanded and polished. However, when making the end-grain seats, I carefully laid out woods that would provide interesting colour combinations, such as pairing the cool, greenish colours of tulipwood with unexpected pink blocks of maple.

What is your main source of inspiration?

Although somewhat cliched, I am hugely inspired by nature – especially natural textures and materials. I find the intricacies and irregularities of natural forms particularly appealing, which lends into my appreciation for craftmanship and handmade products. My respect for the natural environment means I aim to uphold a sustainable design practice, and so am also inspired by innovative designs that aim to tackle problems such as material wastage.

What makes you happiest/most fulfilled in your creative process?

When I can take something seemingly worthless and turn it into something beautiful, which was very much the mindset behind my forage stool series. Materials are so often wasted through the design process, so to give new life to something that would otherwise be thrown away is very satisfying to me.

Creative high point?

Being selected for New Designers! I’ve been to visit ND several times over the years, first with school as well as more recently, and I always hoped that one day I would be exhibiting there too. So, to be able to exhibit a project I am passionate about was a huge milestone in my creative journey.

Creative low point?

I think each project comes with a creative low point where I doubt the direction I have taken, but I always just trust the process and keep chipping away until I get excited by an idea again.

Where do you want to be in 3 years’ time?

I’d like to be designing furniture or other homewares for a small design studio, maybe in London, working with a craft-based approach and a range of materials.

Please tell us about a special person during your studies/life who has really made a difference to you on your creative journey.

I’d have to say my parents for taking me to so many galleries and exhibitions over the years, for always encouraging my creative pursuits and being my biggest fans.

What is your favourite colour?


Image credits:

Julian Hughes & Rachel Glinsman

Instagram: @rachelg_design


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