Friday, 10 July 2009

New Designers

On Monday & Tuesday this week I helped my Bradford students/graduates put their work up at New Designers (graduate design show, London). I was really proud of how good our stand looked and was pleased, if surprised at how the work stood out from much of the other stands. We all noticed the amount of textile and surface design that seemed very similar; loads of hyperactive digital print, clashing colour and intense (if rather flat) all-over patterning. There was very little that stood out as different from the crowd and hardly any interesting embroidery. Perhaps I am getting jaded?

This made me consider a few points:
  1. I think I am bored of heavy patterning, and I think perhaps trends may start to reflect on the over-saturation of pattern in recent years.
  2. I have noticed I have less respect for work that seems hastily rushed off on digital printers and basic multi-head embroidery. I want to see some real craft/skill.
  3. I enjoy tactile, layered pieces that don't reveal everything all at once.
I think all of these points are feeding into thoughts for my own practice; what is really important for me?


  1. I am going to New Designers tommorrow and am slightly apprehensive as last year there was a distinct lack of hand embroidery and I fear it is getting worse. This age old skill needs to be preserved, how do we do it?

  2. I was lucky enough to spend three days here and did see some very beautiful and sensitive stitch work, although it was well hidden, I might add. I do agree about the mass digital wallpapers that were not supported by good mark making, rather clever computers and very bad colour.
    Lynn x

  3. I suppose before we ask how can we preserve it, we should ask why should we preserve it? I have a natural desire to preserve hand embroidery skils but I think we should consider what the possible benefits are to society in the future. An interesting subject!

    As a matter of interest one of the other MA students is currently doing a project around reviving stitch skills in primary school age children. So if anyone is interested in this project I could pass on your details.

  4. I'm glad to hear there was more, sensitive embroidery hidden away. I must admit I didn't get to look around as thoroughly as in previous years, so that is probably why I missed it.

    I suppose what I really want to say is that I would like to see more balance, variety and creativity on show, and less reliance on whatever is the latest technology. However I know that exhibiting at a big event like this is about grabbing attention. Perhaps we will see a bit of a change next year?

  5. As one of Hannah's students, we did get very positive comments about our stand, about the diversity of work and the fact that you could see the skill and drawing behind the designs. I felt apprehensive that our stand was too different at the time, but now I am glad that at Bradford we are allowed to be ourselves in our work and I think this was appreciated by others at New Designers.



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