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FEATURES: Mixed Media
Marie Parsons: My first year at Jaguar
10 June 2013 by Editor
Marie Parsons (Texprint 2011) writes for Texprint about her experience of working with auto manufacturer and heritage brand Jaguar:
Jaguar is synonymous with great British design, luxury, and honesty in materials. I have long felt an emotional attachment to the brand: my dad owned Jags and being driven in his car always gave me a real sense of occasion. So when I was approached at my RCA show in 2011 about a role in the company’s Advanced Design team as a Colour and Materials Designer, I was understandably delighted.
Marie Parsons, left, with Jaguar creative specialist Siobhan Hughes
‘Jaguars are a perfect blend of luxury and performance in a very contemporary and emotional product. We believe our design teams are leaders in not just car design, but also in defining the luxury experience. We endeavor to find the best design talent from across the world, not just car designers but people who have the best insight into fashion, materials and product design. More often than not these sorts of talents are found in abundance at the Royal College of Art.’ Julian Thomson Advanced Design Director-Jaguar Cars
In my experience, working in the automotive industry is rarely considered as a likely option for textile designers. I specialised in mixed media at the RCA and in stitch at Chelsea College of Art & Design. During that time I sold freelance work to the New York market; to DKNY, Calvin Klein, Kenneth Cole, DVF and Armani Exchange, and later to NIKE when showing at Indigo as part of Texprint.
While the fashion industry was always my target, and continues to be my richest source of inspiration, at the RCA I concluded it was materials, their capabilities, restrictions, unexpected application and combinations that really excite me. I saw the opportunity to work for Jaguar as a challenging and welcome progression, an environment in which I could continue to explore new materials and processes in a more considered, luxurious and sophisticated manner.
At the RCA, my work was about reinterpreting traditional hand embroidery techniques in innovative ways, through digital machine embroidery and laser cutting. My graduate project was a collection of digitally embroidered shoes and a luggage trunk both inspired by the depth of reverse applique and quilting, juxtaposing rigid plastics alongside tactile latex.
Left: Marie Parsons with Professor Clare Johnston RCA at Texprint Coutts dinner March 2013; Centre and right: ©Marie Parsons: RCA 2011 final collection
My work today continues to be inquisitive and innovative. In Jaguar’s advanced design department, we work five to 10 years ahead. As it takes typically four to five years to develop a car, our role is to discover and develop advanced material ideas for car interiors and exterior details. We define the colour and material strategy and design intent of pre-production and concept vehicles.
I work in a small team of three designers, all from non-automotive backgrounds, led by creative specialist Siobhan Hughes. Our diverse backgrounds make for a dynamic and well-informed team, each bringing something unique to the table - with an area of specialism and acting as project manager for our individual programme.
We explore the 'A' surface materials: these range from woods through to rubbers, flooring, specialist paints, plastics, metal, leather, fabrics and integrated technologies; and also the 'B' surface materials which take into account eco and sustainability issues, after life and lightweight material solutions. We work to recreate familiar techniques such as perforation and embossing, embroidery and quilting.
A typical day could involve anything from rendering material ideas on an interior sketch, trend and market research, analysing material lab results, presenting proposals to senior management, checking colour in the light box, or sampling new finishes and techniques with the painters and trimmers.
My favourite aspect of the job is the continual learning process. We have so much technology and expertise on one site - in a five minute walk you can observe a clay car being modelled to scale by hand, parts being 3D printed, seats being hand-stitched, and then interact with the finished product in a virtual reality pod.
I’ve had to take on board a vast amount of information to over the last 18 months. Cars are incredibly complex objects of design and engineering and there are many factors to consider when putting forward new ideas. Materials must be premium quality with the correct aesthetic values but the longevity to still look good in the vehicle in 10 years time.
Despite working in the advanced team, materials and colours must be fit for purpose. There is a skill to retaining creativity while working with restrictions and to budget. I have learnt to employ a different eye when researching, one that is Jaguar specific, and to consider feasibility, brand values and the customer in everything I do.
Being well informed and up to date with trends and technology is crucial. My role has involved a great deal of travel in the last year - visiting suppliers, trade shows, exhibitions, mills, factories and universities - with the highlight of 2012 being an extensive research trip to China.
It’s an exciting time to be at the company, Jaguar is investing in and nurturing young designers who are given real responsibility and the chance to work alongside experienced senior designers, modellers, and technicians; with exposure to the wider business, meeting with PR, marketing and purchasing, allowing for constant and fast paced development. This energy and spirit of community makes me feel integral to the future of a thriving iconic British brand.
Texprint alumnae at SIT Select, 4 May
07 April 2013 by Editor
Texprint has been invited by Lizzi Walton, artistic director and CEO of Stroud International Textiles to introduce the work of Texrint alumnae Lauren Bowker (Texprint 2011) and Lisa Bloomer (Texprint 2012) at SIT Select on Saturday 4 May.
A day of textile innovation and design excellence Introduced by Barbara Kennington; illustrated talks from Lauren Bowker and Lisa Bloomer.
Date: Saturday 4 May, start 1.00 pm – 3 pm
Tickets: £10 & £8 (Friends of SIT & Museum)
SIT Select is the exhibition arm of Stroud International Textiles, their aim to raise awareness and to increase the enjoyment of contemporary textiles and contemporary crafts. Through an extensive programme of exhibitions, talks and open studios, SIT Select challenges the public’s perception of contemporary crafts while increasing active participation in the arts for a wide range of people and abilities.
While at first glance textile art and craft may seem only loosely connected to the faster moving and commercial worlds of fashion and interiors, there’s little doubt that it can inform, guide and inspire. As fashion textiles become increasingly innovative and creative, and production challenges even greater, it is important to be open-minded and explore seemingly less walked routes to discover new directions for colour and materials.
Since leaving The Royal College of Art the routes taken by Lauren Bowker and Lisa Bloomer could not be more different although there are points of connection, particularly around sustainability and textile development to improve the world in which we live, which motivate them both.
Lauren Bowker’s vision - to See The Unseen - lies beyond the world of the traditional textile as she intertwines unexpected materials and technology for the future world of arts, fashion and wellbeing - everything from catwalks to feathers to concrete - always with the human at the heart and with the intention of providing real solutions to real problems, improving and inspiring our lives.
Lauren Bowker for Peachoo + Krejberg 2012/13
Lisa Bloomer’s work, though firmly based in weave, goes beyond the traditional textile approach as she explores dye, print and freehand techniques. Using digital technology Lisa mixes the complexity of cross-dyeing with the spontaneity of mark-making to create sustainably-produced, bespoke fabrics for interiors and fashion.
Lisa Bloomer at Indigo 2011
Textile: ©Lisa Bloomer
The main exhibitions and talks curated by SIT take place in the Museum in the Park, Stroud - check WEBSITE. Tickets must be either booked online or by sending a cheque to SIT. Details are in brochure and on the booking page.
Texprint is pleased to support this extraordinarily rich and diverse programme and applauds the excellence and innovation of UK-based designer makers who are driving textiles and contemporary crafts forward nationally and internationally. CLICK BELOW to view the full brochure onscreen:
Breaking boundaries: Texprint 2012’s mixed media specialists
24 November 2012 by
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.
Genevieve Bennett: bespoke contemporary craft
18 October 2012 by
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!
Texprint London: four prize winners chosen by industry luminaries
18 July 2012 by
Texprint London - the must-see presentation of the best new graduate textile designers from the UK – took place July 11-13, 2012 at Chelsea College of Art’s Triangle Building.
Press, fashion and textile industry guests turned out in force to support and encourage the 24 successful designers.Texprint’s chairman, Barbara Kennington said: “This was undoubtedly our most successful and buzzy Texprint London show to date, the feedback overall was terrific, which bodes well for future support.”
Judges Sheree Waterson & Paul Stamper veiw the work
Four world-renowned decision makers and designers in the fields of fashion and design selected the winners of four special prizes at the event:Caroline Burstein, creative director at Browns Fashion; textile designer Neisha Crosland; Paul Stamper, senior designer at Renault Design; and Sheree Waterson, executive vice president and chief product officer for Vancouver based sportswear company Lululemon Athletica.
Selection of work by Ying Wu
Ying Wufrom the Royal College of Art scooped the Pattern prize for her highly imaginative work. Ying’s latest pieces are fantastic visual projections of a world where the environment has been polluted and almost destroyed. Her nightmare scenarios remain beautifully colourful and decorative despite their dark content, creating fascinating and thought-provoking artistic textile pieces.
Knitted structure by Carlo Volpi
Knitwear specialist Carlo Volpi, also from the RCA, was the judge’s unanimous choice to receive the Body prize. Carlo’s great sense of colour, texture and 3D structure mixed with a light-hearted sense of fun made an impression on many visitors.
Beaded textile design by Manri Kishimoto
Also commanding much attention,Manri Kishimoto from Central St Martins College of Art & Design won the Colour prize for her bold, graphic and distinctive printed and mixed media work. Manri is inspired by nature and by birds in particular. Her work is often based on stories and features striking motifs and wonderfully detailed beaded embellishment and appliqué.
Tania Knuckey embellished leather
Finally, Tania Grace Knuckey from the RCA won the Space prize, given for the best textiles for use in interiors. The judges were impressed with Tania’s versatility and the wide variety of materials she has explored in her work including many fabric bases, leather and metal.
The prize winners each win a £1,000 prize, courtesy of prize sponsors The Clothworkers’ Foundation, Liberty Art Fabrics and Pantone X-Rite.
In my experience: Susie Foster
16 June 2012 by
Susie Foster (Texprint 2010) is a freelance textile designer, specialising in mixed media. Drawing is the foundation of her practice and her delicate, sensitive pencil studies are often snapped up in their own right. Here Susie shares her insights into launching a career in design:
I work on a lot of different projects at one time.
I’ve created new prints for the Surtex fabric exhibition in New York. I’m developing needle punched fabrics for the spring/summer 2012/13 collection for menswear designer Manish Bansal. And I am working on accessories ideas with Sandra Murray, a Scottish designer I met at [textile design show] Indigo, Paris. I’ve also just designed a greetings card for the Barbican shop.
Susie Foster pleated textile detail
Being a freelance designer isn’t an easy option.
I feel incredibly lucky to be doing something I enjoy. Although there are some low moments, there are great days too and that’s what keeps me going. It can be tough staying positive and motivated but I was prepared for that - it’s a really competitive industry.
It’s hard to switch off.
Working as a freelancer means there can be a lot of uncertainty, which can be stressful. I’m glad I’m not on the nine to five treadmill, but it can be really difficult to switch off and take a break, especially if you live and work in one location. There’s also all the non-creative work that comes with being self-employed, dealing with tax, chasing payments etc, luckily my sister is a tax adviser, which helps.
Susie Foster: printed and pleated textile.
A typical day is a varied mix of the creative and the necessary.
I try to get a balance of the less interesting bits (invoices, emails etc) and the creative side (drawing, making, research etc). I enjoy the freedom and variety; it’s great to be in charge of your own time and to work on a range of projects. I like new challenges and working with different people, it’s exciting - and keeps you moving forward.
I’m inspired by nature, artists and the unexpected.
My inspiration can come from something quite unexpected but most frequently it’s found in nature. I find the patterns, processes and structures of the natural world are a never-ending source of inspiration. Also, the work of artists such as Antony Gormley, Bridget Riley, Mark Rothko, Eva Hesse, Andy Goldsworthy, Louise Bourgeois… it’s an endless list!
Susie Foster insect drawing
I love drawing and experimenting with materials and varied techniques.
During my MA studies at the RCA I started to explore scale, creating larger pieces, considering new ways of making and thinking a lot more broadly. I also started working with needle punching and it’s remained a favourite technique. I think it has a lot of potential still to be explored and I like that process of continual discovery. I still try to draw every day - it’s crucial to my textile work but it would be great to start exhibiting and selling pieces as an artist.
My Texprint experience in 2010 was hugely beneficial.
It was fantastic being chosen for Texprint. Just from the interview I got some great feedback and advice and made a contact that led to the sale of two large pieces from my portfolio. To show at Indigo was invaluable; I sold four pieces and met people that I continue to work with now.
Susie Foster: embroidery design for menswear designer Manish Bansal. Far right: butterfly pencil study
My plan is to keep going and keep the variety in my work.
I want to continue with my collaborative work for fashion and also to sell print designs. It would be amazing to work at couture level, where practicality is less of an issue and there’s more opportunity for elaborate and experimental textiles. I’d love to see my fabrics on a McQueen or Vivienne Westwood catwalk!
I’m working on some more of my own interior art pieces and developing my origami collages for print. I’d love to work with the Rug Company to produce designs for interiors. I’d also like to devote more time to drawing as an end in itself. I’ve been involved with teaching and community arts projects too and that’s something I also want to do more of.
Textile graduates need to persevere.
New graduates need to realise that it might take a long time to get where you want to be - but you can enjoy the journey and learn a lot along the way.
Palvinder Nangla: decorative textile art and design
04 June 2012 by
Images above: Palvinder Nangla, Bless This Home & White Indian
Texprint alumnus and creative maverick Palvinder Nangla talks to Texprint about his decorative and distinctive approach to textiles; the creative path of his career; and some timely tips for those about to graduate.
Your approach to textiles is highly individual - what drew you to embroidery and mixed media?
I come from a Punjabi background where embroidery plays a huge social role. My grandmother and I used to stitch for hours while chatting and drinking tea. The fusion of traditional hand embroidery with the elements of mixed media has given me new ways of expression.
Are there particular qualities needed for this discipline?
I guess it is very important to be patient. Stitching requires meticulous labour and it can take a lot of time. To be open-minded and passionate about your work helps too.
Palvinder Nangla: Self Portrait. Copyright Palvinder Nangla
How have you found working as a freelance designer?
Frankly, I find it quite difficult. It is a tough market out there and it is full of sharks!
What is the focus of your current work?
I have moved on to textile art and surface design. I still make fashion illustrations but now I draw my inspiration from haute couture. I have just finished a set of fashion illustrations made of up-cycled butterfly wings and I’m starting a new surface design project in collaboration with Cor Habeo, an ethical luxury shoe brand.
What inspires you in your work?
The creative process is the most inspiring thing of all.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your work?
When I see ideas naturally grow and take shape until they are materialised and finished. I also love when others enjoy my work and it touches something inside them.
And the least enjoyable?
The financial part, I guess.
Palvinder Nangla: Freedom Pass & The Last Dance. Copyright Palvinder Nangla
You won the Texprint Chairman’s Prize in 2006 - what did this mean to you?
It felt great to have recognition from the textile industry. Texprint opens up a world of opportunities - but as I mentioned before, it is a shark’s world and I’m more of a guppy fish.
Highlights of your career since then?
I have shown with the British European Design Group at interior design shows ICFF, New York, IMM, Cologne and Maison & Objet, Paris. Through this connection, the tableware company Villeroy & Boch chose my work to exhibit at Salone Internazionale del Mobile, Milan in 2010. I also very much enjoyed collaborating with artist Hector de Gregorio who is also an RCA alumnus.
What are your plans for the future?
I plan to keep on working with Cor Habeo and to apply my surface design to bags and other fashion accessories. I’m also looking into organizing an exhibition to show my textile art.Long term, I would be happy to make a living out of my art and to be involved in haute couture with someone such as Christian Lacroix.
What is your advice for those about to graduate this year?
Don’t waste your time with egocentrism and work together as a team, collaborate, support each other. Unity makes strength. Keep it real, be humble and love what you do.
Anita Quansah: bespoke fashion jewellery
20 May 2012 by
Anita Quansah (Texprint 2006) has created a highly successful creative jewellery brand, harnessing her background in textiles. Now based in Buckinghamshire, Anita studied at Chelsea College of Art & Design, specialising in embroidery and fabric manipulation. She began to translate her techniques and unique mix of textures into jewellery, creating one-off distinctive pieces.
You set up Anita Quansah, London in 2006; did you always want your own business? Yes. I grew up in a family that is very business minded. I’m in the process of creating an on-line shop on my website. My late grandmother was a huge influence on me – she was a seamstress and a teacher who trained many women to use their skills to get back to work. She inspired many to make something of their lives – and she inspired me.
What inspires you in your work? My cultural heritage has a huge impact on my work. I come from a mixed African background - half Ghanaian and half Nigerian – through which I have been exposed to a lot of rich African traditions, particularly in the use of materials and textiles. The bold and vibrant colours from Africa are phenomenal. I incorporate rich African prints mixed with vintage elements and new materials such as chains, pearls and shells. I believe this mix creates a rare and vibrant new look. I am also influenced by things I see every day: music, art, people from diverse cultures and distinctive styles.
Many of your pieces are made up of unusual materials. Where do you source these from? My materials are from Africa, Europe and Asia as well as from flea markets, vintage fairs and stores in the UK. I love to use unexpected elements - reclaimed pieces from vintage jewellery; semiprecious stones; rare African beads; and colourful textiles. I weave them together to create strong, expressive, unusual, one-off statements.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your work? Everything! I really look forward to working and it gives me great joy to take a design which was a concept and then translate that into a distinctive work of wearable art. Most of my day is spent beading and creating complex textures.
What did it mean to be part of Texprint in 2006? Being part of Texprint was amazing - it gave me a great platform to showcase my work and my skills immediately after I left university. Through exhibiting at Indigo, Paris, I had the amazing opportunity to collaborate with designer Christian Lacroix and I have gone on to sell my pieces to other prestigious design houses.
What are your plans for the future? I want to continue to maintain my craftsmanship and keep my creative spirit alive, making unique conversational pieces and continue to wow people. It gives me great joy to know that my pieces are appreciated by so many people, including celebrities.
I want to continue to raise awareness of re-cycling and up-cycling. I’m planning a bigger studio – I want to do workshops to start teaching others how to use their creative skills. I also want to take this idea to Africa. My ultimate ambition is to make my brand more accessible and eventually to be recognised across the world. I aspire to be stocked in stores such as Harrods, Selfridges, Liberty and Neiman Marcus. I would also love to work with more fashion design houses and couturiers such as Dior and Jean Paul Gaultier.
What is your advice for those about to graduate this year? Three words: dream, believe, achieve. This gets me through everything. Hard work and perseverance pays off in the end. In this industry there are a lot of hurdles but if you are focused and believe in yourself and your product you will stand out from the rest. Love every bit of what you do and enjoy the joy it gives to others too - that is priceless.
Momo Wang’s Third Hand Collection
04 May 2012 by Editor
Designer Momo Wang (Texprint 2011) has alerted Texprint to her latest collection, called "The Third Hand". These are clothes and accessories that Momo has bought second-hand and which she has up-cycled in her typically imaginative mixed-media way, becoming the ‘third hand’ to give them a whole new life.
Momo, are you selling the collection? There are 12 outfits in all, and currently I don’t want sell them because they cannot be reproduced. Some of the accessories I might sell on Etsy.com later. I recently had two exhibitions in Beijing, and also held a workshop to teach people how to up-cycle second-hand clothes, it all went very well.
Where were they made? They were all made in my hometown Jinzhou in China. I bought all the clothes and materials from local second-hand markets there. The market is very cool.
Where were the film and look book shot? In a farmer's house and the mountains near my hometown, in a very small and beautiful village outside the city. View the video...
Momo, we love the idea of 'third hand' - any more thoughts or comments on your inspirations? Are you planning to regularly create one-off collections like this? The basic idea is to do what I can to refresh, renew, re-animate precious second-hand materials, and eventually deliver the beauty in them by my realization, and eventually have more and more people doing the same, or at least thinking similarly. A French philosopher once talked about third hand, Jacques Derrida. I like hands.
One-off is not really the major point, it is just that how I create makes it easier to have just one-off. I am happy with it, but I think I am open for other ways of working, such as, say, the conventional way; also, if it is possible, I don't think it is a bad idea to review my past collections and perhaps redo the projects.
Leutton Postle: a dynamic fashion partnership
01 May 2012 by
Sam Leutton (Texprint alumna 2009) is now one half of a creative partnership formed with her long time friend Jenny Postle. Now working as Leutton Postle, the duo is currently working on their third season. Leutton Postle’s wonderfully rich and imaginative textiles define each piece in their inventive collection, and they describe their aesthetic as “awkward pretty”. They scooped the Vauxhall Fashion Scout Merit Award for their spring/summer 2012 collection during London Fashion Week in September 2011. We caught up with Sam to find out more:
Leutton Postle's creative collaboration
What made you decide to form a partnership - creating Leutton Postle? Jenny and I have been friends for ages, we both knit and we have a similar aesthetic in our work. When Jenny finished her MA (at CSM) I was freelancing and it was a natural progression for us to join forces.
You are both creative people with individual ideas – so how does the partnership work? We bring together our own personal ideas and inspirations, hash and re-hash them together and throw them in a kind of melting pot of knitting and textiles. The result is a fabric, a garment or a product that has a bit of both of us in it.
In practical terms – how do you divide up the essential non-creative tasks of running your own business? If we've got certain tasks that need doing we generally work on them together, or whoever is the most alert/least knackered takes over!
Can you describe a typical day at work? It starts with tea and lots of it. Jenny is very chirpy in the morning whereas I'm usually not human until noon. We're not massively organised, so each day is very different but usually involves a lot of emailing, the odd meeting and, if we're lucky, some making.
What inspires you in your work? Oh, all-sorts. We don't restrain ourselves by certain subjects in particular but in the end the last collection [autumn/winter 2012/13] came from a mulch of 1970s textiles and Nigerian appliqué techniques.
Leutton Postle textile detail
Do you have favourite materials that you work with? Where to start… we use anything up to 20 different yarns in a garment but I especially like a weird chenille which looks like rubber bands but feels like a Sylvanian Family character. I also love a fuzzy mohair, super shiny iridescent fabrics, and cords and tapes.
What is your vision for Leutton Postle’s future? To grow steadily and retain our creativity.
You graduated in 2009 and went to China – what were you doing and who were you working for? After graduation, I was offered the opportunity to work for Stoll, a German knitwear company. I worked in the design department developing knitted fabrics and garments.
What was it that first drew you to knitwear? I loved how I could make a whole new fabric with one continuous thread. And then be able to add in other fabrics; manipulating the knitted piece to create something new again. I did, and still do, find knitting quite amazing.
What qualities do you think are needed to be successful in knitwear design? Patience, lots of it. Learning to knit was very frustrating for me, so endurance too! But really a love for textiles and experimentation are good attributes to have.
What have been the significant moments in your career so far? Starting Leutton Postle; the emotional roller-coaster of creating a collection and the resulting shows. Also, Björk ordered pieces from our spring/summer 2012 collection. If we could choose one person in the world to wear our pieces it would be her - so for her to pick us is beyond flattering.
Harold Tillman and Texprint's Peter Ring-Lefevre with Sam Leutton at Indigo Paris 2009
What did being part of Texprint mean to you? It was flattering to be chosen to take part in Texprint. It gave me a great insight into the industry very soon after graduation. A highlight was exhibiting in Paris and being around like-minded textile designers.
Advice to new graduates? Relax, unwind and clear your head. For me, my career so far has happened very naturally but I think it's important to nurture relationships with people who are in the industry that you are in.
Advice to those just embarking on a textile or fashion degree? Be as creative as you can. On your degree you can do what you like and don’t be swayed by commerciality, so make the most of it!
What are your long-term plans? For Leutton Postle to continue and to get better and stronger. We want to continue to wow people. Other than that it would be great to open a crazy shop. I'd love to do more pieces specifically for performance. And I'd like to work on some non-fashion art work at some point.
New Horizons: Alydia Cooper, Holly Holmes and Georgia Dorey
22 April 2012 by
Embroidery and print specialist Alydia Cooper has been very busy since her time with Texprint in 2011. Alydia has created new work including her Under the Sea collection featuring a new range of sea animals depicted in her distinctive, decorative style. She says: “I exhibited at the Knitting and Stitching Shows in Harrogate and Dublin as part of their graduate showcase at the end of 2011. I decided to aim some of my collection towards the childrenswear market and have spent time contacting children’s nurseries and other outlets. More recently, I exhibited at [needlework show] L'Aiguille-en-Fête in Paris in February 2012, as well as continuing to work on special commissions – I’ve done bespoke chair covers and cushions for interiors.” Alydia found her Texprint experience beneficial in many ways, as she explains: “During Indigo, Paris, Agnes B bought three of my designs which gave me great confidence because it proved there was a place in the market for my work. Every part of the Texprint programme was amazing from the interview stage right through toshowing in Paris. I loved the Need to Know pack that we were all given. It has been extremely helpful with every bit of information we could need from sales to copyright terms etc. It was great to have the opportunity to talk to potential international clients and seeing how they would translate my designs.”
Holly Holmes print design work
Talented printed textile designer Holly Holmes was one of the first of 2011’s group to land a great first job. While exhibiting with Texprint, she was interviewed for a design position with Hodgesellers - a textile studio in London. Holly was selected for the job and says: “My current position as textile designer and screen printer within the studio is very satisfying. I have learnt so much already, since starting in September 2011 - I am really enjoying myself and I feel very lucky.” Holly’s fresh, vibrant style is defined by her confident use of colour and pattern. Successful under Texprint’s banner in Indigo, Paris, she sold some of her designs to both Italian and British fashion companies. Holly says: “It was such a privilege being part of Texprint, getting to meet lots of industry insiders as well as the other graduates. It was really great to get feedback on my work from so many different people – all the information given by the Texprint team was truly invaluable.”
Georgia Dorey, Texprint 2011
Finally, print specialist Georgia Dorey is continuing her studies – currently working towards her MA at the RCA. Georgia says: “My time at the RCA so far has been wonderful. Looking back on my Texprint experience, it was totally fantastic. Being chosen was a massive confidence boost for me at a time when I was just coming to the end of my degree and starting to feel quite scared about the future. Texprint London was a great opportunity to practice my networking skills and to build confidence when talking about my work to others. The time in between London and Indigo Paris was a fantastic incentive to carry on my creative work over the summer. Exhibiting in Paris was an amazing opportunity and I am so thankful for all the Texprint team for making it all possible. I found the first day of selling in Paris quite hard - it sometimes felt like everyone around you was selling design work and you weren’t. But then on the second day I sold nine design samples to Agnes B, as well as two samples and two illustrations to a Belgium-based company the following day, with both companies wanting me to continue to work for them in the future. Texprint taught me an invaluable amount – much of which will see me through the rest of my career.”
Exhibition Alert: Fine Cell Work, April events
17 April 2012 by
Social enterprise organisation Fine Cell Work has announced an exhibition and sale at the Rifles Club in Mayfair, London, on April 26, 2012. Working to assist in the rehabilitation of prisoners through paid, skilled, creative needlework, Fine Cell Work produces top quality, beautiful pieces of work. Prisoners are taught by volunteers, many from The Embroiderers’ and Quilters’ Guilds, and the organisation aims to “foster hope, discipline and self esteem”. Cushions, bags, quilts and other items will all be available to buy at the exhibition, and would make exceptional gifts.
The Rifles Club, 56, Davies Street, London W1K 5HR. Nearest tube: Bond Street. Opening hours 12 noon – 4.30pm on April 26, 2012
Limited edition embroidery artworks by Gavin Turk and Fine Cell Work
Also - catch it while you can – British artist Gavin Turk has collaborated with Fine Cell Work to create an exhibition at the Ben Brown Gallery in London, which ends on Friday April 20, 2012. Over 30 artworks, hand-stitched by prisoners, will be on display. In the creation of these new pieces Gavin Turk pays homage to the work of the late Italian artist Alighiero e Boetti to coincide with Boetti’s current major retrospective show at Tate Modern. Boetti is known for his fascination with words, numbers, dates and games as well as for his use of tapestry in some of his works, particularly in the Mappa pieces, where he harnessed the skills of artisan embroiderers from Afghanistan.
Ben Brown Fine Arts, 12 Brooks Mews, London W1K 4GD. Opening hours 11am – 6pm until April 20, 2012
Elena Munoz: a creative career in Paris
03 April 2012 by
Innovative knitwear designer Elena Munoz - Texprint Knit Prize winner 2010 - is now employed as an assistant knitwear designer at legendary French fashion brand Givenchy. Elena had previously gained a prestigious seven-month internship as an assistant knit designer for Balenciaga - another iconic Parisian fashion label. We catch up with Elena to find out more about these exciting developments in her career.
Congratulations on your wonderful new job as assistant knit designer at Givenchy – how did this come about? I did an internship at Balenciaga, and when this was coming to an end a designer from the company put me in contact with a Parisian headhunter who then got me the interview at Givenchy.
Elena Munoz, design from 2010
How was the interview process? After the first interview with the director of human resources at Givenchy, I was then invited for a second interview a few weeks later with the manager of womenswear. My portfolio was then shown for approval to the artistic director. The entire process took about two months.
Where are you based - and can you tell us about the studio environment? The studio is based in Paris above the Givenchy store on Avenue George V. Every department has its own distinct space: haute couture and its atelier, menswear, womenswear and accessories are divided into separate floors.
You won the Texprint Knit Prize in 2010 – what did that mean to you? Through Texprint I gained a lot of confidence in my work and in myself when liaising with buyers and networking. I think this is the best experience and the best help a textile design graduate can be given when finishing his or her studies. I am really grateful to all of the Texprint team. The advice was invaluable - how to best present your work to the industry, how to develop skills - such as creating relationships with clients, and of course valuing and pricing your work. It was an incredible opportunity to be given a stand to show and sell my work at Première Vision in Paris, and in Hong Kong.
What was the highlight of the Texprint process for you? Being selected for Texprint was a fantastic continuation of my studies because it led me directly into the professional world. I really enjoyed the Hong Kong trip. It was also great to meet and to exchange ideas with the other five Texprint special prize winners.
What did you do after Texprint? I interned for one season at Céline’s knit and jersey department in London. I was then commissioned to create some catwalk knit pieces for Guy Laroche, based on a sample they purchased from me at Première Vision. Then I was offered the internship at Balenciaga and moved to Paris.
Elena Munoz, design from 2010
What inspired you to choose knitwear as a discipline initially? I chose knit as my specialty because of the possibilities for three-dimensional creation and experimentation that the medium allows. The process of working and creating with knitting machines has always felt very natural to me.
What have been the most significant moments in your career path so far? Being accepted into Central Saint Martins to study knitwear (after business studies in my native Madrid) was really a turning point for me. It made me strive to always push boundaries within my creative field. Moving to London from Spain was a great cultural experience and was a key factor for me in deciding to combine textiles with fashion. A further significant moment was being selected for Texprint - a great showcase to present my work internationally.
After London, it just felt natural to move to Paris in order to continue to develop my passion for knitwear. I have been given great opportunities to experience the expertise of some great Parisian design studios. Today I’m very happy to be part of such a prestigious fashion house.
What is your advice to new graduates? Develop your networking skills because you need them! Get in contact with agents or headhunters to help you to find a job, and try to gain as much experience as you can as an intern or by freelancing to build a strong portfolio. Never stop doing what you like most.
And to students embarking on a degree? Work hard and enjoy these years as much as you can. Remember that it’s only by pushing yourself that you get the most interesting outcomes.
What are your plans for the future? It’s difficult to project ahead to the future, but whatever I am doing - I hope to always apply the same passion and the same energy.
New Horizons: Abigail Gardiner, Nancy Thompson and Rhiannon Williams
24 March 2012 by
Abigail Gardiner’s superb embroidered work has been much in demand since she exhibited with Texprint in 2011. Abigail has been working for Nicholas Oakwell Couture and the designer recently staged an exclusive catwalk show at Claridge’s hotel, London, just prior to Paris Fashion Week. Abigail designed the fantastic embellishment and beadwork for all of the pieces in the collection. She says; “The collection was very well received by clients and the fashion press and was featured on Vogue.com."
Abigail Gardiner for Nicholas Oakwell Couture
"I have absolutely loved this project - I have recently accepted a full-time job as textile and embellishment designer for Nicholas which is really exciting. I am currently working on ideas and sampling for the new collection. Being in the studio much more, I am now able to fully discuss ideas with other members of the team. I have also assisted with other aspects of the design process, such as costing and production management, which have really helped me to understand the business and the production process in the fashion industry”.
Talented weaver Nancy Thompson is employed by UK silk weaving specialist Vanners, which began with a six-month work placement. This arrangement has recently been extended, and Nancy is now working as a fabric designer for the Vanners open collection.
Nancy Thompson woven designs
She says: “I wouldn't have had the chance to do this job without my work placement so I'm really pleased. I've been doing lots of design and development work specifically for individual customers – working closely with the sales team, which I have really enjoyed, so everything’s going very well.”
Vanners, based in Sudbury, Suffolk, is renowned for top quality silk weaving and accessories manufacturing. With a history stretching back 250 years, the company holds a unique archive of over 250,000 designs. Its sumptuous range of silk fabrics is prepared, dyed and woven in-house using state-of-the-art dyeing, weaving and production methods. Vanners fabrics regularly appear in outfits worn by many high profile public figures. Adele wore a Barbara Tfank dress created from a Vanners silk brocade to the Sony Grammy party in February.
Rhiannon Williams's distinctive, witty pieces are building a steady fan base. Her work has been exhibited in According to McGee, a well known art gallery in York and Rhiannon sells some of her pieces through their on-line shop.
Rhiannon Williams; printed and embroidered pieces
In addition, she has just finished an internship with JRC Imports Ltd, a digital fashion print company. Rhiannon says: “This experience was really insightful. JRC Imports is a lovely, friendly company – they specialise in womenswear and their fabrics are used by many high street retailers. My role was to assist the design team with preparing their prints for the buyers, and to create mood boards and design commercial collections based on researched trends. I learned such a lot about print design and using Photoshop - so it was a positive experience. It has me really excited about digital techniques and opened my eyes to the fashion industry.” Rhiannon is currently in the process of applying to study for an MA.
Egle Vaituleviciute’s Indian inspiration
18 March 2012 by
Knitwear specialist Egle Vaituleviciute (Texprint 2011) recently exhibited her latest creative project at the Construction Gallery in Tooting Bec, London - a super-sized weave created from her knitted ‘strands’ - the ends dipped into liquid pots of vibrantly coloured dye which soaked up the colour over time.
Egle creating her exhibit at the Construction Gallery
This latest work is just one of the outcomes of a seven-week trip to India as part of an educational project organised by Chelsea College of Art & Design and the Institute of Fine Art in Modi Nagar, India.
Egle was selected as one of two textile graduates for her creativity and research skills. The graduates travelled to India to share their skills and experience with fashion & textile students at the Indian institution.
Detail of Egle's dip-dyed piece
Egle explains: “This trip has been a life changing experience for me. I found India such a fantastic place for inspiration. I gathered so many resources in seven weeks that this will sustain me for at least a year! I learned such a lot more about textile techniques – tie-dye, dip dye, block printing - and made some great contacts. This experience has inspired me to create more exciting work, pushing the boundaries of knit and incorporating processes such as block printing.
Egle creating her exhibit at the Construction Gallery
Added to this, I loved the colours, smells and the great, warm welcome I found in this fascinating place – a world away from the stresses of London. I loved the way that people in India find the time for the enjoyments in life – I got my energy back.”
In August 2012 Egle is due to start a 12-month design internship with Tan House, a company based in Hong Kong that she made contact with while exhibiting with Texprint at Spinexpo, Shanghai last year.
Paris Fashion Week: Lauren Bowker for Peachoo + Krejberg
02 March 2012 by Editor
When highly innovative designer Lauren Bowker (Texprint 2011) told us some while ago that she was working on a top secret project for Paris Fashion Week and that it involved working with hundreds and hundreds of feathers – we were intrigued! Now we can see the results, three amazing quill head-dresses for Paris-based Peachoo + Krejberg – a contact she made while showing with Texprint at Indigo/Première Vision in September 2011.
Lauren Bowker for Peachoo + Krejberg
This post courtesy of ARTS THREAD. See Lauren Bowker’s portfolio on ARTS THREAD with its video of the colour-changing feather structures that she created for her graduate show at the Royal College of Art.
New Horizons: Marie Parsons, Allison Pilling and Ruth Duff
07 January 2012 by
2011 was an eventful and exciting year for all of Texprint’s 24. In the second of a series of updates, we highlight some of the exciting developments in the burgeoning careers of these talented textile designers. Here Allison Pilling, Marie Parsons and Ruth Duff share some of their Texprint experiences.
Marie Parsons, decorative trunk
Marie Parsons began an exciting new job in September 2011 as colour and material designer for the luxury car company Jaguar, based in Leeds. She says: “I am really enjoying the unexpected direction in which my career is moving.” Marie’s distinctive and imaginative mixed media work has application for both fashion and interiors.
Marie Parsons, shoes
She explains, “My new job is really opening my eyes, I am learning so much and really enjoying the challenge. I also intend to start working on a range of my own accessories in 2012 and will I continue to sell embroidery and mixed media work as a freelance designer, which I have been doing successfully since 2008.” For Marie, exhibiting with Texprint was a great opportunity to showcase her work: “I found that that the direct discussion and communication with industry professionals was one of the most insightful aspects of my Texprint experience. It was really valuable to listen to buyers and designers discussing how they would potentially use my fabrics and reproduce my techniques.”
Allison Pilling, printed textile
For printed textile specialist Allison Pilling the experience of exhibiting with Texprint in 2011 was confidence-boosting and career-changing: “I was excited about exhibiting at Indigo, Paris, and then I sold 26 designs! I was in complete shock. I sold 10 designs to a Brazilian company and then within 10 minutes I sold another 10 designs to a French company. Everything happened really quickly! I also sold five designs to Agnès B.
Allison Pilling, printed textile design
Exhibiting at Indigo gave me such a great insight into how the design world works. I hadn't previously considered working for myself - but I now know that this is possible - and that my designs would sell. It has opened so many doors - to work with companies from around the world. When I left university, I was dreading being out in the ‘big bad world’ – but now I'm really excited.”
Ruth Duff, selection of woven fabrics
Finally, weave specialist Ruth Duff is now working at Lovat Mill in the Scottish Borders. The company is renowned for its production of tweed fabrics and Ruth is working in the design department during a year’s placement. Ruth found her time as one of the Texprint 24 incredibly valuable. She says: “Indigo, Paris was a fantastic opportunity and a great experience. I didn’t know what to expect from the week but it was a real confidence boost to have interest and sales from design companies in the industry. It was a big learning curve; displaying and valuing my work and sticking to the original price that I had worked out was fair - through to writing invoices. I had a couple of sales at the show and I spoke to many designers from various companies who gave me some great feedback about my collections. I now have many contacts for future commissions.”
Look out for further updates on more of the Texprint 24 coming soon.
New Horizons: Emma Shipley, Momo Wang and Harriet Toogood
23 December 2011 by
2011 has been a momentous year for all of Texprint’s 24. In the first of a series of updates, we highlight some of the exciting developments in the fledgling careers of these talented emerging textile designers. Here, Emma Shipley, Momo Wang and Harriet Toogood share some of their Texprint experiences.
Emma Shipley’s design work - a wonderful mix of fine draftsmanship combined with vibrant colour - has attracted a long queue of clients. Emma’s covetable scarves are now on sale at the prestigious London designer store, Browns. Added to this, her collaboration with Tomasz Donocik, Jewellery Designer of the Year 2011, resulted in a display in November 2011 at London jeweller Garrard; a unique combination of Emma’s silk scarves with embellished jewellery elements. This display has now transferred to the Garrard concession at Harvey Nichols in London until January 2012. Other projects include design for interiors, both fabrics and wallpaper, which will go on sale in 2012. Emma will exhibit at London Fashion Week in Feburary 2012, launching her new accessories collection for autumn/winter 2012/13.
Emma Shipley at her stand, Indigo, Paris 2011
Limited edition prints of Emma’s beautiful drawings were recently on show in the Great Room of interior design company 1508’s building in central London. The interest in the drawings themselves came about through exhibiting with Texprint. Emma has also been commissioned to create an installation piece for apparel giant VF Corporation’s Innovation Summit, to be held in March 2012 at its headquarters in the US.
Emma says: “It was fantastic to be selected by Texprint, and to win the Pattern prize. I had the opportunity to exhibit in London, Paris, Shanghai and Hong Kong, as well as travelling to Como to visit some great traditional silk printing mills. The response to my work was so positive, and I’ve made some great contacts with potential clients, stockists and suppliers.”
Momo Wang’s playful spirit and love of colour and texture is distilled in her imaginative mixed-media work.
Momo Wang's textiles showcased in her graduate collection 2011
Momo has now established her own studio in Dalston, London and has launched her own brand called MoshrooM. Her funky, fun handcraft line is now available to buy through the website Etsy.
Garment detail, Momo Wang
Momo says: “It was such a lovely experience for me to exhibit with Texprint. It has been so helpful - I sold designs and I’ve got all the payments! I’ve been commissioned by a Shanghai company though exhibiting at Indigo and I’m now designing for them. I am so happy to go to my studio every day and do my work.”
Fabric detail, Harriet Toogood 2011
Finally, Harriet Toogood’s outstanding work in weave saw her scoop two prestigious awards this year: the Space prize at Texprint London, and then the Woolmark Texprint Award in support of the Campaign for Wool at Indigo, Paris. Harriet’s bold work is characterised by her creative use of materials, such as mixing plastics with wool for a fresh approach to woven textiles. Harriet says: “I haven't stopped since graduating and being part of Texprint London. Without Texprint I would not have had the opportunities or experiences that I have had over the last few months, I have loved every minute of it!
Harriet Toogood (centre) with Chloe Hambiln and David Bradley visiting a Ratti print facility during ComOn 2011
Each trip - London, Shanghai, Paris and Como - has been of great benefit and also fun! I’ve now started a six-month paid placement at Camira Fabrics in Leeds, and I’m there until April.“Through Texprint, it was really interesting to see what other graduates are doing across the country and I have made some really good friends along the way.”
Look out for further updates on more of the Texprint 24 in early 2012.
Donya Coward: textile taxidermy
01 October 2011 by
Texprint alumna Donya Coward exhibited at the recent Tent, London; part of the London Design Festival. Donya has a truly individual and imaginative approach to textiles.
Donya Coward at Tent, London
She set up her business, Textile Taxidermy, in Nottingham in 2007, making one-off textile sculptures and banners; re-using salvaged beadwork, embroidery and lace from damaged vintage clothing and textiles. Donya explains: “Textile Taxidermy is as much about preserving textiles as it is about the animal forms that are being imitated.”
French Bulldog by Donya Coward
Dog images form a large section of her current work; Donya is interested in the folklore surrounding dogs and notes that statues of them often represent qualities of loyalty and fidelity. She has created complete 3D forms of dogs, mounted heads, and most recently, textile banners featuring different breeds. She also depicts other animals, including zebras and birds such as magpies. All of the pieces are lovingly hand-crafted by the artist and each one is unique.
Greyhound by Donya Coward
Donya relishes re-generating damaged or discoloured textile pieces, fashioning them into new, original, decorative art pieces - where their beauty can be appreciated again in a new guise. Referencing taxidermy and the old traditions of hunting trophies, her work is fresh, contemporary and fun, carving out a new niche for textile design.
Pictures, cards and paper products by Donya Coward
Donya trained initially as a knitwear designer, gaining a first class honours degree from Nottingham Trent University in 2004. In her final year, she began making beaded brooches as an independent project, and after exhibiting with Texprint, some of her brooches were snapped up by US design store Anthropologie. Through Texprint at Indigo, she gained two freelance jobs in France utilising her embroidery skills. Eventually, Donya created her first animal pieces, which have been enormously successful. She has exhibited in galleries in Nottinghamshire, Winchester and Brighton - this summer, her exhibition there won the Visit Brighton People’s Choice Award. Her distinctive work has also sold through Paul Smith and Margo Selby’s London store.
The Texprint 24: 2011’s mixed media mavericks
02 September 2011 by
Many of the designers among this year’s Texprint 24 are pushing the definition of textiles in the 21st century, employing both their skills and the power of their imaginations to explore many new exciting avenues.
Lauren Bowker (RCA MA) has a unique approach that fuses creativity with scientific curiosity. In her recent work she uses thermal chromatic dyes to create experimental textiles and installations. Lauren is fascinated by the possibilities of "making the invisible, visible". Her work spans a wide ranging sphere; from looking at practical applications for use in sportswear, to creating extravagant, intriguing installations that capture the imagination.
Central Saint Martins graduate Tianmo Wang's playful and colourful textiles are inspired by traditional costumes from Montenegro - and also by encapsulating memories of the famous Central Saint Martins print room. Momo refelcts on the personal, emotional effect of the college's move to it's new location in London's Kings Cross, translating her ideas into imagainitive, adventurous yet wearable pieces.
Quirky, colourful graphic characters and creatures are the focus of University College Falmouth graduate Rhiannon Williams's work. Employing print, appliqué, embroidery and beading, her pieces exude naive charm and focus on everyday observations. Her fabrics have great personality and appeal particularly to contemporary markets.
Lok Ting Carol Pau
Lok Ting Carol Pau from Central St Martins, works imaginatively, creating fantastic scenarios to inspire her textiles. She mixes digital technology and hand crafted processes to create her vibrant printed and woven fabrics, moving effortlessly between the two disciplines.
University College Falmouth graduate Abigail Gardiner finds inspiration in the Art Deco period and in oriental design, for her sumptuous embroidered and beaded fabrics. Creating through ‘doing’, her bold, imaginative and intricate pieces adorn silk, velvet, wool and leather. Abilgail’s prolific output reflects her passion and dedication to her work.
RCA MA graduate Marie Parsons's diverse inspirations are fired by her travels and her own photography. Material investigation informs her distinctive personal style, which she applies to both interiors and fashion. As well as creating impressive decorative items for interiors, Marie has already collaborated with fashion designers, including Louise Gray - producing striking, decorative accessories for catwalk shows.
Finally, Birmingham City University graduate Alydia Cooper’s vibrant and decorative embroidered fabrics have great tactile qualities. The fun creepy crawlies of her Blissful Bugs collection
The work of all of the Texprint 24 can be seen soon at Indigo, part of Première Vision Pluriel, in Paris, September 20-22, 2011.