After last year’s textile degree show there was a lot to live up to for this year’s crop of graduates, but they’ve more than succeeded. The most interesting aspect about this year is the variety of inspirations at the heart of the final year collections. Ranging from Mother Nature to man-made structures, small towns to big cities, the designs’ intentions also vary, from commercial interiors through to a person’s wellbeing. Overall, it was a strong showing from the textiles department, but there were some notable highlights.
Jenna Brown’s “Botanical Allure” used the technique of digital prints to create wallpapers for commercial areas (such as hotel lobbies) which can change over time. Inspired by botanical gardens from around Scotland, the beautiful prints feature an abundance of floral and butterfly patterns, with subtle colours melting together. Brown has also created an animated piece which puts in motion the static digital prints; this is a refreshing take on textile design.
On the opposite side from nature, Laura Spiers has taken the Glasgow shipyards as her main inspiration, developing drawings of industrial structures, cranes, and the “grand structures” that form the city. These drawings transformed into design have resulted in the creation of heavy geometric patterns for wall hangings and wallpapers, as well as paper work. Using the techniques of laser cutting and block printing, the artist has also expanded her designs into wood, giving the impression of 3D structure and form.
Catherine Carson has used the medium of fashion to focus her project on how textiles can impact on people’s wellbeing t. The use of thermo chromatic dyes, which are heat reactive, meaning if someone was to touch or blast it with a hairdryer it will change the initial colour of the fabric to a much lighter shade. This is intended to encourage interaction between people, specifically between the wearer and a loved one, to alleviate some stress the wearer might be feeling. This is called colour theory, the idea that different colours and shades of colour affect one’s mood. The use of dark sumptuous colours means that when put into heated contact the colour change is more noticeable. The heavy use of striped patterns juxtaposes movement, making the ties all the more interesting and visually intriguing.
“Patterned Port” is a project based on Rosie Reid’s childhood visits to Port Patrick, taking found objects from the beach to create a sense of nostalgia, yet staying rooted in the contemporary. This has been achieved by creating unusual shapes and compositions from the original drawings. These memories have been incorporated into the form of wool blankets and scarfs. Having been in the print room whilst the artist was directly painting print paste onto the fabric, which can be a long and gratifying process. It can add more texture to a piece, being able to see the brushstrokes within the shapes created and in turn seeing craftsmanship of the pieces.. The playful use of colour and composition means that not one piece is the same. The pieces have a lovely child-like quality to them, making them more cosy and homely to the eye as well as to the touch.
Finally, probably my favourite of the bunch, is Paula Fox’s “The Art of Flight” which is a project built around her brand “Ponyosquid”. Her excellent use of big, bold vibrant colours interpreted in to heavy geometric patterns to enhance their visibility, really makes her work stand out. This emphasis on visibility is connected to the intended use of the fabrics on ski slopes, making it easier for skiers and snowboarders to see each other, and in turn avoiding accidents or injury. The patterns on display highlight a high skill level in stencil techniques for screen printing, incorporating squids into the already mentioned geometric structures. Additionally, strips of thin light are built in to the jackets to add even greater visibility during darker days and nights. To round up, a great showing of the very talented textile design department and how textile design can be such an adaptive, intriguing, exciting and visually stunning medium to study, work, and (most importantly) create in.