I have officially completed my Foundation Textiles diploma at Morley College! This academic year has absolutely whizzed by and I can’t believe that yesterday was the last day. I feel like I have learnt so much, not only from the tutors but also by being in a group of like-minded individuals who are all there for the same reasons as me.
As you know I am a big fan of textiles as an art form and enjoy learning as many new skills and techniques as possible. My original goal in signing up for the course was not only to learn new techniques but also to formalise my knowledge through learning about keeping a sketchbook, primary and secondary research, and most importantly for me, design development and running a project end to end. I definitely feel that I have achieved this goal, but additionally I found a really welcoming and supportive community of textile fans to share my passion and ideas with.
The course was structured well, beginning with smaller projects and taster sessions in the first term where we covered a range of textile techniques such as weaving, felting, freehand embroidery with the sewing machine, sublimation printing, Shibori dyeing, and constructed textiles to name a few!
The second term went more in-depth in the subjects we covered. For the whole term we worked on a surface pattern project using screen-printing as the method to produce a design we had developed through drawing and research with the end result being a sample book showing a range of printed designs. Alongside this we also did half a term of machine knitting and half a term of conceptual headwear. I thought the machine knitting was brilliant! I had no idea how knitting machines worked, and had never even seen one before the first class, but Alex the tutor was so patient and encouraging and I loved using it so much I bought my own! The conceptual headwear was harder to wrap my head around and I missed the first session of that module due to Covid, so I felt a bit behind all the way through. With a bit of hard work and asking a lot of questions I eventually produced a headpiece to be proud of.
The final term was dedicated to our final major project. This was a project that we could set our own brief for and I found it very helpful writing the proposal of my project idea for the tutors. It was really good for clarifying what you wanted to focus on as I think there could have been a lot of potential to get sidetracked with other good ideas. I actually unknowingly started my project in the first term via some research I did for one of the smaller projects relating to sacred geometry. I decided to follow this theme through to the second term and in doing so developed the idea for my final project before we had even started the third term! My final piece explores the human relationship with nature and the human impulse to find patterns and meanings even in things that are seemingly random or chaotic. I wanted my work to tell a story in three sections. The top section is very textural and three-dimensional showing bountiful nature blooming chaotically. Moving down to the middle section the falling leaves are being turned into geometric shapes and ordered into a uniform pattern. The flatness of the screen-printing and the orderliness are representational of how humans interact with, utilise, and sometimes destroy nature for their own purposes. The final panel mirrors the top panel and shows that no matter how much humans want to control their environments, nature will always win out in the end.
At the end of the course we were able to hang our work in the Morley Gallery for a week long exhibition, which was very exciting! It was such a privilege to see something I had worked so hard on be hung up in a professional space alongside all my classmates work. We had a lovely private view on the opening evening where all our friends and family could come and celebrate our hard work with us.
I’m so pleased that I decided to do this course. I feel like I’ve gained so much from it and it has pushed me to further my textiles journey by taking up a degree in Textile Design at UAL Chelsea College of Arts, starting in September. I cannot wait to get started on this as I think it will open up even more ideas and opportunities. This will be my second degree and I’m interested to see what it will be like as I’ll be a mature student living at home with my husband, rather than an eighteen year old living in halls with my new friends! I’m sure I will have lots of updates on how it’s going once I get started, but in the meantime I now have an even bigger stack of crafts kits waiting for me down the studio than I usually do, so it’s going to be a big summer of crafting for me…watch this space!