What did you study at University?
I studied Printed Textiles and Surface Design in the mid 1990s. It was a great time for me to explore drawing as well as establishing my own design process, alongside practical print skills.I then studied for an MA in Book Art. This enabled me to develop my design approach in a fine art context, and combine my interest in visual communication and narratives / sequential design which still remains at the forefront of my practice.
What are you career highlights?
In education my career moment has to be now, as Course Director of BA (Hons) Textile Design, working with a really committed team to deliver the best degree course we can. I’ve just received my Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, that recognises my contribution to learning and teaching in Higher Education and this couldn’t have been achieved without this team. As a Designer I’ve worked on so many diverse projects, from designing artwork to be made in gravel, for three large roof-scapes on Birmingham’s QE hospital, to making books that have been bought by the Tate, and creating bespoke patterns for products with the Barbican Centre. I have enjoyed them all and learned lots at the time. Most recently having my designs on posters across the London underground network and in the London Transport Museum shop and archive feels hard to beat.
What are your specialist areas?
Drawing, printmaking and pattern design are the things that I love to do, but working in education is a huge part of what makes me tick.
What are your research interests?
I am fascinated with how we can design pattern to communicate information within the structure / composition of the design, and how printed pattern can contain a brand identity reflecting heritage and culture, for example, the work I have done with David Mellor Design.
What is your favourite part about working at BCU?
Firstly, it has to be the staff. I am so lucky to work with amazing academics and technicians that stick together through the challenges of working in Higher Education. There are moments of tears and laughter! Obviously the students are a very close second – I am so proud to work with individuals who want to learn and challenge themselves in partnership with us, to become highly creative and employable and who are a pleasure to know.
Do you have any tips for students studying Textile Design?
Be open and up for that challenge. The three years of study with us is a life-changing experience that can set you apart from the crowd and let you find the things you want to do for your working life. It can be hard, but ask for help and commit to the opportunity! #teamwork
Lastly, do you have any advice for working in the industry?
It’s a cliché, but be nice to everybody. It’s a small world and people move jobs so you are likely to cross paths again. Always aim to make work you are proud of, and NEVER copy! Have your own ideas and make your own path – there is not one way.