Our second-year BA (Hons) Textile Design students recently had a digital embroidery workshop with Pete Tarrant, of Digitek Embroidery, to develop their knowledge of the industry digital embroidery program, Wilcom. Pete has worked for a multitude of prestigious clients, including Ted Baker so we were extremely excited to gain insight and understanding of his profession, industry links and the resources he uses to create his work.
During the workshop, each student had the opportunity to digitise their design and stitch an embroidery sample on Digitek’s machine, which they kept for personal reference or added to their project development. The masterclass gave our students a deeper understanding of the Wilcom Digital Embroidery Suite and how to successfully direct the program’s capabilities to their digital embroidery.
‘Pete was brilliant at teaching us the vast possibilities of Wilcom. The workshop extended my understanding of the software hugely and I now feel very confident using and experimenting with design, achieving looks I hadn’t perceived before.’
Laura Wonnacott – Second Year Textile Design Student
What did you study at university?
I studied Textile Design in the late 1990s, specialising in Embroidery. Creatively, it ignited my interest in structure, craftsmanship and culture, but it also inspired me to aspire to teach.
What are you career highlights?
There are many! My career has had many chapters… An early highlight from my initial fashion industry days, was seeing my embroidered scarf collection on sale in Liberty’s, sharing a table with those of Armani. Later it was seeing the knitwear garments I designed for Marion Foale being showcased at Paris Fashion Week. As my career focus changed and my interest in craft based livelihoods strengthened, spending a year as a VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) volunteer developing textile design education in Mongolia was an incredible experience. It went onto inform my MsC in Applied Development Studies and led onto me re-establishing my own practice again. I now create textile/ceramic art pieces that are made for exhibition and to commission. This year my work featured in COLLECT: The International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects at the Saatchi Gallery – a personal ambition realised! Developing an academic and practice career in parallel has not been easy, so achieving Senior Lecturer was certainly a highlight.
What are your specialist areas?
A cross-disciplinary practice and approach to craft and design which involves a broad spectrum of textile specialist skills, combined with design and industry awareness which I explore through 3-dimensional applications of textiles. Also, nurturing creativity and seeking to develop confident, resilient humans are integral parts of my work.