Valerie Iliffe

25 Mashford Ave 




01803 839697


I left school with no formal education in 1969 and worked in the local textile factories.

After marrying in 1975, while raising my two children and fostering two children, I worked from home as a seamstress, designing and making “Bridle Wear”, and also ran a Bed & Breakfast from our home.

During and after raising my children, my working life was as a head Chef. And working in the voluntary sector for almost forty years, working with drug addicts through to rehabilitation.

I have always been very involved with “Crafts” using traditional skills.

I have a passion to work with people with disabilities, and would like to set up my own workshop/support organisation, providing help and support through Design and Craft.

I believe I have strong organisational skills, and enjoy working along side other people with similar desires, who have a passion to support the community.

The furniture re-cycle project “ResTored” aired in 1993 on BBC “Songs of Praise”

June 1990       City & Guilds

Cookery for the Catering Business                                            Credit

October 2003 Intermediate Certificate in food safety               Credit

April 2004       Management Skills for Tourism

August 2014    BTEC Level 3 Subsidairy Diploma

In Art and Design                                                                       Merit

2000        ResTored – Manager

I  see the worthiness of the project and results of my voluntary work, through the people I meet on a daily basis.

And I have learned a great deal about, the daily running of a voluntary organisation, book keeping, office administration, computer skills, meeting planning and working with people with disabilities of all kinds.

2004  –  Supporter and volunteer – Children Walking Tall – Shermina Maxspencer

To be instrumental in the setting up of the organisation and the joy of seeing street children being supported on a daily basis and their happy faces. Also that anything can be achieved through determined compassion.

1984 – 2000   

My position was head chef at the Endsleigh Hotel, with 30 covers. My responsibilities involved  cooking, organising and executing the daily running of a restaurant, Menu’s, food ordering and  organising  and supporting the  kitchen and waiting staff

2013-14  –  Completed a foundation course in Art & Design

2000 – Set up and ran a furniture re-cycle project called “ResTored” in Dartmouth for eight years, with the help of volunteers from various backgrounds. The BBC Songs of Praise aired the project in 2004. Through this project I also ran a “Credit Union” banking system, again helping to  support the  local community working from the shop premises.

As a result of the above project, it was able to help set up and support financially a project called “Children Walking Tall” in Goa, India. Supporting street children with food, shelter and education.

My husband has been a church minister and I operated these organisations through the church, with the help of volunteers.

I have been privileged to return to Goa on several occasions over the years to support the charity “Children Walking Tall”


Shermina Maxspencer – Children Walking Tall- Nottingham

Mr. M. Smith – Endsleigh Hotel

Mr G. Newman – South Devon College


Social Media

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Designing and Marketing with a conscience


Asking myself some deep questions, what do I think “Branding” my creations should mean to my potential customers and me.

If an effective brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets. What exactly does “branding” mean?

I believe that there are some very well thought out strategies in the market place with regard to “Branding” and “Marketing” your creations. But If your brand is your promise to your customer, and tells them what they can expect from you your product and services, how should it differentiate your contribution from that of your competitors.

It is my strong belief that your brand is derived from who you are, you want to be and who people perceive you to be.

In an emergent world of consumerism, do we just want to make money or are our intentions deeper than that? After all we are creators of amazing designs with good intentions.

 How do we achieve that? just follow the crowd?, or do we just reproduce the ideals laid down before us?

I believe to find a viable benefit, should be something we do as individual designers that is something unique.

If we have taken the time and effort to think outside the box, by designing and creating an object that we believe has a story and meaning of its own, that will benefit our potential consumers, then surely we can also think about branding and marketing that product outside the norms of todays, mass production mentality.

Mission, vision, goals, and objectives tend to transform over time. So it is vitally important when developing value propositions, that we as designers should deliver clear considerations and value to them, when embarking on this new endeavor.

The everyday quest of a wannabe “New Designer” !

I’m trying hard to acquire my own philosophy and design style, with regard to my design ethics, which are very much “a make do & mend” way of thinking and lifestyle.

It is my opinion that new designers should insist on the originality of their work based on a pure concept, and not on trends. But hey! that might be easier said than done?

Wim Crouwel (b.1928, Groningen, born in the Netherlands) was inspired by the founders of modernism and developed a unique typographic design based on their principles.[1]

According to Crouwel: “You are always a child of your time, you cannot step out of that!” So why close our eyes to the rules and styles around us? Are we always looking for something unique and new, even at the cost of comprehension? After all, if someone is able to create a modern design it just means that they are able to express the spirit of our time!

My senses are bombarded by what I see around me, but I find It thought-provoking to witness how many of today’s “professional” designers create “impersonal” applications, characteristically made for the consumer.

According to the Cambridge dictionary “Originality”Is the quality of being special and interesting and not the same as anything or anyone else:[2]

So as I begin my new brief at Uni, I will continue to explore and try to inspire myself with new ideas, but just maybe stay a little hip!




Sketching moan

Blog 2 .4 .15

Sketching – moan

My next brief is “Duplicating Form” which makes me feel a little daunted but  I am looking forward to making something.

One of the first things I need to look at is design concept, and of course that takes me to my sketchbook!

I went to the library to get a book, which could help me, look at design sketching, recommended by the brief.

This is where I gulp, I’m not too bad at free style drawing but my perspective has never been that good. I realise that the visual info I give will influence my communication regarding the product I’m designing!!

Now I’m feeling defensive, why do they all look so damn good? And will I ever reach the dizzy heights of this perfection? (not much pressure!!)

To make things a little more difficult I’m not that good on any of the computer design programmes either.

I think the word I’m looking for is help!!

I will just have to knuckle down and get on with it or as the song say’s get over it, I can’t wriggle out of it, must start reading this amazing book and follow it step by step, as they say if you want to know how it’s done READ THE INSTRUCTIONS

William Morris- criteria 1.2.3.

       Adamson. Glen – The Craft Reader (2010), London Berg

Chapter 20

William Morris, “The Revival of Handicraft” Originally published in the (Fortnightly Review – November 1888) excerpted

“Morris was an astonishing poly-math. He wrote some of the best-known prose and poetry of the Victorian era. Following his conversation to Socialism in 1883, he became an effective political operator and polemical essayist. above all, though, he was an artist-an identity that for him involved being a craftsman, designer and entrepreneur all at once.

And yet Morris was in some senses, and in his own estimation, a failure. He was unable to put into practice his key theoretical principle, the unity of aesthetic and political reform.

Despite his commitment to making art for the masses, his clients were almost invariably well-to-do people sympathetic with his aims.” 1.(Adamson.G. 2010 p146)

[His influences came from his contemporaries, and reading ,he states this by quoting Socialist literature], “Karl Marx’s” great work entitled “Capital”. and giving account of the three great epochs of production … 2.(Ibid p 149-150)  

“there was little if no division of labour…The workman worked for himself not for the Capitalistic employer, he was accordingly master of his own work and his time, this was a period of pure handicraft.” 3.(Ibid p 150)

[His confidence in the subject forced him to speak out about                            the production of all modern industrialism,]

He stated, “I need not argue it, as they are but too familiar with the fact that the produce of all modern industrialism is ugly, and that whenever anything of which is old disappears, its place is taken by something inferior to it in beauty…” 4.(Ibid p 151)

[I have to look back in history to understand the times in which this has   been written. At the beginning of his essay he tries to make a good            argument,]

“ Nay, it is not uncommon to hear regrets for the hand-labour in the        fields, now fast disappearing from even backward districts of civilised      countries The scythe,the sickle and even the flail are lamented over…”

5.(Adamson G. p 147)

[All work I imagine would have been extremely hard with very long working hours, and seasonal weather dependant. I can relate to this standard, and his deep desire as I admire his work very much, unfortunately I find too many confusing statements in his essay. He seems to be trying to work this out as he writes his essay.

Was he just interested in “machinery verses Handicraft”? or did he really feel for the worker and the conditions he was working under.

If the latter he had a perfect example of “actions speaking louder            than words, in the timeless example given by John Cadbury and his     family, who made it a priority to look after their workers (*,) 20.11.14

[He does state,]

“Yes, we do sorely need a system of production which will give us beautiful surroundings and pleasant occupation…” 6.( Adamson G. p 153)

[With his retrospective views, I believe he fails to see the                       changing social economics. I believe as many do, that nothing is             evil in itself, but the way it is handled.]

He berates the general public for being ignorant of all the                        methods and processes of manufacture. 7.(Ibid p148)

[He seems to be a romantic in the area’s he is defending                        when he states;] “Will the period of machinery evolve itself into a fresh period of machinery more independent of human labour than anything we can conceive of, or will it develop it’s contradictory in the shape of a new and improved period by handicraft? “ 8.(ibid p150)

[But also angry, when he says ]“the aristocracy and cultivated middle classes were a class of slave holders, for creating this employment of slaves.

  1. (Ibid p 153)

[He is I believe questioning,]

“How can the change be made ?…” 10. (Ibid153) [without impacting our lives so much that we lose the contentment of happiness in our daily work and rest…

What an amazing time in history, I ask would we be here today, enjoying the life we have, without the innovations of the industrial age? e.g.replacing hand washing with a machine that takes out all the hard work. As an aspiring “Craftswoman” myself I can fully appreciate the process of change that has transpired over the past, and I agree that there really is no comparison between items machine made or that made by the “Craftsman” but as my dear Grandma always used to say, (* “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”), Literal meaning – the perception of beauty is subjective (* I feel blessed to live in a country that at last recognises working conditions and equality in the workforce.]

Bibliography *

(*,) 20.11.14

(* 20.11.14

Successful Practical Outcomes- criteria 3

1. Raku

One of the most exciting revelations from this term has been to be involved in the process of  “Raku” an exciting ceramics firing technique. Using different glazes to achieve different outcomes.


My beautiful Raku glazed pot

On this occasion I used a copper and crackle glaze,resulting in my amazing pot, that’s never going to be out of my sight.Not least because my tutor was Mr “Bruce Chivers” . An expert in “Raku”. Process



Reducing Chamber

Reducing Chamber

1. Use bisque fired pots  2. Apply glaze 3. Pots are put in the kiln and bought up to glaze melt, 1400-1832F.  4. place pots in dustbin (reduction chamber)with combustible materials. Wait for the dustbin to burn out and cool. Remove pot.

Because Raku is a low fire technique, the resulting pots are not especially durable, but I think you will agree “Beautiful”.

2. Screen Printing,

Fabulous playtime, and  wonderful process and where you get a chance to be artistic.

IMGP00821. Pen and ink drawing – Jelly fish

2. Photocopied in black and white on to acetate

3. prepare screen – coat with light sensitive liquid

4. Photographic exposure in a darkened room  -with an ultra violet light box that incorporates a vacuum. The vacuum holds the photocopy  in contact with the screen against the light source. – design will be transfered to screen

5. fabric – pinned tightly to a prepared surface

Image2556. Dyes – using a coating blade (

7. Rinse – screen must be washed off after printing – a shower unit can be used.

8. hang print out to dry

3. Two Part Plaster Mould Making 

This was a very interesting process, although in my completed project I only used a one part mould (flood mould) used to make wide mouth bowls, but the process is the same.Tony Weavers, explained this process using clay.

1.Select Item to be moulded


two part mould being prepared

2. Prepare frame /mould – x 4 sides, creating walls, tightly held together & sealed all around so slip cast doesn’t leak.

3. Prepare slip cast (plaster) – pour half way up the frame – make a funnel to allow slip to be poured in. Leave to dry – add rounded indentations with corresponding protuberances on the opposite face of the adjacent piece. Dry till leather hard

4. Repeat the process until you have a two- part mould