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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.
Tamasyn Gambell: dynamic prints and ethical practices
27 May 2012 by
Tamasyn Gambell (Texprint 2005) has turned her passion for printed textiles into a successful, rewarding and ethical business. Her dynamic prints are strong and versatile, and are relevant for both fashion and interiors. Based in London’s Clerkenwell, she hand prints much of her work herself. Tamasyn began her career in Paris, moving there shortly after exhibiting with Texprint at Indigo, Paris, where many of her initial contacts were made.
What drew you to specialise in print?
I have always been attracted to pattern and colour. The first time I screen-printed I was hooked. I love the physicality of it, and the way you can change a surface so instantly.
Are there particular qualities needed for this discipline?
You need a good sense of scale, colour, layout and pattern. You have to be patient as the set up can be a lengthy process and things often go wrong. It’s also quite mathematical when designing the repeat.
How have you found working as a designer running your own business?
I have really enjoyed it. It’s been a fantastic challenge and you are constantly learning things. There are definite pitfalls and financial struggles at times – down sides are the long hours and the late payers. But ultimately it’s really rewarding – to know you have been responsible for everything you achieve. I love having the freedom to explore my own designs. I found working for other people very limiting – I have a very clear idea of what I want to produce.
Tamasyn Gambell scarves
What are you working on now?
I am currently working on two collaborative projects. The first is with the accessory brand Cherchbi – I am designing and printing tweed for their beautifully hand-made bags [autumn/winter 2012 menswear range]. Also I have designed and printed the fabric for a range of re-upholstered mid-century Scandinavian furniture pieces, cushions and lampshades being sold in the wonderful new shop: Forest, London.
What inspires you?
I spent some time in Sweden and I was really inspired by the clean graphic prints, bold colours and shapes found in design and architecture. Their sense of balance, and form really made an impression on me. This way of working, combined with a love for strong tribal patterns really informs my design work.
Tamasyn Gambell notebooks
Favourite materials and techniques?
Screen-printing is my favourite technique. I love working with silks, wools and linens - really rich fabrics that absorb dyes and pigments and produce lovely radiant colours.
You are very committed to ethical practices - do you think it’s still slow progress in this area for fashion and textiles?
It’s definitely gaining momentum. People are so much more informed now than they were even five years ago. It’s going to be slow to reach all areas of the market - but high- and mid-end brands are making a lot of positive changes. I believe ethical practices will continue to be adopted and gain a powerful presence over the next decade.
Can you describe a typical day?
I cycle to the print studio in south London – usually arriving at 9am. I change into my boiler suit and begin preparing the screens and the table for a day of screen-printing. There are always new designs, fabrics or products to print. The space is shared with other print designers and small businesses so it’s great to be surrounded by creativity. I work with my assistant, usually printing until about 5pm - then I will cycle back east and continue to work on emails, planning, deliveries and orders until 7 or 8pm.
Highlights of your career so far?
Getting to see my work on the Sonia Rykiel catwalk. Selling my work at the Tate was also a massive highlight for me. My father and I used to love going to exhibitions there together - it was one of our little rituals. He passed away before I set up my own business, so having my work on sale in the Tate Gallery shop was a very poignant moment for me.
Plans for the future?
I am exhibiting at Tent, London and I’m planning some new homeware accessories for this exhibition. I would like to continue to collaborate with other designers, learning from each other and sharing ideas. Longer term, I would love to work with Ercol and design prints for their beautiful furniture!
Advice for those about to graduate?
Enjoy it! Experiment and take opportunities as and when they come. I’ve learned that it can be equally valuable to learn what you don’t want to do as much as what you do.
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.
Josie Warden; Indian journey inspires sustainable futures
20 March 2011 by
Passionate about sustainable design and ethical production, Texprint’s Josie Warden and fellow textile graduate Isolde Jaspard Mandy embarked on a three month long fact finding trip to India in September last year.
A graduate of University College Falmouth and one of the Texprint stars of 2010, Josie’s textile work encompasses both embroidery and print. Through Texprint’s connections, Josie secured an internship with Cosmique Global, a design and manufacturing company based in Delhi, which is where the friends began their Indian adventure.
Josie told us, “Director Sandeep Manakatala has had a long connection with Texprint, creating opportunities for UK design graduates, at the same time as developing new ideas for his company. This opportunity formed an amazing start to our Indian visit and provided an invaluable experience for us.” The remainder of their trip was a whirl of activity and the pair visited many other companies and organisations, including a visit to the renowned Pearl Academy in Delhi, making new friends and connections along the way. Back in the UK, Josie and Isolde have used their experiences and knowledge to inform their newly launched on-line resource hub, Thread. One of the central aims of the Thread project is to highlight initiatives that textile and manufacturing companies are taking to create a future where ethical production is widely embraced. The Thread website is also being developed to link design students, graduates and producers – in the UK and abroad. The intention is to make a dynamic on-line destination that will feature interviews with ethical designers, brand profiles and outreach lectures, as well as offering students the opportunity to submit reports. Following a recent lecture on the project, University College Falmouth will link with Kushala Kala Kendra in India in a cross-cultural exchange programme this summer.
As well as her commitment to Thread, Josie is freelancing for several studios and working towards developing her own collection of accessories with an organisation supporting embroiderers, discovered during the Indian trip. The end of one inspiring journey has opened the way for exciting possibilities to marry creativity with ethical principles and make a difference for the future.
To contact Josie and find out more about the Thread project