Freelancer of the Month - 6th March 2019

Bea Shepherd and Oli Pratt

Bea Shepherd

My name is Bea Shepherd, I am an East-London based leather designer and master saddle maker in training, with a passion for life drawing.

I started my freelance career back in 2017 when I graduated from UAL Chelsea College of Art, with a diploma in Textile Design. I have worked in costume for film, where I’ve had a wide exposure of various different genres to submerge myself in.

I’ve worked on projects such as Wonder Woman 2, Mary Queen of Scots and Doctor Strange.

Working alongside so many great costume designers I was able to learn and develop my skills in construction design. This is where I found my true click for footwear.

I’ve also been fortunate enough to have the experience of living and working out in California for a cowboy and his company CB Western Works, which is a hybrid of bespoke shoe design and collaborative work within the Hollywood film industry.

Currently, I am back in full-time education studying saddle making, steering away from my dreams of being a shoe designer. Wherever possible I’m still practising and collaborating with other freelance designers.

Through doing this course, I will gain qualifications in a specialised skill which will open up more doors and allow me to eventually get to my goal of shoemaking.

I still practice shoemaking by sketching designs, doing quick mockups and investigating footwear whenever I can.

I can see from working in my saddle making studio that my skill levels have already developed to a much higher quality of craftsmanship. My next conquest is learning to hand welt heel boots. 

Alongside my leather craft, I have a passion for life drawing. My work will be exhibited 7th-29th March in the Hackney Wick Life Drawing Spring Exhibition 2019 at Stour Space.

Tomorrow night from 7-10pm is the launch, after which the exhibition is open 9am-5pm every day. It has free entry, so everyone is welcome to come along.

Life drawing for me is my way of communication, not only from myself to the audience but also a way of telling the story of the subject I’ve drawn.

I’ve also done collaborations with a charity that raises awareness for sexual abuse and/or harassed women. The charity is called HollaBack, it offers a platform where women can share stories and seek guidance and creates a space where women can get together and feel part of a sisterhood.

Oli Pratt

I’m Oli, a 21-year-old cross-disciplinary designer with an experimental and progressive approach to materials and processes. I enjoy tackling issues of ethics and sustainability with a highly critical, future-centred design approach in order to raise debate and effect social change for the better.

My design practice is based on alternative research methods which draw upon disciplines such as sociology, anthropology and earth sciences.

With this new insight, I can unearth what is important in order to offer imaginative and considered responses to complex real-world social and ethical issues regarding technology and the environment.

Unique entry points are discovered, understood and engaged with by way of making, thinking through materials, experimenting, modelling and prototyping.

This manifests as predominantly object-oriented outcomes situated within socially-engaged design processes and projects.

My work is especially suited to critically exploring this world as it might otherwise have been or could be, striving to catalyze change through the exploration of alternative futures.

Among such unpredictable times, I am convinced we need not a small, incremental advancement based on human-centred design but an exponential, radical vision based on future-centred design.

We must not amend the crumbled road at our feet but create a compass to navigate toward a new era.

We champion the freelancers and every entrepreneur who took a leap of faith with their idea.

If this sounds like you, head over to our Virtual Office and send us your best work via an UnderPinned Portfolio. We want to hear from you!

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