This September, Chelsea College of Art, showed the best of their MA Textile Design students work. I went to visit the exhibition in the main gallery space next to the Tate Britain in London. It is a fantastic space for students working in different fields within Art and Design. I very much recommend our students to visit their shows in June and September, to get some inspiration and see what your contemporaries are up to.
From the students work, I have chosen a few with different approaches to textiles and from different specialities. Textile graduate Xinrue Wang, developed some exciting pieces, specialising in printed textiles. Responding to the challenge of over-consumption and too much waste, Xinrue seeks environmental sustainability. Her final collection takes inspiration from the photos of many of London’s markets. She started the project observing things that people left behind and translated these drawings and shots into fabric samples always referencing back to her initial starting point.
Through machine stitching, screen and digital printing, flocking, dyeing and other method she sought to extend the life duration of garments through innovative approaches. Various methods were combined to produce multi/layered textiles, starting from an environmentally sustainable foundation textile, upon which various patterns and materials can be applied according to the customer. Clothes duration of use, as well as their compatibility with each other, can be optimised through producing removable elements within the clothes.
Graduate Marta Terruzzi, developed a collection of zero waste tiles for home and public interiors. She states that ‘As humans, we are all producers and consumers of material’. The incredible amount of waste that we have to face today is the result of our contemporary culture that encourages disposal over repair and reuse.
Ceramic objects are usually handled with care, but what happen when our favourite bowl breaks apart? Have we ever thought about the end life cycle of ceramics? Most likely, the destination is the household bin and then a landfill. Her collection of ceramics is totally handmade and consists of a set of stoneware tiles, decorated with ceramic shards in three different colours, black, sea and wine. The shards are obtained by crushing previous glazed pieces that found no use in her studio. Each tile is different and unique. The tiles that she has produced, are made in fibreclay, a plastic modelling mix composed by a clay body and a percentage of processed cellulose. Taking advantage of its properties, hemp fibres holds clay minerals together, making the mix more versatile than conventional clay and reducing the energy involved in the firing procedures. Ceramics production can be emission intensive, but diverting from landfill and re-using ceramic products can reduce the environmental impact and gives us a chance to see that broken bowl transformed into a new product.
‘The Balance of Gender’, is the project title chosen by graduate student Suirong Chen, she explores the different status of femininity and masculinity by playing with the textile form and texture inspired by each feature. She aims to suggest a balanced condition where advantages can be gained in expressing both gender identities in their own way. She wants to show the consequence of the domination of completely feminine or masculine power. Her textile sculptures are the outcome of the different degree of domination of two gender identities.
The feminine form is inspired by the elements of nipple, vagina, womb and menses which are typical embodiments of femininity. With the masculine form she illustrates the phallus in the dual position to symbolise a male domination in sex and violence. The middle textile sculpture keeps the original character of the sustainable textile material, rose fibre and banana yarn using various knitting techniques making it harmonious to achieve the balance status.
The exhibition also showed the work of students in Fine Arts and other courses. I really recommend it for next year!
Also published on Medium.