by Hope Carter
Second-year BA (Hons) Textile Design student
The Erasmus scheme allows higher education students to study for part of their degree in another European country. It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance your CV and experience new cultures. Take a look at how Hope got on in Barcelona!
Why did you choose to take an Erasmus exchange, and why Barcelona?
I chose to take an Erasmus exchange as living abroad is something I’ve always wanted to do, and Barcelona was the first city that jumped out at me as it is renowned for its artistic scene. It has beautiful architecture, a relaxed culture and is a vibrant city on the beach. I’ve always wanted to learn Spanish too, and the best way to do that is by putting yourself in a situation where you need to speak the language!
by Beth Chick
Third-year BA (Hons) Textile Design student
Myself, and 3 other Textile Design students were invited along with our tutor to the ‘Making it in Textiles’ conference in Bradford. The event was sponsored and organised by companies including Campaign for Wool, Clothworkers Company, Drapers’ Company and Weavers’ Company, for both students and tutors from different universities around the country that specialise in woven textiles.
The idea behind the event was for students to be able to learn about the textile industry first-hand, by talking face to face with manufacturers and witnessing the physical industrial production. There is a major talent gap in the industry today and young people are no longer learning the valuable technical skills needed to keep this industry alive. Throughout the whole event a large emphasis was put on the fact that the industry is bursting with job roles, from chain management to yarn design. There were even some jobs that I didn’t know existed, but are available to us as emerging textile designers.
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
By Laura Hyden – Print Designer
BA (Hons) Textile Design Graduate 2014
Guest blogger Laura Hyden recently launched her first collaborative wallpaper, with London-based, interior design studio Muck n Brass. Laura explains how a chance sighting on Instagram led to a collaboration and the beginning of a design partnership.
After finishing my BA (Hons) in Textile design at BCU I was determined to find myself a job in the industry and knew more than ever that this was the right path for me. After 6 months of contacting different companies and trying to get my work seen, I was offered a job as a print designer at a company near to my hometown. I gained a wealth of invaluable experience and knowledge of the industry and also gained a lot of confidence in myself as a designer.
After a year I felt like I needed to extend my skills so I started working as a freelance print designer for a print studio who specialise in designing predominantly for wallpaper and bedding. This was exactly the role I needed to build on my knowledge of creating larger designs that were in repeat to certain manufacturing specifications. The designs were sold worldwide to a vast range of clients and this is how I came to be in contact with Zoe from Muck n Brass.
I am a former Birmingham City Univeristy BA (Hons)Textile Design student and graduated in 2008 with a first class degree in Printed Textile Design.
I later decided to further my studies overseas and graduated in 2016 with an MFA in CRAFT! Textiles at Konstfack University College of Art, Crafts and Design in Stockholm, Sweden.
What are your career highlights?
I spent a year in southern Finland teaching at Ostra Nylands Yrkesinstitut Inveon vocational college – a professional placement funded by the British Council Comenius Assistantship Programme. This was my first taste of international education and really shaped the direction of my career in teaching and relationship with textiles (and massively grew my collection of anything Marimekko!)
Nothing really compares with the two intensive years spent at Konstfack in Stockholm. The most challenging, but most transformative. We were a very small cohort of less than 20 students. Here I truly experienced the benefit of a close-knit learning community.
By Sophie Hawkesford – Print Designer
BA (Hons) Textile Design Graduate 2014
Hi! I’m a freelance printed textile designer and project manager for a textile design studio, and I want to give you a bit of insight into the wonderful career paths that are accessible with a textile design degree.
I think the title ‘textile designer’ is so easily misinterpreted because it is such a blanket term – people usually assume I just design clothing! There are so many different types of textiles that need designing; technical textiles, upholstery textiles, embroidery for textile application, printed textiles and not forgetting automotive textiles. The list goes on….and we haven’t even considered trend forecasting, wallpaper design and retail application!
Applying to study at University can be extremely daunting, especially when you aren’t entirely sure what career path you wish to pursue. I was quite naïve and narrow minded when I began my studies at BCU and did not quite understand the breadth and diversity of direction regarding creativity and employability in the textile industry.
Hopefully by the end of this post you will have discovered at least one new career path that is achievable after studying Textile Design, and be more informed than I was!
To support your application you will be asked to bring your portfolio to an Applicant Taster Day. As a Textile Design graduate I understand how nerve-racking it can be to collate your work into a focused portfolio, ready for a portfolio review. A well thought out portfolio is your tool to making a great first impression to your potential university tutors, as well as being a resource you will continue to use on your creative journey.
Your portfolio is a fantastic opportunity to show who you are beyond your paper application. It’s about your creative ability and your potential – make sure you let your personality shine through!
It is important to understand that portfolios are subjective so what you choose to include is up to you, but if you’re struggling with ideas of what to include or how to structure it take a look at the following guidance:
If you need any more help or information about creating your portfolio head to our School of Fashion and Textiles website.
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.
Interviewed by Sophie Hawkesford – Print Designer
BA (Hons) Textile Design Graduate 2014
We caught up with Adriana Gentile, BA (Hons) Textile Design graduate (2013), to learn more about her journey in setting up luxury homewares brand, Adriana Homewares.
Tell us about your role as Founder of Adriana Homewares. How would you describe your normal working day?
My role as founder is mainly focused on coming up with designs for the fabrics. I spend a lot of time liaising with the manufacturers while our fabrics are being produced.
I start by creating a design on my floor loom and then choose a colour palette, from my Pantone swatches. From there I take my ideas through each stage of the manufacturing process working closely with the manufacturers, to create the finished piece. Getting fabrics produced is quite a lengthy process so that takes up a lot of my time.
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.