Work committments meant that I didn't get to see any of the shows this year, though I'm pleased to say that Manchester Metropolitan University - my old stomping ground - has their work online already. The course is structured a lot differently to when I was there years ago - then you had to choose at an early stage which discipline you wanted to study. I went for print ... I was happy about the drawing aspects, which I loved, but I always had a hankering for working with threads and yarns too. That seems to happen now. The course is called 'Textiles in Practice' and has a multi-media approach from the very start. Three sets of work caught my eye from this year. I've borrowed some images and artist statements for criticism and review only, from the MMU website, and hope that this post encourages more visits to the website or to the actual shows.
Ruth Murray says: 'My work explores the relationship between the drawn, printed and stitched mark. Using a range of textile processes, I have created embellished fashion fabrics for a scarf collection. These evolve from drawings which were translated onto fabric using a combination of hand and digital print. Embroidery further enhances the surface with freely flowing marks sewn on the Cornelly machines. Abstract designs convey the energy of the coastal landscape through marks observed within the space. I was drawn to contrasting textures and the relentless motion of the waves and tide. My work involves an intriguing juxtaposition of inspiration: vibrant colours extracted from aquatic life reveal a hidden world of colour beneath the water’s surface. I also studied rocks and shells collected from the beach and the specimens at Manchester Museum. Extracting their intricate details and surface patterns, I sought to display a world of beauty, wonder and curiosity.'
I was attracted to the drawn qualities of Ruth's work on the delicate backing fabric, further enhanced by stitch. The colour combinations are striking too.
Emily Otchie says: 'I have long been influenced by a fusion of cultural influences, whose vibrancy is reflected in my work. As a result, my work is always one to stand out from the crowd, with my fearless use of bold and vibrant colour and eccentric style. With family from both Ghana and the U.K., I am drawn to contrasting themes which explore the range and diversity of cultures that live side-by-side in modern society. This has been the driving force throughout previous projects and has carried through to my graduate collection. My collection explores the juxtaposition between modern urban life and traditional tribal textiles, fusing bold colours, patterns and embellishment with urban garment silhouettes. I am most excited about exploring the range of possibilities that can be created by pushing the boundaries within knit techniques as well as traditional craft, giving knitwear a personality which exudes lots of energy and colour.'
The bold colour combinations and innovative use of knit make Emily's work a favourite with me.
Emma Ross says: 'I am a process led designer. By using a combination of hand-printed techniques, I produce contemporary print designs for fashion. Abstract shapes and ceramic sculpture have inspired my current collection. By constructing a collection out of ripped shaped templates each of my prints are unique. I use manual processes as a form of development. Inspired by my initial prints, I use the print room as my starting point, drawing from my prints and creating textural collages that reflect the same qualities. My work is mainly led by composition, colour proportion and texture, which is shown in my 3 dimensional drawings and playful sketchbook. I work with both translucent and opaque fabrics, showing innovation within a fashion context. The context of my work is varied; my prints work well in small-scale proportions suitable for underwear and swimwear, however my fabrics could work well as designer womenswear fashion fabrics.'
Emma's use of gold with sophisticated combinations of matt colours caught my eye, expecially as I've been experimenting myself with the use of gold leaf lately.
See more great work at http://degreeshow.mmu.ac.uk/