Our Contemporary Surface Design & Textiles degree students have been making their mark in two major competitions.
Final year students, Stacey Burnside and Fiona Wilson have both been shortlisted for the prestigious Charles Henry Foyle Trust Award for Stitched Textiles, which promotes the work of talented new textile artists. Entrants submitted five pieces of current work in January and from these, twenty finalists were selected for the final stage of the competition. Stacey and Fiona attended a master class with the internationally renowned textile artist Alice Kettle in Redditch, to progress, strengthen and expand their textile skills. They are currently working on their pieces on the theme of Freedom, which must be submitted for judging in August and will then be shown in a special exhibition at Forge Mill Needle Museum in Redditch, from 12th September to 25th October 2009. One of the shortlisted finalists will be awarded a £2000 prize for the most innovative stitched textile piece. There will be further awards of £500 for the student demonstrating technical excellence, and two further awards of £250 for the students with the most outstanding workbooks, so this is a terrific opportunity for both our students, who plan to commence MA courses in the autumn.
Fiona explained “Most of my current work is around the landscape and marks made in the landscape by men, so I have used aerial photographs and maps as source material. The work I submitted was fabric boxes stitched together like a three dimensional map with lots of bonded fabric and I hope to develop the idea around freedom to roam for the competition entry in August. When we met Alice Kettle she was really lovely and so inspiring. We were so lucky to have the chance to for a day with her but she was really humble and told us she was honoured to meet us. I was also very pleased to receive sponsorship from Madeira Threads of £100 worth of thread towards my final collection. After my MA I would like to become a self-employed designer/maker and teacher.”
Stacey said “Last year I did some work on the suffragettes using a combination of needlework, embroidery and knit, so I was already thinking about the eventual theme of the exhibition. One of the panels had a jacquard background with large machine embroidered chains links to evoke the suffragettes chaining themselves to the railings. I embroidered a silhouette of Emmeline Pankhurst. As another reference I included text from the ‘Stand Up Sister Suffragette’ song from Mary Poppins. I didn’t want this to be too bold so I sewed lines on the bias and cut into it with highlights of perle work and printed it on the top. The colour palette came from the suffragettes’ campaign and women’s work in WWI which helped them get the vote, so it is blood red for violence and grey for austerity and battles. The masterclass in Redditch was amazing. There were people from all over Europe. Alice Kettle was really encouraging and worked with us to free our creative ideas up. Everything has just come together for me in the final year. When I was a first year student I looked at the final year shows and found them awe inspiring. I thought that I would never reach such a professional standard, but now I feel that I have found my talent. I am proud of what I have achieved and I don’t want to stop. We are going to exhibit at Young Designers in London in July, but otherwise there would have been a lull over the summer until I started my MA. Having the competition design to work on and the exhibition to look forward to is perfect timing. I can’t even think about winning a prize, I am just so excited to be involved.”
The innovative work of three of our BA (Hons) Contemporary Surface Design & Textiles students has also received recognition in the recent Bradford Textile Society Design Awards held at the National Media Museum. Third year student, Aroos Ulain, collected third prize of £150 in the Clothworkers’ Foundation Award for a woven or knitted fabric for interiors. Aroos explained “I designed a contemporary chenille sofa cover in cream and black damask. It was inspired by the pattern I was working on for my final interiors collection which is damask and henna, which I have used for wallpapers and fabrics. I plan to take a year out before doing my PGCE so that I can teach in schools and FE. I want to pass on my passion for textiles.”
Joanne Abbiss received a Commendation in the same category. Joanne based her jacquard and weave piece on a summer placement she did at Wyedean Weaving in Haworth, who have sponsored her with some funding and yarn. “I loved appeal of the old mill and the texture of peeling paint on the walls. Since so many old mills are now being turned in luxury apartments and boutique hotels this was on trend for interiors. I took paper, poured wax on it and scrunched it up, then used shoe polish to bring out the creases. This was scanned on to the computer and I took this image into Apso Jacquard, applying weaving to the colours using different threads.” Joanne’s degree marks a radical change in direction following eighteen years as a secretary and a year studying graphics in Australia. “I feel very emotional that my three fantastic years at College here are coming to an end. I now want to work in industry.”
Sue Geldeard received a Commended in the Clothworkers’ Foundation Award for an innovative combination of textile processes for the fashion market. “My piece was inspired by nature as I love walking and the countryside. I enjoyed having an open brief for the competition as it was a chance to be creative. It is knitted, felted, then hand and machine embroidered. I have always sewn and had done City & Guilds Embroidery and Fashion over years of night school. I did the first year of my degree part-time over two years, but when my daughter started university last September I knew I would feel lost so I decided to throw myself into fulltime to fill the void. I had not expected to receive a Commendation but I feel very encouraged.”