Ashleigh Blades BA (Hons) Illustration with Animation

Ashleigh Blades

Ashleigh’s illustrative practice is centered around everyday, overlooked narratives that can be explored to promote wellbeing and a positive mindset. With how fast and difficult life can be sometimes, we tend to forget the small memories and experiences that shape our lives and can cause us to be more mindful and positive. Her work attempts a to bring a light to these stories, from her own experiences and others, and share the overlooked every-day with the world. Her illustrations are a thoughtful mix of hand-drawn, digital and cut out sketches that are collaged together to create narratives. 

Her degree show work is from a long project covering most of her final year called The Time We Spent. This was a response to the difficulties and adversity of the last year, and as a person who has always practiced mindfulness to help her own wellbeing, she wanted to bring this outwards through her work-  she invited people from all over the world to stop and think about a memory that they have made in the past year that has added to their wellbeing and had a positive impact on their day, no matter how small or insignificant the memory may seem. This research allowed her to produce a zine and a larger book that can be used as a tool to help people stop and think about their own lives and how they value their time.

Moving forward from the degree, Ashleigh wants to establish her work in the Manchester community and use her platform to explore social history and personal stories. She intends to work either freelance or with an agency, as well as creating her own community projects to bring people together and share stories of family history and mindfulness. She is now currently producing a collaborative zine, supported by The Manchester Poetry Library, that shares peoples experiences of poetry and introduces poetry, and individual stories around poetry, to the wider Manchester community.