Loughborough University Arts Degree Show 2019

Display of students' work at the Arts Degree Show, Loughborough University 2019

Arts Degree Show 2019

Recently I visited the Arts Degree Show at Loughborough University. During the Textiles: Innovation and Design degree, at Loughborough University, students learn both traditional hand processes and digital technologies. The degree show gives the final year students an opportunity to display the best of their work for public view.

Students follow one of the four specialist pathways in their second and third year. These are:

  • Integrated Digital Practice;
  • Multi-media Textiles;
  • Printed Textiles;
  • Woven Textiles.

I’m going to show you inspiring work by students from all four specialisms.

BA Textiles: Innovation and Design (Integrated Digital Practice)

Lucy Willis

Lucy explored the similarities between tropical botanical florals and underwater life when developing her womenswear fashion collection, ‘Rainforest of the Sea’. She used a variety of digital techniques including digital embroidery, digital print and laser cutting, as well as hand painting. I love the piece below, particularly the beautiful embellishment.

Lucy sold menswear designs in Primark (2018) and exhibited samples at Premiere Vision, Paris (2017 & 2019). She had placements at Camilla Frances Prints, and United Clothing  (2017–2018).

Display of multi-media textiles by Lucy Willis

Megan Hilliard

Megan’s interior collection, ‘El Jardin’, was inspired by the royal palaces and gardens of Seville. She aimed to emulate the uncontrollable processes of growth and decay using digital practice. And at the same time, she wanted to retain the organic quality of handcraft. She used digital embroidery, Jacquard weave, and laser cutting, as well as hand painting and screen-printing to create wall coverings, rugs, cushions, and upholstery fabrics.

I particularly love the leafy wall-hanging below.

Display of multi-media textiles by Megan Hilliard

BA Textiles: Innovation and Design (Multi-Media Textiles)

Ella Williams-Brown

Ella’s ‘Biophilia’ collection was inspired by the biophilia hypothesis which states that humans have an innate attraction to nature. This influenced the materials, techniques, and processes that she chose. Ella used sustainable materials, such as silk, wood, and bamboo. She tried new techniques in order to have a low environmental impact. Her final pieces feature a variety of textures in a tranquil colour palette.

I love the hammered copper piece together with the printed velvet cushion.

Ella exhibited work at Premiere Vision, Paris (2018) and also assisted at London Fashion Week (2017 & 2018). She had placements at Julien McDonald and Steven Tai.

Display of printed textiles by Ella Williams-Brown

Rebecca Henning-Lee

Rebecca’s ‘Play of Light’ collection was inspired by the play of light and shadow. She interpreted these ideas by creating three-dimensional pieces that feature repetition of geometric shapes. She created them from reclaimed materials and biodegradable fibres, using techniques such as cutting, printing, stitching, and weaving.

Rebecca gained third place for the Clothworker’s Foundation Award at the Bradford Textile Society Design Competition (2017). She also had placements at Amanda Kelly Ltd, Anne Kyyrö Quinn, Fusion CPH, and Suzie Turner Couture (2017–2018).

Display of multi-media textiles by Becky Henning-Lee

BA Textiles: Innovation and Design (Printed Textiles)

Emily Statham

Emily developed her interior collection, ‘Terra Australis’ after travelling up the east coast of Australia. Her main inspiration was the flora and fauna of the Daintree rainforest in Queensland. She developed her digital, jacquard, and screen-printed designs from her paintings and fine line illustrations.

I love how her designs look hand-drawn and the boldness of her colours.

Emily had designs launched by Marks & Spencer Home (2019) and sold designs internationally for Longina Phillips Designs (2018–2019). She also exhibited at Premiere Vision, Paris (2016 & 2019) and the Mall Gallery, London. She had placements at Designers Guild, Longina Phillips Designs, Marks & Spencer Home, Never Fully Dressed, and VM Fabrics Ltd (2017–2018).

Display of printed textiles by Emily Statham

Philippa Traynor

Philippa’s ‘British Bohemia’ collection was inspired by the works of the Bloomsbury group. She combined an eclectic mix of floras, textures, and geometrics to give her collection a fresh contemporary look. She used her drawings to create digital and screen-printed designs.

I particularly like the floral print on the chair in the photo below.

Philippa won first prize for Interior Printed Textile Design, Bradford Textile Society Design Competition. She also exhibited at Premiere Vision, Paris (2017) and the Charnwood Arts Exhibition at the Peepul Centre, Leicester (2016). She had a placement at Branded Clothing International (2017–2018).

Display of printed textiles by Philippa Traynor

BA Textiles: Innovation and Design (Woven Textiles)

Danielle Gee

I love the colour palette that Danielle has used for her interior collection, ‘Alluring Botanicals’. The overall effect is soft and calming. She has used linen and cotton to create interesting weave patterns.

Danielle exhibited at Premiere Vision, Paris (2017 & 2019). She had placements at TOFT and The Real Image (2017–2018).

Display of woven textiles by Danielle Gee

Holly Mitchell

The colour palette of Holly’s interior collection, ‘Cala Moli, was inspired by coastal sunsets on the north coast of Menorca. She using a variety of techniques including dip dyeing and hand painting woven fabrics, painting the warp before weaving, hand-weaving, and Jacquard-weaving to create a sophisticated, yet rustic range of interior fabrics.

I love the colours of the woven fabric on the left of the photo below, as well as the fringed piece in the centre.

Holly was a prize winner at Standfast and Barracks Print Competition (2019) as well as gaining second place in the regional competition for Colourists and Dyers (2019). She also exhibited at Premiere Vision, Paris (2017 & 2019). She had placements at Burberry, Designers Guild, Holland and Sherry, and Jenny Packham (2017–2018).

Display of woven textiles by Holly MItchell

Jade Kirk

Jade used her final project to develop ideas about designing to aid the preservation of the planet. She created her interior collection, ‘Everyday Biophilia’, using a variety of yarns, textures, and techniques. Her inspiration for the colour palette and textures of the fabrics in her was nature. She also used biodegradable and sustainable materials.

I thought the unusual textures in her weavings were fascinating: her display was beautifully done.

Jade gained a Commendation at the Bradford Textile Society Design Competition (2017) and won the John Mach Award from Loughborough University (2015). During her placement year, Jade sold designs internationally. She also curated an exhibition at Iveshead School (2018) and exhibited at the Peepul Centre, Leicester for the ‘My Textiles Story’ project. She had placements at Blooming Wild Flowers, Curious Magpie, Iveshead School, and Paul Vogel Design (2017–2018).

Display of woven textiles by Jade Kirk

Lydia Tagg

Lydia was inspired by the geometric lines of modern architecture when creating her ‘Structured Colour’ collection. Her colour pallet came from the flowers growing in her garden. I love how she used them to upholster vintage Ercol furniture, as well as for rugs and drapery.

Lydia has been nominated for ‘TexSelect’ (2019); The Worshipful Company of Weavers scholarship (2019) and the Stuart Hollander Award (2019). She also attended the ‘Making It in Textiles’ conference, Bradford (2018). She had placements at Bristol Weaving Mill, Dash & Miller, Jacqueline James, Margo Selby, and Omersa (2017–2018).

Display of woven textiles by Lydia Tagg

Final thoughts

I do knitting and crochet more than any other textile craft. However, I am inspired by textile work made using other techniques and different media.

At the degree show, each student has a small area in which to display their work. It’s always fascinating to see how each one creates a coherent display that is distinct from the others nearby. Many took inspiration from nature, in particular flowers and foliage. And, this year there was a big emphasis on sustainability, whether by using natural materials, reclaimed materials or zero waste processes.

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