A flair for multi-media textiles

Multi-media textiles: where anything goes

Of the three textile pathways, followed at Loughborough University, multi-media textiles is the hardest to define. Students experiment with a range of textile techniques including applique, beading, crochet, fabric manipulation, felting, hand and machine knit, hand and machine stitch, macrame, patchwork, and quilting. They may also use non-textiles techniques such as ceramics, laser processing, metalwork and 3d printing. And they work with many different materials.

The multi-media pathway is highly regarded for its experimental and individual approach. Given the variety of techniques and materials students may use, it should not surprise you to learn that multi-media students work ranges from commercial design to fine art pieces. Therefore, multi-media students may show their collections at ‘Indigo’, alongside students from Printed Textiles and Woven Textiles, as well as exhibit in art galleries.

Whilst I was working at Loughborough University, I was based in the “Stitch Room“. This is the hub for multi-media students, since this is where the CAD-embroidery machine, dress forms, embellishers, knitting machines, over-lockers and sewing machines are located. Workshops to learn hand and machine techniques take place here. And print and weave students come to finish their samples. I loved the buzz when there were many students all working on different projects and using different techniques. It is an inspiring place to be!

Ella Shand
Ella’s inspiration for her collection, ‘Escape from the Country’ was rural and urban themes. She has used illustrative imagery to create fabric collages working with different textural qualities and vibrant colour combinations. Each piece involves traditional and contemporary textile processes. You should be able to spot hand stitching, applique, print and needle-felting in the images below. I think she has an excellent eye for colour!

Multi-Media jacket by Ella Shand

Multi-Media textile by Ella Shand

Ella won third prize in the regional heats of the SDC International Design Competition 2014.

Emily Lippett

When I first met Emily, she was using freestyle machine embroidery to ‘draw’ old industrial machinery. Although her inspiration for her final pieces was old machinery, she decided to create “tribal” style body adornment from some unusual materials. Emily used her dyeing skills to colour these materials, which disguises them well. If you look closely you may spot rope, copper plates curtain hooks, brass hooks and false hair. What you might not see is that Emily has used macrame to connect these materials.

Emily had placements at New Brewery Arts in Cirencester and Clemency Rittner Soft Furnishings in Swindon. She exhibited at the Arch Window, gpstudio, London in 2014.

Multi-Media rope neckpiece by Emily Lippitt

Multi-Media copper neckpiece by Emily Lippitt

Rope Neckpiece by Emily Lippitt

Holly Birkinshaw

Holly‘s inspiration for her final piece was how cells accumulate to make complex forms. She organised a community project involving unique drawing activities at local schools. She then used the drawings to create her final installation. This is an interactive piece since the individual pieces can be changed and moved to create an ever-evolving display.

Holly completed placements at J. Smith Esquire and Una Burke in London, The Hive, Shipley and The Art House, Wakefield. In 2013, She also took part in the 20:20 Print Exchange Hot Bed Press and she will be exhibiting her work at the Arch Window, gpstudio, London.

Multi-Media installation by Holly Birkinshaw

Multi-Media work by Holly Birkinshaw

I’ve shown you a little of the varied work produced by students following the multi-media textiles pathway. Somehow, when I visited the show to take photos, I missed out on the part of the exhibition where most of the multi-media students had their work displayed. So, please visit the Flair website to see more.

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