Triumphantly, Dundee earned the title of UNESCO city of design; DJCAD’s degree show is a celebration of what good design can achieve. Textile Design always stands out due to the remarkable variety of work produced. Around every corner there is a different story being told. The course itself is designed to prepare each student for their future career. Each individual’s aspirations is realised; from fashion, education, interiors and surface design, each student’s individual vision can be seen in the work that they have on display.
On entering the exhibition, your eyes feast initially on the vibrant street wear created by Shauna McGregor. This on-trend collection has the sole purpose of empowering the wearer by putting a premium on self-expression and individuality. McGregor champions the core skills of textile design – composition, colour and pattern – while challenging traditional hand-printing methods by creating a purely digital body of work.
Florals have been used as a source of inspiration within textiles since its inception. Many great designers such as William Morris and Lucienne Day have shown what versatility florals have. Emma McCluskey is no exception. In her textiles, which combine both hand-drawn craft and digital processes, she explores pattern extensively and creates beautiful, flawless repeats that are suitable for the commercial interiors (home, kitchen, cushions, wallpaper etc.) fabric market.
Heather Colvin creates a charming interpretation of her grandfather’s journey at sea through textures which are repeated employing traditional embroidery techniques to tell the tale. Using cloth as a common language, she stresses the importance of connections between generations. This delicate personal display offers an example of how textiles can used as a learning tool and to tell stories, thus broadening their functionality.
The portfolio room, unlike the polished showcases that occupy most degree show spaces, discloses the blood, sweat and tears that have gone in to the final collections. There is an abundance of initial sketches and preliminary samples, all of which make clear the department’s emphasis on process and the development of both individuals and their work. Having the privilege to riffle through sketchbooks allows you to step inside the mind of each designer and you begin to understand how they think. Without this vital room, the exhibition is simply an impressive conclusion to an experiment with no indication of the journey to which it owes its result.
The common thread holding the textile exhibition together is the focus on craft. Everything from digital patterning to fabric manipulation is made to an exceptionally high standard. Through the diversity of textiles on display, we see the collective bank of skills that each student has learnt to master: the ability to see and translate pattern, to compose and to use colour effectively. Regardless of which path they choose, they leave skilled in a trade and, as the Head of Textile Design remarks, “they walk out the door confident” .
Taylor Jane Stillie