This year has been a rollercoaster for everyone, with covid-19 changing the way we live and work. For Lisa Todd this has meant using her designs to cheer up the nation, whether in the Nightingale hospital or for nurses’ scrubs. Despite the tiers and tears of 2020 there have been moments of community spirit and creativity in crisis that are worth reflecting on.
Here are Lisa’s highlights of 2020 and a look forward to 2021:
1-54 African Contemporary Art Lounge Proposal
The year began with Lisa submitting a proposal to design the famous lounge at Somerset House for the international art fair, 1-54. The fair is dedicated to showcasing leading contemporary African art. Sadly, the fair was later cancelled…fingers crossed for 2021!
Decorating the Bristol Nightingale
By March, coronavirus had spread across the UK and we had gone into a national lockdown. The Nightingale hospitals were set up as emergency facilities for covid-19 patients. The nurses, doctors, patients and families all needed to be cheered up and Lisa was commissioned to decorate a family-liaison room and staff hub in the Bristol Nightingale hospital. Her bright and bold paintings and homeware, alongside her lion Mr Rainbow and owl Nelson Mandela, brought colour and positivity to these spaces.
Scrubs Glorious Scrubs
The Bristol Nightingale wasn’t the only NHS service Lisa supported during the pandemic. Her designs were also shared with the wonderful sewing collaborative Scrubs Glorious Scrubs. The voluntary group has over 400 members that produced thousands of non-surgical scrubs for NHS workers. Much to the delight of the collaboration Lisa reached out through a local Facebook group to provide her materials and designs for the scrubs. The founder of the project, Lynda Yong, was presented to the Queen and members of the Royal Family recently at Windsor Castle. A scroll of honour will be housed in the museum at Windsor Guildhall to recognise the achievements of the group.
Trussell Trust Print
Trussell Trust has done incredible work this year helping fight food poverty in the UK. Lisa collaborated with the trust to create a print that was auctioned to raise money for their charity.
With coronavirus still spreading across the UK, Lisa went on to collaborate with Project Wingman, an initiative set up by pilot and fellow Women of the Year nominee, Captain Emma Henderson MBE. Project Wingman builds and designs ‘first class lounges’ in NHS hospitals around the country for staff to decompress and relax in whilst on shift. Lisa donated her printed trays and tea towels to the cause, using her designs to spread cheer to weary nursing staff.
Design Havens for Heroes
Shortly after, Lisa became involved in Design Havens for Heroes. The initiative offers room makeovers for NHS frontline staff by a group of established interior designers. Lisa went on to nominate her fellow Women of the Year nominee, Dr Alice Carter, for a room makeover after hearing about her heartbreaking decision to send her 3 young children away during the first wave because both she and her husband are doctors.
Becoming a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts
In July of 2020, Lisa was thrilled to become a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts. An integral part of the RSA, Fellows “champion new ideas, drive social change, deliver practical solutions and support the RSA mission”.
Women of the Year Nomination
Lisa’s greatest highlight of 2020 was being nominated for Women of the Year and attending their (virtual) afternoon tea. It was an incredible opportunity to hear about and champion the country’s most inspiring women. Lisa’s virtual table included nine other incredible women; the author Kathy Lette, Head of Intensive Care medicine (check) Dr Alice Carter, Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre Lynette Linton, the sports presenter Anne-Marie Batson, Chairman of the British General Medical Council Dame Clare Marx, and Shamuna Rahman from Amies Freedom Choir, amongst others.
South African bead artist collaboration
Lisa met Nolu, a South African bead artist, at the 1-54 Art Fair. Nolu lives in Crossroads, a notoriously dangerous South African township. During the pandemic Nolu discovered she had breast cancer and caught covid-19 making her unable to work. Lisa asked if Nolu would be able to bead during her treatment plan and so the creative pair began a large collaboration. The two remain close friends.
Ambassador for Open Heart Studio
Lisa also became the U.K. ambassador for Open Heart Studio, an arts project run by Xolani Sivunda. The project provides painting materials, ceramics art materials, and support for disadvantaged young children and teenagers in Cape Town, South Africa. Lisa has created an online art club ‘The A Team’ for children in the Eastern Cape and her Fijian godson in London!
Raising awareness and providing support for fellow Dystonia sufferers
Throughout the pandemic and alongside all the charitable initiatives she became involved with, Lisa continued to raise awareness and provide support for her fellow Dystonia sufferers. She is affectionately known on their Facebook group as the Dystonia poster girl!
What does 2021 have in store for Lisa Todd Designs?
The new year brings fresh projects for Lisa, including an exciting brand-new home collection. She will also be launching ‘My African Home’, an online offering of individually curated African homewares, from the country’s best artisan designers and creators. Lisa will also be heading to London Craft Week to reveal ‘Bead’, an exhibition of paintings, beaded panels and Anglo African craft in a contemporary setting.
Happy New Year, here’s to an exciting and colour filled 2021!