Next Sheffield speaker

Jack Wakelin AKA. Cocktail Master @ Public

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March 29, 8:30am • Ambulo • part of a series on Water

It’s the main source of all life. The lifeblood element that makes up 60% of our bodies. It’s the liquid that we don’t drink enough of, yet waste effortlessly. It’s home to millions of species, mysteries, and undiscovered knowledge. We know more about the stars in the sky than the depths of our oceans. We can use it to save lives. If used foolishly, it can take lives. We think there is an abundance, yet only one percent can be touched. If we don’t protect our waters, then what will happen to life? Our Perth chapter chose this month’s exploration of Water and Sofia Varanoillustrated the theme.

Jack Wakelin AKA Cocktail Master at Public.

Jack Wakelin, originally from South Staffordshire, has lived and worked in Sheffield for the past six years, five of which have been for the ‘Rockingham Group’, comprising of Public link, The Great Gatsby link and The Picture House Social link.

After accidentally falling into the industry (working weekends for a little extra cash) Jack soon fell in love with working within a bar environment. Although, it wasn’t until he started at Picture House Social, where, given the freedom, did he really start to thrive creatively.

Working closely with both photographer India Hobson link and group director James O’Hara link, a thriving relationship emerged. Cocktail menus based around trips to the Peak District and Cleethorpes, making drinks out of the back of Jack’s Mini, were at the centre of this. These excursions were the start of the fun storytelling and more playful approach which has now taken Public – a cocktail-lead bar in the former public convenience underneath Sheffield Town Hall – to become ‘The Best Place to Drink in the UK 2018’ (Observer Food Monthly).

Jack, now the general manager and drinks director for the group, has seen Public embark upon a remarkable journey in just 15 months of opening, winning national accolades, and making a name for both the bar and himself across the industry in the UK.

We will be gathering at the group’s latest venture with Matt Helders from Arctic Monkeys. They have teamed up with Museums Sheffield link to launch Ambulo link, an all-day cafe concept across two historic Sheffield sites. Ambulo launched last month at Millennium Gallery and Weston Park Museum. Offering all-day dining, specialty coffee, wine and cocktails.

We are at the Millenium Gallery site, where after Jack’s talk on #CMwater you can go view their current exhibition, Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing link. Amongst the works on display in Sheffield is The head of St Philip (c.1495), a study for one of the world’s most famous paintings, the Last Supper. And his observations of the movement of water, and more.

The genius of Leonardo da Vinci also provides the inspiration for an immersive experience from internationally-acclaimed digital studio, Universal Everything link.

This new installation is a 21st century response to the artist’s ground-breaking Studies of flowing water (1510-13), on display in Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing. Centuries before the advent of photography, these drawings revealed the complexity of fluid movement in a way never seen before. The Vehicle of Nature, named after Leonardo’s own description of water, brings together the latest display technologies to create a digital river, which swirls and eddies across the gallery space.

Based in Sheffield, Universal Everything have collaborated with some of the world’s leading digital innovators, from Apple, Google and MTV to the city’s own Warp Records.

Basically, jam-packed all-around rockstar greatness for this month’s discussion on Water. See you on the 29th!

If there’s symmetry in nature, then there must be a kind of symmetry in the way we lead our lives. Symmetry cannot be possible without asymmetry, the same way sadness magnifies joy.

“I’m probably more of a fan of asymmetrical stuff rather than the symmetrical.”

Nick Clark worked in symmetry with Tim Hubbard to co-found 93ft, an agency which brings together graphic design, interiors, branding and digital to create incredible spaces, ideas and brands.

One such space is The Mowbray, headquarters of 93ft and home to CreativeMornings Sheffield for the morning.

Originally built in 1889 to house a steel and iron merchants, it took 93ft three years to restore two derelict factory buildings into The Mowbray, an events space, bar, kitchen, herbarium and roof garden. Above is 93ft’s design studio, suspended in the rafters of the ex-factory.

“When you take two people like me and Tim. Two designers, two guys. From two of the same you’ve got an opportunity to create something new and different. And I think different is pretty great.”

Nick and Tim work together to create spaces like no other. At The Mowbray, everything has been designed in house and made within a mile radius of 93ft’s Kelham Island workshops.

“All our projects have a lot of individual parts that need to come together to create the unique”

Bringing the digital together with the physical, interiors together with branding requires working in both the asymmetrical and the symmetrical. 93ft believe in authenticity and provenance, they create what cannot be found elsewhere.

“It was a pile of dirt but in it we found gold.”

For 93ft, anything could become the focal point of their next project. Old school gym floors become parquet headboards, the reclaimed is refurbished and takes on a new use in a bar, hotel or take up home in either The Mowbray or The Chimney House, 93ft’s second venue on Kelham Island.

It’s bringing the symmetrical together with the asymmetrical, refurbishing the old and reinventing the forgotten that helps 93ft create award winning projects in Sheffield and beyond.

January is SURREAL

When you look at the artwork of Frida Kahlo or Salvador Dalí, there’s an element of surprise. Why does it feel familiar yet also otherworldly? Surrealists sought to break free from the shackles of the rational mind and dive into the deep end of the unconscious. The canvas, then, became a mirror for what emerged out of that process. This movement was inspired by events in the 1920s on the heels of the first world war and continues to influence artists, writers, photographers, and filmmakers. This cultural and artistic movement ushered in new techniques that helped humans expand their minds. Today, we recognize a sense of the surreal in unexpected moments in daily life. Art exhibits like Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Room are becoming readily available, encouraging people to immerse themselves in experiences that break reality. A ballet performance or a silent meditation retreat can be a dreamlike experience.Whether we experience a surreal moment or dabble in processes like drawing without thinking or writing without self-editing, there’s something to be learned about ourselves and what lingers under the hood of our desires to keep life orderly and controlled. Happy New Year! Our Brussels chapter chose this month’s exploration of Surreal and Charlotte Dumortier illustrated the theme. SURREAL is presented globally this month by WordPress.com.

We are back in January 2019, and what a superb start to kick off the season.

Sharna Jackson is the Artistic Director at Site Gallery, Sheffield’s international contemporary art space, specialising in moving image, new media and performance. She is also a children’s author, her debut novel High-rise Mystery will be released in April 2019. She is on the board of Sheffield Doc/Fest, Upswing Aerial Arts and New Writing North in addition to being a member of BAFTA’s Children’s and Learning and New Talent committees and the Children’s Media Conference advisory board.

We will be gathering at the stunning and recently expanded Site Gallery, Sheffield’s international contemporary art space, specialising in moving image, new media and performance.

‘After a period of closure for exciting expansion work, Site reopened in September 2018, promising to deliver a programme of even more excellent international contemporary art to even more people in Sheffield.

Exhibitions at Site are always thought-provoking and immersive, often fun and interactive, and they tend to keep us coming back time and again throughout their run. Its talks and events are a great way of getting even more stuck into the ideas explored by each exhibition, while its annual residency season offers the rare chance to nosey in on contemporary art in the making.’ – Our fave Places

As a bonus for all attendees, Site Gallery will open its exhibition space early for a private viewing after Sharna Jackson’s talk. It is the final weekend of the current show Liquid Crystal Display: ‘Historically associated with mystical healing, gazing and alchemical practices, crystals are now prevalent in technology including computers, mobile phones and state-of-the-art medical equipment. At the heart of a laser-beam is a vibrating crystal, touch-screen technologies, and the optical cables that keep us connected, are all enabled by this extraordinary material substance.’

Breakfast will be sponsored by Site Gallery and supplied by Kollective Coffee and Kitchen. Owners Hayley, Tom and Owen formerly of The Grind Café (Kelham Island), Thyme Café (Broomhill) and Home Sweet Home (NQ, Manchester) are proud to present their first independent venture, located at Site Gallery.

Locally sourced and globally inspired, with a focus on colour, excitement and sustainability.

See you there!

Sharna Jackson AKA. Artistic Director at Site Gallery

“Illustrators make worlds and tell stories, and they do it to their own rules. That’s something illustrators need to remember.”

Geo Law AKA Doodle Club has been drawing since childhood. Whilst his parents were busy running a restaurant, him and his sister would draw, inspired by cartoons, comics and video games. Instead of toys he had pens and paper and inspiration came from the world around him.

“I’m sure all of us miss being kids, where you could create and make your work without anyone asking you ‘what’s the point?’”

A childhood spent drawing led to a degree in Graphic Design and whilst at university, Geo found new interests and dipped into different worlds. Avant garde hip hop, screen printing and anime joined the growing list of influences. Another influence was good grades. Keen to impress his tutors, Geo was creating work he thought they wanted to see.

“I was chasing a grade and I didn’t realise I could create something more about me than the reaction I wanted.”

After graduation Geo shunned London for returning home to Sheffield where he worked three jobs and drew whenever he could. He worked with kids, helping them design and create their own t-shirts.

He marketed his artwork on MySpace, then Instagram, and some big brands got in touch. Disney, Facebook, Google are just some of the companies which have flown Geo across the world so he can doodle on their walls.

Geo’s doodles aren’t planned, and they’re rarely in colour. He doesn’t use colour because it ruins the flow of doodling.
He takes inspiration from the people he meets and the conversations he hears in the buildings he is doodling.

“Your work is your lifestyle and then your lifestyle allows you to meet some incredible people.”

In 2018 Geo set up Doodle Club in Sheffield and more than 100 people turned up at the first event to enjoy drinking and drawing. Doodle Club soon went international when Disney asked Geo to doodle the wall of their illustration studios. Despite 900 illustrators in the building, Disney couldn’t find anyone to draw a mural on the wall. As well as seeing some incredible pieces of Disney history, Geo hosted a Doodle Club for Disney’s illustrators.

When he’s not travelling to doodle murals for some of the world’s largest companies, Geo works with students at Sheffield Hallam University, and Doodle Club runs regularly. Now nine years into his career, he has a few words of wisdom for Sheffield’s creatives.

“My final bit of advice is just be you, if you try and create work that pleases a certain crowd you’ll get found out pretty quickly.”

Words by Molly McGreevy.

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