How would you describe Textiles: Innovation and Design at Loughborough University
I did my foundation year at London Arts, and when it came to choosing a university I had the option to stay in London and commute from my parents house, or seek a campus university experience. I chose to go to Loughborough, which comparatively to London was in the middle of nowhere, with not much going on. It was the best decision I made though.
The space we had to work in was generous, and the facilities were great. We had access to all of the workshops throughout art and design, and could use processes that weren’t typically related to textiles. It gave me an opportunity to do things like life-casting and metal work.
The time we had with our tutors was great, it was much more extensive that I had envisioned. I got to know my tutors well; they offered support not only for our work in the studio, but also for the future.
Tell us about the ideas behind your work at Free Range? How did you arrive at the design?
My project was based on Greek Mythology. The gods featured in Greek Mythology were portrayed uniquely in comparison to other higher beings in different cultures. Instead of being all-good beings, symbolising purity, the Greek Gods were often badly behaved, being overtly sexual, jealous and seeking revenge.
My final designs were limited to the constraints of three myths: ‘King Midas and the Golden Touch’, ‘The Symplegades’ and ‘Atalantis & Hippomenes’. From within these stories I selected motifs to draw, which I felt evoked the emotions that the tales held. I developed the drawings until they were images that told the stories, and would also work as screen-prints.
I chose to use both silk and latex for my designs. I had familiarized myself with latex in a previous project, and wanted to push the material further. It complimented my concept and I wanted to present the material in a different context to which it is normally worn. I worked with House of Harlot to develop a garment shape that was simple but strong. I used silk for the skirt, in exaggerated lengths to make the outfits appear like Grecian columns.
For my exhibition space I chose to hang the latex garments and skirts with the illusion that hands were holding them out, like an offering. I wanted the effect to be ghostly, but discreet; something that could be easily overlooked, but would become visible when the audience looks closer.
What advice would you give to people looking to start a degree in textile design?
Go to as many graduate shows as possible, and when you’re there talk to the graduates. They have been through everything that you are embarking on, so will offer the best advice.
What is your favorite material to work with?
I’ve been working with latex for this final project and have loved it. It holds strong connotations with fetishism, but when used in a different way people don’t recognize it, and that’s what makes it exciting.
I also love paper. I’ve focused on fashion-based projects in my final year, but would like to do some more screen-printing onto paper and card.
Where do you look for inspirations for your works?
I collect clippings of things I read in the newspaper, and I love weekend supplement magazines. I always have a file on my desktop called ‘Misc’ which I put in anything that catches my eye. Generally I have a lot going on in my head, but when I run low on motivation I look through my file and desktop.
Best advice you were given during the course?
Be friends with the technicians, they have all the knowledge you’ll ever need.
Good textile design is…
Functional. Whether it’s being worn, or hung, or used in an entirely different manner, it has to perform the job that it was designed for. And if it’s something innovative, that’s even better.