London today, Paris tomorrow...


Emma's Sketchbook: Pattern & Texture

✈︎ London

Finding the beauty in the ordinary

With Natural Forms done and dusted, I moved onto a new project entitled 'Pattern and Texture'. As self-explanatory as the title seems, it's also incredibly broad, so generally I looked at the pattern and texture within our everyday lives, for both decorative or practical purposes.

It was through this sketchbook that I discovered I really enjoy the subject of cities and modern architecture, hence why some of my more recent work has been strongly influenced by urban settings. Probably the double-page spread I'm most proud of in the entire book is this one featuring architectural mouldings and cornices. Although the detail within them was painstakingly difficult to capture, it was nonetheless interesting to identify all the shapes and tones in these sculpted masterpieces.

I went on a mission to find examples of pattern and texture in my local area, with most of them being in fencing and gates in front of houses. I then edited them in rather extreme and gaudy ways to bring out all the different features in the images. Here in this painting you can see I've played with the saturation and contrast in the photograph to make all the elements of pattern and texture stand out - shadows, rust and all.

The V&A collections are always a goldmine for interesting and intricate pieces spanning decades or even centuries of British history. There I looked at Art Nouveau pioneer Charles Rennie Mackintosh whose work (or moustache, for that matter) you'd be hard pressed not to recognise; I wandered around the ironwork floor, as well as admiring the sheer brilliance of all the precious stones in the jewellery exhibition.

Beatriz Milhazes' colourful collages were not to go amiss in this sketchbook; her tendency towards concentric circles and geometric shapes juxtaposed with vivid colours always makes for a really fun and bold piece of art, inspired by her Brazilian roots.

I hope you liked this brief look into my second formal project - a post all about the resultant final piece to follow shortly! Have a wonderful week everyone.



✈︎ London
Follow me on Instagram @parisbyfriday

A new look + a life update

Hello again - I've been away from this little space for about a month now and I thought it was about time I sat down and just wrote something entirely fresh from my mind, completely unplanned, probably riddled with grammatical errors and other such mistakes that occur when trying to express thoughts as they come to you.

So, what's been happening in my life? Well, the long and the short of it is that the last month has been incredibly stressful - as is usually the case around this time of year, with deadlines aplenty. At the same time, it has also been incredibly rewarding, and despite the feeling of being stretched thin by all the work I've allowed to mount on top of me, I'm coming out of it with a renewed sense of accomplishment. I've learnt so much in this last month alone, both personally and professionally, and it's true that nothing worthwhile ever came easy. I am mentally exhausted, but also proud of myself. Who would've thought?

My time away from this blog had been out of a need to focus, but it also gave me an opportunity to enjoy the little things in life again. My best friends and I had a spirited board game night which was truly the epitome of the perfect evening (not to mention, I won Monopoly!); the longer days and warmer weather have really lifted my general mood; I got back into doodling and drawing as well as reading some food-for-thought books; and I stopped being so mind-numbingly frugal about everything and treated myself to some new clothes for summer. It was as if I was a mechanical toy that had been wound progressively tighter and finally I was released.

Achievement unlocked

Perhaps the greatest feeling of release was the completion of the two creative endeavours I was slaving over; my 'Transformation' art project and some DIY office furniture. Of course, I'll go into more depth at a later date, but I will say that I'm happy, surprised and surprised at how happy I am with their outcomes. I've always maintained that most things I achieve are the result of trial, error and happy accidents, and this time was no exception. Maybe serendipity is the key...but don't take my word for it. After all, I don't really have any idea what I'm doing.

Paris by Friday 2.1

Finally, as you may have noticed, Paris by Friday has undergone a little refurbishment - the general layout is pretty much the same, just with a few colour and font changes. I suppose, what with the hectic month I've had, I wanted something simple, sleek and sophisticated to reflect how I want to continue into the future and style my life. 

I also want to reintroduce music into my blog posts, because songs are often a better descriptor than my own words - not to mention, I stumble upon hidden gems on the daily, and it would be a shame not to share them. I want reading this blog to be an experience, and nothing creates a better atmosphere than some background music if you ask me. You are perfectly entitled to use your own, but these will be the tunes that inspired my thoughts, just in case you are interested. 

Whether a full redesign is lined up, I'll have to get back to you on that. But as with my life, I'm content with how it is. Not miserable, not ecstatic, but content. And that is more than I could hope for.


We built this city

✈︎ Royal Institute of British Architects
The Peak by Zaha Hadid

Creation from Catastrophe

Sorry, I'm sure you all wanted to end that with "...on rock and roll" but that part's not quite relevant here! And I know, I'm useless at updating this blog regularly but I can assure you I'm not off having fun in the meantime - my life is like Rihanna's song, just work work work work work and the rest is incomprehensible. Now that I think about it, I only really leave the house anymore if it's work-related *insert monkey covers eyes emoji*. Plus, exam season is on the horizon which is always fun (read: ridiculously busy and stressful) and so my plate is very much full with things I should be doing.

I never find the time anymore to just wander around London and enjoy it, so my latest excursion was firstly to the Creation from Catastrophe exhibition at the Royal Institute of British Architects for my current art project (art is always a good excuse). I think it goes without saying that the building itself is beautiful, I wouldn't expect anything less from a place that promotes architecture, but there was something so quaint and English about it that made me automatically think...Pinterest.

Initially I was a bit confused as to where to go (being me, I missed the really obvious sign towards the exhibition) so instead I headed up the stairs and loitered a little, snapping some photos of the gorgeous open space with its bistro and café areas. Cue weird looks from unsuspecting visitors

Naturally, some of Zaha Hadid's work graced the walls as a reminder of how architecture truly changes the way we view our environment, and how humans can master that for the better. Her work has inspired me for many years and will continue to do so, as I'm sure it will influence the architects of the future.

When I finally found my bearings, I headed upstairs to where the student submissions were for the exhibition. Hung around the space were large pieces of canvas that displayed the dramatic transformation of certain parts of the world following natural disasters/conflicts. It was particularly poignant to look at the backs of these displays and see large-scale images of the crisis zones pre-reimagination.

I then headed back down to the ground floor where the true exhibition lay. Here we had case studies that spanned several centuries, from the Great Fire of London in 1666 through to the Nepal earthquake last year. There were small models of structures, diagrams, photographs and explanations of the changes made to each area in light of these disasters and the thought processes behind them. Although the exhibition was small, it was definitely powerful in that it made you reflect on these situations in a different way; inevitably there is a sense of empathy and sadness but there is also a renewed hope and unity in the idea of creating a more sustainable future for the world.

What with the emergence of a 7.3 magnitude earthquake in Japan as I write, this exhibition remains incredibly relevant; the devastating Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami of 2011 was featured in it, which is deeply affecting now that Japan is in another state of crisis, even if that crisis is on the opposite side of the country to where it was last time. I hope that some of the sentiments shared by this exhibition will encourage people to learn from their mistakes and make progress, whether on a personal level or working with others to rebuild a city from the ground up. Whilst it is everyone's wish that disasters are avoidable, they do offer the chance to rethink the way we design civilisation and consequently improve and modernise our society.

Get inspired

You all know I love a trip to the gift shop, and nothing makes me much happier than browsing art/design books and magazines. Some of the favourites are here such as Wallpaper* and ICON, but there are also some hidden gems - if you ever stop by, be sure to take a good look at the architecture shelves. It's a great way to find some new ideas or keep learning. There was a book on utopian architecture that I found particularly interesting and relevant to my current project (the details of which will be shared soon), and the variety was pretty amazing.

There's still over a week to visit Creation from Catastrophe if you're in and around London (Marylebone, specifically) - entry is completely free and, as mentioned earlier, there are some beautiful little spots to eat inside the RIBA as well if you want to stop for lunch. It's open Monday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm and late on Tuesdays, until 8pm; so if you're interested in architecture or just changing landscapes in general, it's definitely worth a quick visit, if only to admire the building itself!

It feels good to share my adventures again...I've got a few posts lined up where I delve back into my sketchbooks and some other exciting projects I'm working on, so unless I crumble under the pressure of exams, you can look forward to that! If I don't write here soon, you can leave me a strongly worded comment on Instagram. Have a lovely weekend everyone!