Tuesday, June 16, 2009

University for the Creative Arts Farnham Summer Show 2009

I went to view this annual exhibition at the University for the Creative Arts at Farnham. Work was being shown from all the 3rd year BA students, and included Fine Art, Interior Architecture & Design, Ceramics, Glass & Metalwork & Jewellery, and Textiles for Fashion & Interiors. It was the last category that I was particularly interested in because my daughter, Jo, was on that course and was exhibiting her work.

The Textile Design course combines print and weave. Textiles are designed for fashion, interiors, fine art and architectural contexts. It's a very innovative course that develops practical design and production skills with a strong business orientation.

It has been interesting to see how Jo's thinking, experience and skill have developed and improved over the three years. She's also enjoyed the course and has often talked enthusiastically about the other students. I was looking forward to meeting them and seeing some of their work. According to the tutors, they were a particularly good group.

And it showed in the exhibition. It was amazing. There was so much variety, so much creativity. Different types of printed and woven fabrics displayed in many different ways and intended for many different uses. There were final samples together with many of the research elements. Some of this was in sketch books, photos, and videos. So many stories were being told and ideas being explored. Two that stood out to me were the girl who designed her whole project around smoking and cancer ... producing fabrics that were beautiful but that held a powerful message ... and the girl who printed onto dissolvable fabric and then threw it into the sea. The material dissolved leaving the design on the water and the rocks until that too washed away. She captured all of this in photos and on video.

All the students were artists, who had chosen to work with textiles as their medium.

The other thing that struck me was how much mutual support, encouragment, challenge and praise there was amongst the Textiles students. Although they were all highly individual - as people and in the work they produced - they'd created a real studio environment. I was envious!

Jo's Project Aim was:

"To produce a collection of textile samples which will be used for menswear - playing on the contradictions between traditional and contemporary menswear and printed and constructed textiles; keeping an element of humour and surprise in my prints and fabrics.My collections demonstrate my varied influences such as tailoring, sportswear and streetwear. They fill a gap in men's everyday wardrobes for fashion forward clothes that are wearable in terms of design and also functional - protective, reversible, warm and comfortable."

(see some of her work at

I'm not at all biased, but her work was the best in the whole show. Obviously.

Much of the work from the Summer Show will be shown at New Designers in The Business Design Centre, Islington on 9th - 12th July. This is a commercial show where the best young designers from across the country exhibit their work and connect with industry professionals. For more info visit

A talented artistic daughter, takes after her father. Funny how even though I and my husband are both scientists ( I do like art and creating stuff ) and of our three children, our daughter is training to be a nurse, one son is off to uni this year to do car design and the other has no clue what to do but did well in his Art A levels and is thoroughly enjoying being a bike mechanic at the moment. So how come you managed to get someone to follow in your footsteps?

by the way I loved the last two pictures you created, I loved the combinations of colour and texture
Joanna ... my 3 children are all highly creative, in unique ways. I'm not sure it's anything I've done ... you'd probably have to ask them.

Thank you for the kind comments on the pictures.
MY SISTER KICKS ASS!!! whoop whoop!
Dad, I'm quite sure that you are the main reason all of us are creative - because we grew up in such a creative household and were free to play and explore things as we wanted. I could literally name numerous times we had fun and were challenged creatively at home.

Not that I'm biased either, but great post!
Wonderful stuff - congratulations to your daughter, and to her proud papa.

And I'm envious of the studio atmosphere too. I'm really longing for an art community lately - that's what I miss most about art school.
Claire ... she certainly does!

Jo ... it's the way I've always been so I don't always see it ... I just see the effects of it in you 3!

Angela ... environment and community are so important, aren't they? It's what I'm looking for too.
An art community. Now that is an idea. I would love to invite some artistic types out here to Latvia from time to time to see what synergy develops.
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