Tara Collette x Cornerstone

We are working with artist Tara Collette to bring Cornerstone to life with Tara’s trademark brand of big fun textile banners. The collaboration is inspired by pub tradition and Cornerstone’s approach to a new modern pub space. We spoke to Tara about her process and what you can expect when it’s comes to the grand unveil of Tara’s Cornerstone adornments

See more of Tara’s work HERE and HERE. Follow Cornerstone on Instagram for the first reveals of Tara’s new work.

Can you tell us a little bit about your practice? You’ve got a very fun looking studio at Islington Mill. We asked you to work on artwork for Cornerstone because we love your banners. How did you start making banners and what draws you to them as medium?

I started making large fabric banners in my final year of University, I was studying Graphic Design and was ultimately seeing a lot of people producing work on a computer – I wanted to move away from this and produce more physical work. In school and college textiles had been my least favourite subject and one which I would avoid at all costs – I always find this funny to look back on now because as a result of this textile hatred, I haven’t ever studied textiles. Everything is just self-taught from Youtube and trial and error. But I think studying Graphic Design played an important role in my banner making, like understanding layout and typography ~ this stuff really helps. I sometimes dread the idea of myself being a banner maker who can’t design banners – the thought of having to outsource a designer for every banner I want to make, makes me sweat! Being able to do everything myself from start to finish is really important to me. 🙂
I think what draws me to banners as a medium is their ability to convey a message quickly and efficiently. I feel like the size of banners can almost grab a persons attention instantly and once it has your attention, it begs to be read.

What’s the favourite banner(s) you’ve made to date? It’s hard to pick ours. I think your Toys, Poppers, Potions, Pills banner based on the sign outside the Thomas Street shop is pretty iconic. Your university “fuck the grade” banner was maybe the first time we saw your work.

It’s really hard to pin down one banner as my favourite! I always think the most recent ones are my favourite, like ones I’ve made this week, maybe because they’re so new and fresh to me. When I think back to old banners I think about how untidy the hem was or how none of the letters were sewn down; I sometimes laugh (and almost cry) at the thought of people just having banner bases hung on their wall and letters have fallen off and are scattered all over the floor… no one has ever got in touch with this problem though, I probably overthink it.
If I had to pick a favourite banner of all time it would be “Sickly Sweet”. It is a song by iiola that I was obsessed with for a while, I love the base colour and simplicity of it – after a year of having made it, I took the whole thing apart to bring it up to date with my ‘developed sewing standards’ (ughh have you heard me!). It’s for sale on my shop, although, I sometimes think about keeping it for myself. I’ve strangely never kept a banner for myself before.

What are your favourite things about Manchester as an artist? 

I find there are a lot of opportunities in Manchester that seem to land in my inbox from a mutual friend of a cousin who’s mum ‘saw the pills poppers banner once in HOME MCR’. And I really like this! It’s like I made this small connection with everyone who has ever seen the iconic sign and they remember me and get in touch so much. From this, I feel like there are a lot of opportunities for artists / small businesses within Manchester! It’s the place to be!

You’re making a bunch of banners for us with pub messaging and a nod to Cornerstone’s ethos - is there any of the banners that you’re working on that you’re particularly vibing with in terms of message x your design execution? Can you describe it to us without showing us.

I think all of the quotes Jonny and Charlotte chose are great! My favourite one has to be: “French Exit” because I had to embarrassingly ask Jonny what the meaning behind it was and then I realised it’s something I definitely would do in favour of sneaking back to the studio to make banners. The design of this one probably correlates most to previous banners in terms of design, I don’t have a set ’style’ when it comes to banner making but this typeface is one I love and use a lot!

What are you looking forward to about the opening of Cornerstone? 

I’m really excited about the launch of Cornerstone in general! I think after speaking so much about it and being in the empty space, I’m really eager to see what it all turns out like and it’s so great to be such a big part of it too! I recently had my first visit to Nell’s to *get me into the zone* – any excuse for pizza, right? And it was amazing, so, I’m excited to be able to sit inside and order a whole one.

What can people expect from your artwork for Cornerstone? Its been quite an in-depth process for you, having conversations with our architects and designing for a space that isn’t quite built yet.

EXPECT BIG BANNERS – some of the biggest I have ever made. The size of some of them will be a challenge in itself for me as I am limited with space, I’m really excited but a little scared, I’m starting with the smallest ones and working my way up! It’s been so great working with Patrick at Up North Architects we’ve been discussing the colours of the space and what might work best where – I think some of the wall panels have even been changed to suit the banners more! I’ve never worked with an Architect in this way before but it’s been so great!

You’ve been working on some really cool stained glass stuff recently. Can you tell us a bit about that and how people can follow your latest work and buy things.

During Novembers lockdown, I googled how stained glass was made and decided to give it a go. I often discover a new craft, buy literally everything possible for it and then after a month I’ll be over it. I thought that this was one of these times for so long, like maybe just a lockdown hobby but actually, I’ve stuck with it so far and I’m still enjoying it so much! I even enrolled into college again on a stained glass course. I feel like fabric and glass are such worlds away from each other that it’s a really cool medium to be working with suddenly. I often think about how the two could work together as one piece… is the place to go! @taracollette on Instagram to follow my latest work! 🙂