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With best wishes for 2013 - from all of us at Texprint!

03 January 2013 by Editor

Textile: ©David Warner


with best wishes for the festive season - from all of us at Texprint!

22 December 2012 by Editor

Textile: ©Tania Grace Knuckey

Breaking boundaries: Texprint 2012’s mixed media specialists

24 November 2012 by

Designs by Tania Knuckey

For a unique approach to textile design, many new designers are breaking down boundaries and embracing other media in their work. Texprint’s 2012 showcase revealed four young people who are taking this path to carve out a truly individual style.

Winner of the Texprint Space prize, Tania Knuckey explores the intersection between art and design. She uses many different types of media and techniques revealing a lively and playful attitude. Tania’s painterly and experimental work is often very graphic and evolves in an organic way, encompassing both installation and work for interiors.

Tania Knuckey: chair installation

Tania recently showed some of her chair pieces at The Stables Gallery in Richmond, Surrey: her installation changed on a weekly basis through wrapping new mixed media fabrics around the pieces. She also gave a recent talk on the subject of transforming textiles into animations at the Slow Textiles Group’s studio in Hampstead, London, as well as exhibiting a concept book, created in collaboration with RCA architecture graduate Joseph Deane, at the RCA’s Sustain show.

Neckpieces by Lily Kamper

The enormous BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Hindu temple in Neasden, North London, was one of the main inspirations for Lily Kamper’s distinctive work. The hand carved totem columns taken as a reference that she combined with softer elements in her multi-layered processes. Lily creates fresh ideas for fashion accessories, including fabulously futuristic statement jewellery pieces and bags.

Case with Perspex handle by Lily Kamper

She is fascinated by the possibilities of exploring texture and colour; a favourite theme is combining hard and soft materials to create unusual outcomes, as seen in her recent collaboration with men’s footwear designer, Tariq Mahmoud, where she created the Perspex heels. Lily also recently created the bespoke, hand-made trophies for WGSN’s recent Global Fashion Awards 2012.

Knitted textile by Sarah Burton.

Sarah Burton’s exciting contemporary pieces for fashion combine her passion for knitwear with modern embellishment. Sarah loves the process of knitting and constantly plays with construction techniques, continuing to develop her samples in unusual ways. Favourite materials include fine yet strong yarns such as viscose. Sarah’s inspirational research led her to study the traditions of the circus, looking closely at costume for performance, which demands a mix of the practical and the decorative. Sarah is taking up an exciting new position with Acorn Conceptual Textiles based in Nottingham, in addition to developing a small range of hand-made mixed media accessories.   

Embellished woven textile by Alix Massieux.

Finally, fantasy and surrealism are aspects that inspired Alix Massieux’s fabric collection. Although a weave specialist, Alix is driven to mix techniques and experiment with embroidery. Targeting a high-end market, she uses fine yarns such as mercerised cotton and silk, but is also intent on injecting an element of fun into her work, using flashes of Lurex to create vibrant, light-hearted effects. 


















Article tags: print (31), knit (15), weave (24), alumni (45), exhibition (24), home & interiors (28), mixed media (24), texprint 2012 (27), fashion (36), accessories (15), collaboration (9), sustainability (4)

ComOn: creativity week and internships

08 November 2012 by Editor

More than ever supporting graduate designers through properly structured internships is invaluable in helping them fast track their experience and commercial understanding.

The Italian trade organisation Confindustria Como represents a core of 300 Como-based textile companies and is responsible for organizing ComOn, a unique multi-disciplinary enterprise aimed at supporting promising young talent in the areas of fashion, design and art by offering real work experience in industry in the Lake Como area of Italy.

Their continued sponsorship of Texprint has this year provided an invaluable and unforgettable experience for six talented Texprint 2012 designers selected to participate in the ComOn creativity week, held October 15 to 20. Alice Howard-Graham, Manri Kishimoto, Sophie Manners, Israel Parra-Zanabria, Sophie Reeves and Amber Sambrook travelled to Como for a series of presentations, workshops and visits to some of Italy’s most prestigious mills.   They joined a larger group of graduate designers from Europe and Brazil, 22 in total.

Israel, Alice, Manri, Sophie Manners, Sophie Reeves and Amber

The designers' experience gathering included visits to the silk museum, Centro Tessile Serico, and to Ratti (Texprint supporters) and Canepa to view their state-of-the-art production facilities and their inspiring textile archives; also to the Missoni and Ermenegildo Zegna headquarters. Trend leader Li Edelkoort introduced her s/s 2014 trends. 

The ComOn creativity-sharing workshop Last Century, Next Century Icons was a highlight.  Working in groups the designers shared their thinking and decision-making; presenting their conclusions to inspirational workshop leader David Shah, publisher of Textile View magazine, and ultimately to local industry heads on huge banners at a gala dinner at Villa Erba (once home to film producer Luchino Visconti).

Peter Ring-Lefevre, Texprint’s creative director said: “David Shah's involvement was so energizing, his fantastic interaction with the young designers got them thinking in very new ways.  Hopefully the presentations back to industry equally energised the design professionals involved.”

Sophie Manners and Israel talking with Barbara Majocchi of ComOn

Moda di Mare, the swimwear show held annually in Cannes, ran a workshop in collaboration with ComOn: the designers presenting specially created work to several swimwear manufacturers. We were delighted to hear that two out of the three winners were Texprint designers: Manri Kishimoto and Israel Parra-Zanabria.  All three winners were invited to attend the exhibition in Cannes 6-8 November and to design the Moda di Mare trend area. 

Giuseppina Shah of View Publications with Israel and Manri at Moda di Mare

The six Texprint designers have now embarked on seven-week internships with major Como-based textile companies: Alice Howard-Graham (print) with Canepa, Manri Kishimoto (print/multi-media) with Taiana, Sophie Manners (weave) with Taroni, Israel Parra-Zanabria (print) with Rotary Textiles, Sophie Reeves (weave) with Luigi Verga, and Amber Sambrook (print) with Argenti.

Our thanks to all these companies for providing the designers with this unique opportunity to experience working in textiles in Italy.

ComOn’s mission to be a hub of creativity in Europe fits with Texprint’s own ethos to support and showcase the best emerging UK-trained textile designers.  www.comon-co.it

Article tags: texprint 2012 (27), como (4), sponsors (30), special events (11)

Pattern Masters: Texprint 2012 print specialists

30 October 2012 by

Ying Wu: Winner, Texprint Award for Pattern 2012

The Texprint 2012 showcase included nine outstanding printed textile designers, reflecting the strong continuing trend for dynamic pattern, in both contemporary fashion and interiors.  

Winner of the Texprint Award for Pattern,Ying Wu has entranced many people since her RCA graduation this summer with her captivatingly original prints. Her inspirations stem from her Chinese heritage and its legends, reflecting a very original and personal narrative; her most recent work imagines nightmarish future scenarios where the natural environment has been devastated, and creatures must find new ways to survive. At Texprint London in July, Ying met, and has since collaborated with, Italian company De Le Cuona; she was also invited to participate in a ‘pop-up shop’ at Paul Smiths’ flagship store in London during September’s London Fashion Week. Further exciting collaborations are emerging, in what is proving to be a dynamic start to Ying’s career.  

Manri Kishimoto

The vibrant and colourful work of Manri Kishimoto ensured her success as winner of the Texprint Award for Colour, sponsored by Pantone, and as a joint winner of the inaugural Lululemon Texprint Award.  Manri’s work is instantly striking - the bold, expressive and graphic shapes of her story-telling designs are inspired by nature, particularly bird motifs. She uses many substrates for her print and multi-media work including knit, leather, silk weave and fine silk mesh.  One of the highlights of her display at Texprint London was the large scale swan motif encusted with Swarovski crystals.  

Israel Parra- Zanabria

Embracing vibrant colour in a very different way, the work of Israel Parra-Zanabria is inspired by the colours and buzz of his native Mexico City. Israel uses a variety of media, including watercolour, pro markers and pencil to achieve a masterful delicacy and softness to his beautiful depictions of exotic flowers, combining both screen printing and hand painting to translate design to fabric.  

Fergus Dowling’s distinctive work is currently inspired by decorative heraldic imagery. Fergus is drawn to the Rococo and Baroque periods; he is inspired by the highly detailed design and imagery of family crests which he deconstructs and then reinvents to create newly contemporary and personal patterns. These, plus his use of reinvented traditional tartans, vibrant colour, and luxurious fabrics, gives his work an elegant gentleman-like mood.

Laura Barnes’ love of drawing and the decorative arts is very apparent in her richly coloured and elegant work. Her wonderfully vibrant sketches and designs are inspired by travel, especially recent trips to Morocco and Spain, and reveal her passion for colour and story-telling. She previously won a scholarship, which enabled her to undertake an exciting and visually stimulating cultural exchange visit to South Korea.

Trinity Mitchell

Trinity Mitchell’s fresh, quirky and slightly retro designs were originally inspired by a YouTube video of 1950’s women trying on sunglasses.  Her prints have since developed into a celebration of the small, feminine and often quietly humorous details that reflect her eclectic and light-hearted approach to fashion fabrics and headscarf design.

Alice Howard- Graham

Architecture, photography and Russian Constructivism have inspired Alice Howard-Graham’s striking and dynamic work. Using her passion for photographic manipulation yet retaining a hand-drawn quality, Alice employs motifs developed from industrial and mechanical imagery, exploring the potential of both traditional screen-printing and digital methods in her work.

Geometric patterns, maps of the world, celestial charts, strong colour, Pop Art, vintage photos and animals are just some of the eclectic starting points used by David Warner to create his individual take on contemporary fashion textiles and wallcoverings. Quirky, layered designs mix English country traditions with gay culture to create statement placements and allovers.  

Amber Sambrook

Amber Sambrook plays with techniques such as laser cutting, and materials such as leather to give her fashion fabrics and accessories their unique and unexpected handle and finish. Her most recent work is dramatic and powerful, inspired by the weather and its changing atmospheric conditions. Contrasts of light and dark, and richly moody patterns suggesting storm clouds are achieved using techniques such as ombre and devôré.

The variety and vibrancy of these emerging talents ensure some exciting new directions for the future of printed textile design. 

Article tags: print (31), home & interiors (28), texprint 2012 (27), fashion (36), colour (8), illustration (9)

Genevieve Bennett: bespoke contemporary craft

18 October 2012 by

Genevieve Bennett: Maze

We were delighted to note recently that Texprint alumni Genevieve Bennett has been nominated for the second time for an Elle Decoration Design Award. Genevieve runs a bespoke leather design business creating beautifully crafted and individual pieces for interiors. She has an imaginative approach to her craft, using many traditional techniques such as embossing, engraving, sculpting and inlay work, in a refreshingly contemporary way. Genevieve spoke to Texprint about her exciting career path since winning the Texprint ‘Breaking New Ground’ prize in 2000.

Great news about your nomination for the Elle Decoration Design Awards – how does it feel to be included in this prestigious list again? (Genevieve won an award in 2006, and was nominated in 2007).

I was delighted - it’s a fantastic honour!  Originally the awards were judged by eminent designers such as Terence Conran - a great opportunity to get their attention. Now they are judged by the public which in some ways seems fairer and makes for a more interesting contest. The awards are useful too for international recognition as there is so much press coverage.

What are the main projects that you are currently working on?

I have just finished two large commissions for an interior design firm in Hong Kong, three very large sculpted panels and 100 relief tiles for private residences. This was a great opportunity to work with established companies and gain international presence. I am currently building a relationship with a distributor in India for my leather tiles, and have just set up a relationship with an agent in New York for the bespoke sculpted panels, which will I hope lead to some interesting projects.

I am also selling and distributing the work I launched last year at the London Design Festival and will start new design work within the coming months for launch next year.

Genevieve Bennett: Damask

What inspires you in your work?

I am inspired both by pattern and 3D forms. The initial inspiration for my sculpted panels came from the wood carving of 17th century master craftsman Grinling Gibbons. Other 3D inspiration comes from paper engineering techniques. Pattern inspiration comes from anywhere - specific loves are ceramics by William De Morgan, Moorish lustreware, Art Deco embroideries, Chinese lattice screens, and patterned tiles of all kinds.

What drew you to working with leather?

I used to create sculptural forms in paper and card, but I really wanted my work to feel more permanent, for it to be longer lasting and not always reliant on framing for protection. I also wanted to move from panels to actual wall coverings thinking these would appeal to a wider audience. I chose leather as it can have similar sculptural qualities while is more durable and flexible in terms of possibilities of application.

Are there other materials/techniques that you like to work with?

Yes, I’m keen to work with a wider variety of materials. At the moment I’m thinking of working in felt - on its own and in combination with leather – and perhaps wood too.

You have been working as a freelance designer for over 10 years now – what are the advantages/drawbacks?

I enjoy being involved in the whole process, so on any new project I work in-house with the manufacturer for several days a week. I find this a more rewarding and collaborative approach. Freelance work offers you the opportunity to get involved with a variety of projects and ultimately to gain a wider experience. I tried selling designs on a one off basis but was not very successful!

The work I did at Habitat was fantastic; I worked freelance on pattern designs for a huge range of products. However, it was the full time design managers who were able to travel abroad, spending time in the factories and developing the products.  I missed being involved in this aspect of the process.

Genevieve Bennett: Camellia

You have worked with some prestigious companies as a freelance designer – is there a particular project that has been a favourite?

The work I did for Wedgwood provided a very special opportunity to work with the 250 yr old pattern archive of a heritage British brand.  One of their major markets is Japan, and I made regular visits to learn about the Japanese market. This was a very unique and exciting experience.

Can you describe a typical day?

I get to the studio at around 9am and start my day dealing with emails and admin - I find it hard to concentrate until this is under control. With any small business this can really take over, so I try to limit it to an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon.

I then focus on the current project, depending on the stage it is at; sculpting the leather shapes, preparing artwork or a layout, ordering leather, getting shipping quotes etc. I then try and spend part of the day creating new designs for my future work or for a new client. I usually leave at 5pm to collect my son but then continue working from home until around 10pm. I almost always have a sketchpad to hand!

What are the most enjoyable aspects of your work?

Creating new designs, drawing, testing out new ideas, and then, seeing a finished product in a shop, or in situ in someone’s home.

And the least enjoyable?

Legal contracts and negotiations. As small business I have to oversee all aspects from design, to sales, to contracts; sometimes these can seem confusing and daunting, but I am learning. 

Genevieve Bennett: Deco 

What are your plans for the near future?

New designs! New leather tile designs, maybe looking at screens and other applications other than wall. New sculpted designs, looking at introducing new materials into my work, such as felt. I would also like to develop the overseas distribution of the tiles and build on the existing business.

I would love to work with on more projects with interior designers - they always transform your work into something you could have never imagined!

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

Developing my research and ideas at the RCA where I started to work with leather – and connecting with Spinneybeck, the North American leather specialists, was significant too - they really opened my eyes to the creative possibilities.

You won the Breaking New Ground Prize in 2000 at Texprint – what did this mean to you?

It was a fantastic confidence boost. I sold a lot of work at Indigo in Paris, which enabled me to establish a studio and buy equipment. Winning also encouraged me to believe that experimental ideas are important and can ultimately be developed into something commercial.

Advice for those graduating this year?

I feel I could perhaps have learnt more about manufacturing in a shorter period of time had I worked full time for a year or so with a major brand. Building experience by working freelance took longer, but at the same time working on a variety of projects was invaluable.  I would say if you have a product ready to go and which you believe in, then don’t wait around, go for it!



Article tags: alumni (45), home & interiors (28), mixed media (24)

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