Inspirational textiles: Multi-media textiles at the Arts Degree Show

Crocheted multi-media garment with many arms

Textiles: Innovation & design – multi-media

This is my last blog post about the Arts Degree Show at Loughborough University. I wrote about Woven and Printed textiles in previous blog posts. This time I’m going to show you inspirational work from the BA Textiles students specialising in multi-media textiles. Multi-media is the hardest textiles specialisation to describe. Students specialising in Multi-media textiles often use other materials, thus challenging the traditional notion of textiles. They combine a diverse range of techniques including print, stitch, ceramics, metalwork, 3D printing and laser processing to create their collections. Consequently, the work produced by Multi-media students is diverse ranging from commercial design to conceptual to fine-art pieces.

Chloe Tatted

Multi-media textile neckpiece

I really like Chloe’s dramatic and beautiful neckpiece. I imagine it worn over a little black dress, adding glamour and at the same time warmth.

Chloe’s collection is a dark interpretation of ornithology. She explored the fragility and resilience of a bird’s body by using a mixture of sturdy materials such as leather and transparent materials such as organza. She has used a range of traditional and contemporary techniques such as hand embroidery, beading and pleating to create her collection.

Chloe had a placement at Brides & Gowns (Derby).

Holly Obediah Jasper

Crocheted multi-media garment with many arms

Holly has created large, conceptual, crochet sculptures. She used her work to explore her own experiences with depression and anxiety, and the need of people with these conditions to be alone, as well as surrounded and supported by people. Holly used drawings of her own social network as a starting point, which she developed into a code that she used to create her crochet sculptures.

Megan Kings

Three hexagonal multi-media textile pieces

I’m probably showing my age here, but Megan’s installation pieces remind me of extremely colourful spirograph drawings.

Megan was inspired by fairgrounds, in particular the chaotic motion and saturated colour of various rides. Her pieces use surface pattern, embellishment, paper reliefs and concertinas to evoke the movement of Ferris wheels and their transition from static to dynamic.

Katie Baggott

Multi-media textile neckpiece

Katie’s “Optics” collection was inspired by a photographic accident which resulted in light trails. Then she deliberately took photos in which lights appear as smeared, delicate, sharp and crazy lines. She evokes this effect by using materials that have reflective, opaque and translucent qualities in a deep, rich and moody colour palette with flashes of vibrant and metallic hues. She has used traditional techniques such as embroidery, embellishment and felting, as well as CAD design techniques such as laser cutting and digital print.

Katie had placements at Anna Valentine, Pattern Textiles Ltd and Tatty Devine.

Eleanor Ann Ward

Collection of small circular patterned multi-media textiles

If you like crochet mandalas then you’ll love Eleanor‘s collection  “All the Colours in the Universe”.

Mandalas are Buddhist drawings that represent the universe; they are used to focus the mind. Eleanor has combined the colours and themes of the universe and astrology with graphic images of mandalas. Then she interpreted these images using different techniques such as crochet, embroidery and print.

Eleanor had placements at Rob Ryan (London), The Hat Box (Oxford) and Ruth Singer (Leicester).

Katie Bygrave

Collection of multi-media textiles

Katie was inspired by natural forms and cityscapes. She was interested in how what we see depends on our perspective – so she took photographs from unusual perspectives. She has used yarns made from unusual materials, such as paper, jersey and elastic, to create knitted textiles that have areas of solidity and transparency. So the samples appear different when seen at a distance and close-up. As well as hand and machine knit, Katie has used laser cut perspex.

A Few Thoughts about multi-media

As you can see from the work in this blogpost, multi-media work is interesting and varied because a wide range of materials and techniques is used. The finished pieces may be embellished textiles or pieces that do not resemble traditional textiles in any way. Consequently, multi-media textiles may be used for high-end fashion or decorative pieces or conceptual fine art.

I enjoy seeing techniques or materials used in unusual ways since this is often a starting point for new ideas:

  • What if I use a different yarn?
  • What if I add beads?
  • How about using embroidery on a knit fabric?
  • What if I allow a contrast lining to show through?

Of course, most knitted items have a purpose so need to be practical. However, I might develop a project for my therapeutic textiles groups in which we embroider over hand-dyed fabric; it’s fun to play from time to time!

You can see more examples of Multi-media textiles on a previous blogpost, A flair for multi-media, or the Arts Degree Show website.

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