Christ’s Hospital designer organises first exhibition in ten years

Tom Howell-Jones
Tom Howell-Jones

A design technology exhibition was organised for the first time in a decade at Christ’s Hospital last month by the school’s very first designer in residence.

Tom Howell-Jones’ year at the school culminated in the exhibition which showcased his work alongside that of GCSE and A level/IB diploma pupils.

Tom said: “I have really enjoyed my year here working on new ideas with the pupils as well as having my own studio.

“It has been particularly interesting working on problem solving – the pupils pick up on things that I would not necessarily have thought about.”

Entitled ‘Selections of Excellence’, the exhibition ran over the weekend of June 23 and 24, with a private view on June 22.

Bringing inspiration from his background, his degree in product design, furniture and lifestyle and how, from a very young age, he had an interest in how things were put together.

The layout of the exhibition ensured that visitors were immediately hit by a bombardment of shapes, colours and information, weaving easily in and out of the exhibits and visitors were not too scared to touch.

Each piece was labelled with the pupils’ personal opinion and why that piece was chosen.

Tom added: “The work has been wide-ranging - aesthetic or furniture or environmental and the aim of the exhibition was to show the full range.

“There wasn’t really a theme – the exhibits were quite diverse from a normal sports bag to focusing on interesting shapes which explore a variety of ideas.

“It’s the little elements that I find most interesting.

“Looking at real life issues and how the industry seeks different solutions to a problem, a particularly interesting example of a piece of work in the past was a sports’ seating arrangement for a portable outdoor space where all the different seats folded away.

“This involved lots of mind mapping from which inspiration and creativity was gained through making it real.”

Tom was appointed within Christ’s Hospital’s The Doyle School of Design Technology after graduating from Birmingham City University last summer.

Working closely throughout the year with the design technology pupils and staff, his role has been transformative in terms of raising creativity, problem solving and industry-orientated know-how.

“Teaching the pupils at Christ’s Hospital is interesting,” said Tom.

“They have huge ability, are great problem solvers and are very creative with a high work ethic.

“I have enjoyed watching the pupils work, their enthusiasm and their focus to reach their goal to get to the university for their chosen subject.

“I have also enjoyed sharing my knowledge and helping them prepare for their exams.”

He had one day’s break between finishing his residency and starting his new role at the Jennifer Newman Studio (furniture) in East London on July 3.

“I am looking forward to moving to the next step in my career. Furniture in particular lends itself to my degree,” he continued.

“How can I make a basic object really exciting that uses two pieces that slide together using contention/contraction - no need for screws or Allen keys?”