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The Texprint Woolmark Award: Meet the Judges

13 September 2013 by

The Woolmark Company and Texprint are very pleased that two leaders of the British design industry are collaborating to select the Woolmark Texprint Award winner.

Daliah Simble, head of sourcing & production, and Estelle Williams, collection development manager, both of Roland Mouret, join John Walsh, managing director of Abraham Moon & Sons, on 18 September 2013 to select one prize winner excelling in the usage of wool and other natural fibres from among the 24 Texprint designers showcasing at Indigo, Première Vision.

For over a decade, the luxury fashion house Roland Mouret has been synonymous with covetable womenswear and iconic garments such as the Galaxy, Titanium and Moon dresses. A true style influencer, the designer Roland Mouret has changed the way pattern cutting is looked at. Focusing on structure and silhouette, Mouret flatters the female form with figure-hugging, sexy dresses which have adorned the likes of Victoria Beckham, Kate Middleton and Carey Mulligan and the house is continually expanding its collections. In 2012 the Roland Mouret brand presented its first debut bridal collection The White Collection and also unveiled its first ever shoe collection that launched in autumn/winter 2012/13. Daliah, head of sourcing & production at Roland Mouret has over 20 years’ experience in the fashion sector, and Estelle’s role as collection development manager include overseeing the womenswear collections’ product development team from design concept to the pre-production stages. Estelle also works directly with the creative director in developing the collections which involves selecting fabric and trims sourcing.

www.rolandmouret.com

Luxury brands look to mills like Abraham Moon & Sons to source and produce their fabric. Established in 1837, Abraham Moon founded his namesake company in Guiseley, England. The country’s only vertically integrated mill, the unique Yorkshire-based site currently houses blending, carding, dyeing, finishing, spinning and weaving processes. Focusing on natural fibres such as alpaca, cashmere, linen, mohair, silk and wool, the mill produces a wide variety of fabrics destined for fashion and interior use from high street to haute couture. Specialising in tweed wool fashions,the high-quality wool is imported from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. Moon’s fabrics stand for heritage, high quality and luxury and so Moon counts international fashion names such as Burberry, Chanel and Ralph Lauren among its customers. John Walsh became the managing director in 1989 as the fourth generation of his family to run the company; his great-grandfather Charles Walsh bought the mill in 1920 from the Moon family.

www.moons.co.uk

John Walsh; images from heritage collection 2008

Both the design team at Roland Mouret and John Walsh are firm believers in the benefits that wool offers. Estelle says: “Wool provides both the structure and flexibility which are core features in Roland’s collections. It also has an excellent absorption of dye, is durable and sustainable. Wool is a win-win from both an aesthetic and performance point of view.” The Roland Mouret womenswear collections use a substantial amount of wool depending on the season ranging from 35% in the spring/summer collections to 65% for autumn/winter. John was chairman of the British Wool Textile Export Corporation for five years and says: “We have a generation who did not grow up with the Woolmark and the consistent advertising behind it which re-enforced the message explaining the unique qualities of wool. Attitudes are changing however and consumers are once again appreciating that wool and other natural fibres have not only inherently better qualities but also make a better ecological and sustainable choice. Well-made, great quality timeless classics are an important part of today's wardrobe.”

The luxury fashion house Roland Mouret is a firm supporter of new design talent: Chloe Hamblin - winner of the Texprint 2011 Colour Award - is now working as a print and surface designer with the company having first made contact with the designer at the Texprint Village at Indigo/Première Vision in September 2011. “Wool should be a natural choice for new designers primarily because it is a very versatile yarn whether you are using it in knitwear, jersey or woven fabric,” Daliah says.

Roland Mouret autumn/winter 2014 collection

The importance of UK-based skills and promoting made-in-Britain luxury is enthusiastically encouraged by the judges: Daliah was responsible for moving over half of the company’s production back to the UK. John adds: “As the appreciation for British quality and design in textiles results in the re-emergence of manufacturing the next generation will find new opportunities for their talents. Now is the time to seize the initiative and make sure we invest in the education and training of those who will take our industry forward.”

All three judges will be looking for innovative designs when judging the Woolmark Texprint prize. Estelle says: “Roland embraces the motto ‘think outside of the box’. This will be a strong influence in the selection process as Roland loves the unconventional.” John will be looking for “a fusion of originality with commerciality”. 

Article tags: woolmark (19), general (61), business (54), champions of texprint (45), sponsors (30), texprint 2013 (23), judges 2013 (13), indigo paris (13)

Texprint Paris special prize presenter 2013: Maurizio Galante

09 September 2013 by

Maurizio Galante Haute Couture celebrates a body of work that covers over 25 years of the Paris-based Italian couturier’s career.

The Texprint team are extremely excited to welcome Maurizio as this year’s Texprint Award prize presenter, where on the 18 September 2013 at 3.30pm, he will bepresenting the Texprint Awards for Body, Colour, Pattern and Space as well as the Woolmark Texprint Award to the winning Texprint designers at Indigo, Première Vision Pluriel.

Haute Couture collection 2013; Maurizio Galante

The Italian-born, Paris-based couturier originally studied architecture at Rome university and fashion at the Accademia di Costume e Moda in Romebefore pursuing a career in fashion. Using his in-depth architectural knowledge to create beautiful sculptural garments, favoured by international clients such as Zaha Hadid, Maurizio presented his first ready-to-wear collection in 1986. In 1992 Maurizio was invited to join the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture under his own label and 16 years later Maurizio, aged 30, became the youngest permanent member ever of the highly prestigious organisation. In 2009 he was appointed Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Letters by the French Minister of Culture in recognition of his contribution to the French fashion industry.

Maurizio’s design ethos embraces traditional craftsmanship creating exquisite and impeccable haute couture that is shown at international couture weeks and housed in global fashion museums. Maurizio has also turned his hand to a wide range of products from stamps and to interior design, all of which exhibit his recognisable ‘seamless’ signature style; his lighting and furniture designs are regularly shown at the Salone del Mobile in Milan, Italy.

In 2003 he founded Interware, a design and consultancy service in partnership with trend forecaster and designer Tal Lancman. In January 2013 Maurizio Galante opened his new atelier-showroom in Paris, located near Opera Bastile, showcasing his Haute Couture collections as well as his and Tal Lancman’s authentic creations alongside exclusive limited edition pieces.

Interware; Tal Lancman and Maurizio Galante

The Texprint Awards celebrate textile innovation which Maurizio sees as vital, not only for himself but for the highly creative industry of haute couture as a whole: “Haute couture is research in its essence. It is, in my opinion, fashion's research laboratory. The use of innovative new fabrics and materials is crucial to the result. A couturier is a bit like a great chef; the more the ingredients of the recipe are innovative, novel, and of excellent quality, the more exceptional the dish will be.”

Texprint selects and mentors graduate designers entering the creative industries. Maurizio is a keen supporter of new design talent having introduced fashion designer Rabih Kayrouz to the Chambre and Maurizio strongly believes in their importance saying: “Fashion is a work towards the future.”

Maurizio is keen to impart his advice to the Texprint designers, as he says: “Being aware of what's happening around us I think is the most important advice that I received and in turn would love to share with the younger generation of designers. Be informed not only about the evolution of fashion, but in general on the evolution of the costume, and the needs of the market and clientele. Never forget the work of a great balancing act, which must be achieved in realising products, without ever being too far ahead or too far back.”

Haute Couture collection 2013

Article tags: fashion (36), business (54), champions of texprint (45), texprint 2013 (23), indigo paris (13)

Meet the judges: womenswear designer and consultant Madeleine Press

05 September 2013 by

Texprint’s selection process is dependent on the generosity of industry members who take a day out of their work schedules to give professional guidance to the new designers under scrutiny for a coveted place on the mentoring programme. The same is true of the prize judges who spend an intense afternoon reviewing the work and interviewing the 24 designers who are in line to receive one of Texprint’s four awards for Body, Space, Colour and Pattern. Texprint was delighted that womenswear designer and consultant Madeleine Press was able to join the prize judging panel this year.

“Texprint is a great launch pad for new designers as they emerge from college - this time is both daunting and exciting for them. They will meet a broad selection of industry professionals who will view and talk honestly with them about their work. It is a great opportunity to have that experience before they go into the workplace and have to explain themselves,” says Madeleine. “It gives them a competitive edge, to not only compare themselves against their peers at college, but with the cream of the crop. The selected designers also have the opportunity to show at Indigo / Première Vision - to have that experience is amazing.”

Madeleine reviewing the designers' work

Madeleine brought to the judging process her commercial nous and an expert eye: known as a versatile womenswear designer with a deep technical understanding, she has also been regularly sought after as a knitwear specialist. Trained in Fashion Design with a print specialism at Ravensbourne, Madeleine has created women’s ready-to-wear collections, outerwear and denim lines, but is actually completely self-taught in knit design. “I spent an enormous amount of time in factories to learn what I needed to know. I come at it thinking, ‘what techniques can I use to create the garment I want?’ rather than just making a garment with two arms.”

On leaving college, she says: “The first bit of mass manufacturing I did was for an Elle reader offer, I had to source and arrange production of 500 skirts. I quickly became used to working on a big scale.”

Since then, Madeleine has had a wholesale brand, Press & Bastyan, which became a retail chain, and then her own eponymous womenswear designer brand, Madeleine Press that was a regular exhibitor at London, Paris and New York Fashion Weeks. She has worked as a consultant designer for brands from the UK to Japan, including John Smedley, Lamberto Losani, Daks, Onward and Sazaby League.

She brought to the judging panel a very clear view on the practicalities of textile design: “Whatever the textile is, whether for furnishing or clothing, it has an end use. In college you are free to design without commercial restraint, which I think is great. When you are conceptualising something and starting on a project you should be free,” she explains. “Then it is important to understand how to channel those ideas into a product that is right for its end use - what it’s going to look like once it’s in a garment or as a piece of furnishing. If it’s in a piece of furnishing you have even greater longevity to think about than fast fashion or designer product.”

As a knitwear designer, she considers the placement of stitch, seams and colour in the garment to be of paramount importance and something she considered when judging. “You have to think about how it will look wrapped around the body. I was looking for people who had an awareness of that,” she says. “In the commercial world if you have an understanding of that to start with you will have a heads-up over someone else. I’ve been running my own businesses for 20 years and every penny I’ve spent on my own business has to turn to profit. In the commercial world everything has to work.”

What advice did you receive when you were starting in business that you would like pass on? “The main thing I would share is something my parents told me: do everything with your eyes wide open, don’t narrow your options too quickly. Do something that scares you, as well. You have to allow yourself to take risks and jump in. And I think you need to do everything with a smile and say ‘thank you’.”

Thank you Madeleine!

The 2013 judges with all the designers

Article tags: general (61), business (54), champions of texprint (45), texprint london (19), texprint 2013 (23), judges 2013 (13)

Sophie Manners: One Year On, now based at Cockpit Arts

29 August 2013 by Editor

Philippa Watkins, journalist, Texprint council member and recently retired RCA senior tutor specialising in weave, catches up with Texprint alumni weaver Sophie Manners.

It has been a busy year for Sophie - since showing with Texprint at Indigo September 2012 (where she was selected for the Woolmark Texprint Award), as well as showing with Texprint in Hong Kong and enjoying a two and half month internship in Italy working with Como silk weaver Taroni, she recently moved into her own studio space at Cockpit Arts Holborn in London.

Woolmark Texprint Award judges examine Sophie's work at Indigo 2013

This was for her an absolute joy. To have been selected for a studio place and bursary, which Cockpit Arts offer on their incubator programme to help talented designer-makers - just being there is a recognised benchmark of quality craftsmanship and designer excellence - has given her a huge confidence boost and a solid base from where she can further develop her own very distinctive design work.

Sophie's studio at cockpit Arts 

Moving in her computerised Harris loom, her hank winder and dyeing equipment, thanks to a grant from the Worshipful Company of Weavers, Sophie is now exploring again her distinctly structured woven designs, including the velvet techniques she developed as a student at the RCA.  Currently she is working on new ideas for HodgeSellers Design Consultancy, a leading textile design consultancywhich works on developing materials and ways of processing new ideas to bring a distinctive edge to fabrics for their international clients, among whom are some of Europe’s leading luxury brands.

As well as commissioned design work Sophie is producing her own woven products prompted by the opportunity offered by the Cockpit Arts Open Studios.  New and distinctive designs for scarves and cushions include tie dyed warps and a novel ‘marbled’ technique which she applies to the warp before weaving, thus producing a beautiful, uniquely coloured effect for scarves. sophiemanners.tumblr.com

But none of this might have happened if it hadn’t been for Texprint.  “Texprint opened up so many opportunities” she says, “it really was the best thing I could have done after graduating.  And I sold quite a few designs at Texprint in Indigo, which was so gratifying - just to know people appreciated my work.”

It was through Texprint and ComOn in Italy, which set up the opportunity for six Texprint designer internships in Italy, that she was selected to work with Taroni Spa, one the oldest silk mills (founded in 1880) in Como, in the production of superb quality silks, including jacquards and prints for fashion and furnishing.  The experience she says was invaluable - to observe at first hand how the industry works, as well as getting some of her own designs into work. And it has provided her with a sense of how to approach commissioned briefs for clients and how to market her work.

Cockpit Arts is an award winning social enterprise and the UK’s only creative-business incubator for designer-makers, whosemission it is to support and promote talented designer-makers from all backgrounds through all stages of their career.   Their incubator studios in Holborn, WC1, close to the Hatton Garden jewellery quarter, and in Deptford SE8, are the centre of an exciting community of artists and craftspeople, both established designer-makers and those who are just starting out. 

Article tags: weave (24), alumni (45), texprint 2012 (27), general (61), judges 2012 (13), indigo paris (13)

Texprint Talks: Andrew Mellows and Richard Winstanley of The Drapers’ Company

19 August 2013 by

Founded over 600 years ago, the Drapers’ Company is one of the Twelve Great Livery Companies in the City of London. From its origins as a trade guild, over the centuries it has moved with the times and evolved into an organisation that addresses contemporary issues through its philanthropic initiatives which range from the support of elderly people to education. 

The Drapers’ Company is a Foundation Sponsor of Texprint, meaning it has pledged significant financial support for three years. The Company also made a sizable grant to Texprint last year enabling six designers to show at Interstoff Asia Essential in Hong Kong.

Richard Winstanley (left) and Andy Mellows with Texprint chairman Barbara Kennington

Head of charities Andrew Mellows and Colonel Richard Winstanley OBE, the Company’s clerk, came to see Texprint’s London presentation, held at Chelsea College of Art in July 2013, to meet this year’s participating 24 designers and talk with Texprint:

Through your active involvement, the Texprint programme is able to continue its annual programme, launching the careers of the best new textile design graduates from British universities and colleges.

Andy: We’re just delighted to be able, in a small way, to make a contribution to getting these young people on the path to a good career.

Richard: We engage with all sorts of areas; at one end of the spectrum we look after the under privileged and give them an opportunity where they don’t have it, and at this end of the spectrum we blow on an ember of excellence and make it glow, it’s wonderful to see.

Can you tell me more about how the Drapers’ Company has moved from trade guild to supporting charities such as Texprint?

Richard: The Company will be celebrating its 650th anniversary next year. And in effect, like all liveries we were monopolies on our particular trades in order to fix price, quantity and quality. During the 16th century we effectively stopped our control of the trade. In the course of that journey we had built up a membership. In those days, there was no NHS or educational body, if you wanted to get a better place in heaven you put money into something to ease your journey. So through a combination of all those things, the Drapers’, as with many of the liveries, became benefactors of peoples’ endowments and they realised they needed to invest that to look after their own and that converted as the wealth grew into charitable giving. It was a relatively contemporary decision to go back to our threads and get involved in the textile industry.

Andy: In the early 1990s we became involved with Texprint. We did quite a lot of work supporting design students at various universities. And Texprint was a logical follow on from that in that it connects academia with the commercial world.

Which other textile-focused organisations are you involved with?

Andy: We support the Engineering Development Trust [EDT] and its work in smart materials and composites. It’s a 21st century application of textiles that’s a big area of interest and we support educational visits by school children to smart materials companies.

Why should other members of the fashion and textile industry get involved in supporting Texprint?

Andy: I think it’s important that we don’t lose the skills and training of these young people. In industry today there is almost a principle of something for nothing. And I think it’s important that these young designers are given the chance to develop further in an area they have already excelled in and as many companies as possible get involved in providing internships, works experience or ultimately employment opportunities for young people.

Richard: The reason is in this room. It’s absolutely fascinating, the sheer breadth of quality and the spectrum of work that the designers have created.

What has caught your eye today?

Andy: Gillian Murphy’s knitwear is very innovative, very stylish and obviously of extremely high quality, I thought her colour selection was very clever.

Richard: I thought Katy Birchall’s work was brilliant, a very clever a combination of old and extremely modern. But that’s not in any way to say the others are not as good, I just haven’t got around to all of them.

Andy Mellows talks with Gillian Louise Murphy

Did you receive any good advice when you were starting your working lives that you would like to share? Or do you have some good advice for those starting their careers?

Richard: I am sure like many I have received lots of advice from many people over the years, most but not all of which was helpful.  I think there are probably two bits of advice I can offer above all else which I have tried to follow both myself over the years:

When taking on a new job keep your eyes and ears open and your mouth shut. There will come a time when you know as much if not more than those around you but until then be wary of wading in. And never be afraid of seeking advice as people generally enjoy giving it!   

Never be afraid of making mistakes as it is the best way of learning from them. The trick of course is to make sure they are not deliberate and not to repeat them, thus demonstrating one’s own learning.

I have always tried to live by these (not sure I have always succeeded). It is a balance of tempering one’s innate (and to begin with youthful and therefore sometimes inexperienced) enthusiasm with a desire to show willing. 

Andy: I would say that they are going to have knock backs along the way; don’t take it personally and keep believing in yourself.

Thank you for your continuing support.

Article tags: champions of texprint (45), sponsors (30), texprint 2013 (23)

Flying high: Nancy Rose Taplin, Artist and Designer

12 August 2013 by

Artist and textile designer Nancy Taplin won the Interiors prize at Texprint in 2009. She was selected, and her prize presented by the artist Grayson Perry, an experience that Nancy describes as “one of the happiest of my life.” Our interview with Nancy illustrates how much the Texprint showcase contributes to launching creative careers and how the paths alumni follow are increasingly rich and diverse.

Creativity is in Nancy’s DNA; her father is the sculptor, Guy Taplin, and her mother is the ceramicist Robina Jack. An exciting showcase of the work of all three will be revealed through a family show at renowned gallery Messum’s, in London, which opens on 29th October 2013. Nancy will be showing a new collection of her startlingly beautiful and detailed bird paintings.

Nancy loves living and working in London - she shares a studio with eight other people, almost all of who are working in fashion and textiles. A typical day for her would include around six hours painting – but she told us, “The way in which I paint is detailed and intense and I can only really paint in short bursts, so I take lots of breaks and chat with people. When I first started painting, I was living in Essex and working on my own. I would dream about a space in a big, busy London studio; I feel so blessed now that it’s become a reality.”

How many new works are you creating for the forthcoming Taplin family show at Messum’s?

There will be ten new pieces. It’s really exciting to see the work come together - in some ways it feels a lot like planning and creating a fabric collection. Even though I’m working with unique, stand-alone pieces, I can’t help but think about how they’ll fit together as a group, and I’m really looking forward to seeing them in a gallery context.

How did this opportunity come about?

My family are all artists and it was suggested that we have a family show. I started painting by accident in 2010. I was working as a freelance textile designer at the time, primarily for Issa, having been approached by them at Texprint’s London show. I was quite reluctant to suddenly start producing fine art pieces because I couldn’t see myself working in that way, but thought I may as well give it a go. I’d intended to do a small series of prints, but my father saw the sketchbook I was drawing in – an old ledger onto which I’d painted a bird – and immediately saw that it worked as a piece in itself. I sold all the book paintings I did for that show, and after that it just took on a momentum of its own. I’ve since had a couple more group shows and a solo show and I still haven’t managed to hang on to a painting for myself!

It’s funny, because when I was at Indigo Paris with Texprint, I was approached by a man who bluntly told me my fabrics were beautiful but I’d never make any money as a textile designer because they were fine art, and although it did trouble me at the time, I often think how it was a strangely prescient comment.

After winning the 2009 Texprint Interiors Prize you went on to work as print and embellishment designer for Issa. How was this experience?

It was a massive learning curve.  I was so grateful for the opportunity and working with such a glamorous label was exciting. Seeing print and embroidery designs I’d worked on featured on Style.com having being shown at London Fashion Week was a great experience. However, looking back, it wasn’t a great fit for me. Their aesthetic is completely different to my own and whilst I’m happy working to a brief, I found having to completely remould my style to fit with the sleekness and femininity that is Issa’s trademark a bit of an uphill struggle. If I had the confidence and perspective I have now, I might have refused the role and pursued more suitable freelance work. However, I’m really relieved I didn’t: not only was working with them a wonderful thing to have done, but because I found it so challenging I learned an enormous amount about myself and about the way in which I’m happiest working.

Obviously birds, and your father’s work, inspire you. Has this always been the case?

I spent my childhood surrounded by birds – stuffed, wooden, painted, living – they were everywhere. I’ve grown up with the East End’s answer to David Attenborough for a dad: when you’re with him he keeps up a continual commentary on the natural world and it’s blessed me with an awareness of nature and wildlife that I haven’t really had to work for. Wherever I go I’m conscious of the birds, insects and plants around me, whether it’s seagulls and starlings on the Ridley Road Market or shorebirds along the River Colne.

Other inspirations?

My background is in art history, and I guess my painting style is inspired in equal measure by fourteenth-century egg tempera painting – I can spend hours in the National Gallery’s Sainsbury Wing – and more contemporary painters like Andrew Wyeth. I’m definitely quite traditional in my approach though, and spend a lot of time apologising for being a bit passé!

Your work is incredibly detailed – do you work mainly from photographs?

Funnily enough, the less closely I work from photographs, the more detailed my work gets. When I first started painting, I used to rely on photos a lot more heavily; my paintings were much more realistic, though somehow also much sketchier. Since I’ve become more confident, I’ve also become more immersed in surface pattern and less concerned with realism. I often find myself working on a decorative passage of feathers and thinking, ‘all I’d need to do is blow this up and put it into repeat and it’d make such a great digital print!’

What drew you to working with/on old books? They are things of beauty in themselves – where do you find them all?

I first started working with old books when I was studying fashion and textiles at university.  My mother and aunt were clearing out old stationary from my grandparent’s farm office. I salvaged it all and started to incorporate it into my work. My final collection sketchbook was an old family ledger, which I thought was empty. The whole collection was based on the First World War and its aftermath, and when I was in the final stages of the collection I realised that a few pages right at the back of the ledger had been used, and were dated 1917-18; it was a really affirming moment and felt a bit like someone from my family was sending me a message.  I love the battered aesthetic of old books, there’s something so tactile and appealing about them. I get a lot of them sent over from America now, but when I can, I love to hunt round car boots and flea markets.

Regarding your working process – do the backgrounds inspire the particular bird?

The books themselves have a huge influence on what I paint on them. I think the process of deciding what to paint on a particular book is the point at which my textile training has the biggest impact. Each painting has a colour story, and the books become like fabrics, they have their own personalities and it’s really important to work intuitively with their individual characteristics.

I love painting the birds’ heads – for me it’s where all the personality lies. I’ve done a series of “portrait close ups” for the new show and I’m really pleased with them. That first bit, when you’ve done maybe just the beak and the eye, is when you’ve got the most energy and excitement for a painting and you’re making all the big decisions about colour and form. It’s a great place to be. The worst bit of any painting is “the ugly phase”… I usually paint onto dark surfaces, and have to create a white base first, in the silhouette of the bird. There’s always a brief period before the painting’s started to take shape when it looks absolutely dreadful!

You are concentrating now on your career as a painter, but do you feel you may return to textiles in the future?

I’m definitely planning on working with fabrics again. I’m also fired up about learning to make shoes, and want to produce a collection of small-scale prints that would work in this format. It’s got to the point where I literally go to bed and dream about printed leather – I’ve got so much raw visual material buzzing round my head, so much inspiration from my paintings, that I can’t wait until I have time to start designing. It’s going to be exciting to take the paintings that have been the focus of my life for such a long time and do something completely different with them.

Are there any other projects that you are currently working on?

I’m writing a lot, which is something I’ve always done, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how this develops. Perhaps most excitingly of all though, I’m at the very early stages of realising a long-held dream, and I’m learning how to make shoes. I’ve wanted to do it for so long that I’m bubbling over with excitement about it.

What are your plans for the future?  

I’m looking forward to the point when things have settled down and I’m still painting enough to make a living, but also have more freedom to do other things, like write and get back into textile design. I’m really starting to crave a bit of variety now.

Looking back – is there a significant moment in your career development that stands out?

Other than my solo show selling out at the private view, which was a bit surreal, I think Texprint really was the major highlight of my career development so far. I was at New Designers when I got the phone call saying I’d been selected and I honestly nearly fell down the stairs with excitement. I think the best thing for me about Texprint was that Grayson Perry, who is one of my absolute heroes, was a judge. As someone who’s work traverses fine art and textiles, he was heaven sent, and finding out he’d selected me as the winner of the Interior Textiles prize was one of the happiest moments of my life.  I gained so much confidence and self-awareness from Texprint, and I’m hugely grateful for that experience.

Advice for those about to graduate this year?

Don’t worry if your work seems different from other graduates– my portfolio stuck out like a sore thumb and I felt like a rackety art student compared to the professionalism of everyone else, but I think that actually stood me in good stead in the end. If you get negative feedback, like I did from the man who told me I’d never make any money because I was an artist not a designer, don’t be disheartened: hidden in that feedback there might be a really good bit of advice.  Don’t be rigid, and be prepared to do stuff that wasn’t quite what you had in mind; you honestly never know where it’s going to end up.

The most important thing though is to enjoy the whole process of graduating – New Designers, Graduate Fashion Week, job interviews – talk to people and have fun; people respond really well to enthusiasm, and I really believe that conveying your love of what you do is almost as important as the work itself.

2009:  Nancy with Interiors prize judge Grayson Perry

Article tags: print (31), home & interiors (28), general (61), illustration (9)

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