Title Image by Emily Hackett BA (Hons) Surface Pattern Graduate 2013

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Interview with Alix Webb - Surface Pattern Design Graduate of 2015

Todays interview is with recent graduate Alix Webb, see below for more info and ways to follow Alix online...

Alix Webb - Surface Pattern Design Graduate 2015

 
Alix with her Johnn Lewis Loves award at New Designers 2015

Follow Alix here
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alix-Webb-Design/480051615419560 

Why did you choose to study at Staffordshire University?

Staffordshire University offers such a diverse course which allows students to experiment with all aspects of surface decoration - which initially drew me to the course. I never knew there was such a niche that catered for any pattern on any surface; from greetings cards to fashion, interiors to accessories! The course offers so much in terms of facilities, tutor time and industry experience - It was impossible to say no! It was the best choice I made coming to Staffs, it's opened so many doors for me!


What’s been the best thing about studying Surface Pattern/Textile Surfaces at Staffordshire?

The best thing for me personally about studying Surface Pattern Design is the opportunities it has given me. Staffs has great links with industry which offer competitions, placements and prizes. Taking part in these live briefs with Industry led my work to become more commercial, and therefore boosted my prospects of getting a job after University. 


Knowing what you know now - what piece of advice would you give to yourself if you were about to start the course again?

Enjoy every minute, it goes way to quick! Trust that things will work out! Work hard but don't forget time to have fun! Getting a good body of work for your portfolio is key :)

Tell us about any successes or exciting things that happened to you whilst you were studying?

Well, I had an amazing three years at Staffs! I was lucky enough to win competitions and placements with Hallmark, Tigerprint and Next whilst at University, which helped develop my style! I set up my own surface pattern design business in my second year, supplying boutique shops with cards,and other paper goods! I also sold my work at lots of pop-up shops and craft fairs. It was great to get my foot in the door whilst at uni, i learnt all the tricks of the trade before I left. Whilst studying at Uni we also exhibited at New Designers. It was a whirlwind experience which led to lots of work from commercial companies. I also won one of the 'John Lewis loves' awards and came runner up in the Wilko's 'W'innovate' award! The biggest success was I graduated with a first class honours degree and seeing all the hard work pay off. 




What are your hopes/plans for the future?  

I have set myself up as a freelance designer and have a studio space in Chesterfield. I freelance for Asda kids home, Hallmark, Tigerprint, Mary Jones studio and other smaller companies, covering everything from interiors, fashion, accessories and cards! I'm super excited to be working closely with Asda Kids home- I have a range coming out! I also have freelance work in the future from John Lewis! It's been the most incredible experience, and I couldn't thank Staffordshire Uni enough for preparing me enough for setting my own business. They created the opportunity for me to have links with industry which took me through to standing on my own feet and making new contacts!



What would you say to a student who was thinking about studying Surface Pattern/Textile Surfaces?

Make the most of the time you have at university, it is the most important foundation for your career! You get out what you put in, so it's important you say yes yes yes to every opportunity! It's a fab course, great studio, amazing tutors, invaluable links with industry, the best facilities! I cannot recommend it enough. 

Alix being filmed for the John Lewis video at New Designers

Monday, 10 August 2015

Interview with Sarah Pearse - Surface Pattern Graduate 2015


Todays interview is with Sarah Pearse - who has recently graduated from BA Hons Surface Pattern Design


Sarah Pearse - Surface Pattern Graduate 2015

www.sarahjaninedesigns.uk  


Why did you choose to study at Staffordshire University?

To be honest, I kind of fell onto the course…I was originally thinking of studying Fine Art but I needed to do a foundation degree because I didn’t do A-Levels or a BTEC.  I chose to do the foundation course at Staffs and within the first few weeks it became apparent that I was far more suited to design rather than art.  I began to learn of the Surface Pattern course the Uni had, I had never heard of it before but designing patterns soon grabbed my attention. I had an interview and somehow got on the course.   I can now honestly say that this series of events have led to the best thing that has ever happened to me and I’m so glad I ended up at Staffs, the course is amazing and I’ve learnt so much and succeeded in ways I’d never dreamed of.

What’s been the best thing about studying Surface Pattern/Textile Surfaces at Staffordshire?

Where to start! The tutors are incredible and so talented, they bestow so much knowledge and wisdom upon you and you find yourself improving in leaps and bounds. The facilities are second to none, and the demonstrations are so informative, everything I could’ve dreamed of doing was a possibility and the technician, Sue, is so helpful and just seems to know everything! I loved the fact that we got our own desk space and access to the workshops from 8am-5pm, Monday-Friday, you could really immerse yourself and make the most out of each day.

Knowing what you know now - what piece of advice would you give to yourself if you were about to start the course again?

ENJOY VISUAL STUDIES MORE! I found Visual Studies difficult to become involved with, but now I’d give anything to have a whole day to just draw something! Although I didn’t overly enjoy it at the time, I found the skills we learnt invaluable and my drawing is of a far higher standard now because of it. Employers within the industry often comment that they always looks at our course’s work because of the standard of the drawing skills.


Tell us about any successes or exciting things that happened to you whilst you were studying?

I was offered an internship in Denmark in the summer of my second year, so I spent three months out there and at the end of it was offered a freelance position with them. So for my third year I was already working within the industry, which meant that by the time I graduated I was more employable as I had a years work experience under my belt. I have been offered an interview for another freelance position because of it.

I was also awarded a bursary for ‘innovative use of colour,’ by The Society of Dyers and Colourists, which helped tremendously when funding my final project.
I was awarded the William Painter prize by the university for travelling to Denmark, which helped me fund my trip.

I got a first! Something I would never have imagined. I was rubbish at school, I was lazy and I didn’t try hard, I just hated it. This course helped me realise that education can be enjoyable and that anyone can succeed if they are in the right place. “Fish are fascinating creatures, but if you judge it on it’s ability to climb a tree then it will live it’s whole life believing that it is stupid.”




What are your hopes/plans for the future?  And how did the Surface Pattern/Textile Surfaces course get you ready for this?

I will be setting up my own business, designing and making my own work. Whilst I am doing this, I will continue to freelance for Fusion so that I keep my foot in the door of the industry.
I also have plans to open studio spaces and workshop facilities of my own, that I would like to rent out to designer makers. I’d like to have a cafĂ© and a shop included within the premises, so that the designers could sell their work and we could run workshops for the public, as well as attracting people in to have a look around, with cake!


What would you say to a student who was thinking about studying Surface Pattern/Textile Surfaces?

DO IT! Like I said, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. There is not a typical ‘university handwriting,’ which means that you are free to take whichever route is right for you and you will receive support and guidance along the way. You don’t just gain the skills you need to become a great designer, but also have the opportunity to find out about being a good businessperson too. The knowledge that you will pick up will stay with you for life and help you to become the very best designer you can.



Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Interview with Hayley Murphy - Graduate of 2015

Continuing with our mini interview series, read on for Hayley Murphy's insight to studying on the Surface Pattern Design course...

Hayley Murphy - Surface Pattern Design Graduate 2015



Why did you choose to study at Staffordshire University?

      The facilities are exceptional, and this alongside the large amount of contact time you have with tutors, the potential for learning is unlimited
      Also the opportunity to work with such a large number of prestigious companies within the creative sectors provides even more opportunity to learn and progress.

What’s been the best thing about studying Surface Pattern at  Staffordshire?

      Being able to push my practice and skill particularly in the screen printing workshop
      Being given the option to make your own learning independent experience.

Knowing what you know now - what piece of advice would you give to yourself if you were about to start the course again?

      Be in the studio and workshop as much as physically possible, if your not, you can't learn from your tutors, your peers or the technicians and also try and develop your work as much as possible.  Don’t settle -  you can always do more!
-         



     Tell us about any successes or exciting things that happened to you whilst you were studying?

      Getting the recognition from companies on live briefs on producing good work

What are your hopes/plans for the future?  

To create and run a successful design business under my own brand mainly designing for wallpapers and fabrics for interiors.

What would you say to a student who was thinking about studying Surface Pattern/Textile Surfaces?

It will be the some of the most challenging but enjoyable 3 years of your creative career and you should take advantage of everything you can learn.

Hayley's degree show


Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Interview with Kate Jennings - Graduate of 2015

Over the summer we will be posting up mini interviews with this year's graduates, we've been asking them questions like, why did you choose this course? What piece of advice would you give yourself if you were to start the course again?

So if you want to find out more about our courses and them, then keep your eye out for our posts.


Kate Jennings - BA Hons Surface Pattern Design 2015

Follow the link to find out more about Kate
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kate-Jennings-Surface-Pattern-Designer-Artist/700696000048760


 

1.  Why did you choose to study at Staffordshire University?

I loved the atmosphere of the studio and the idea of having my own desk to store my work and use every day, something which I had seen was not available at a lot of Universities. It also had such amazing facilities of the print room and access to the sewing room etc. so I expected to learn so many different things over the three years… which I did!

2 .   What’s been the best thing about studying Surface Pattern/Textile Surfaces at    Staffordshire?

The amount of things we learn through the beginning making us such versatile designers but then towards the latter of the course, the tutors appreciate students’ individual style and you are encouraged to do what you’ve enjoyed in past projects.

3.      Knowing what you know now - what piece of advice would you give to yourself if you were about to start the course again?

Really make the most of every project from the beginning. Even if you don’t feel a project is going to be your cup of tea or suit your style, you can often surprise yourself and still learn a lot from it. Also always try to challenge yourself, especially at the beginning as it is important to really find a style that you love or a new innovative technique that makes you unique.

4.    Tell us about any successes or exciting things that happened to you whilst you were studying?

I did a project for childrenswear in which I really tried to challenge myself and attempt things out of my comfort zone, but the project didn’t go successfully for me and I was becoming frustrated that I didn’t feel I had a particular thing I was good at that made my style. In my next project I tried to stick to things I loved such as detailed painting and creating designs for interiors. I also pushed myself to use Photoshop which I previously had always steered away from and the outcome of this project was really successful. I felt like this was my turning point in my course and I really found myself and what I loved to do which was really exciting for me.

5.    What are your hopes/plans for the future?  And how did the Surface Pattern/Textile Surfaces course get you ready for this?

After graduating, I hope to initially get a job in an interiors company doing textile or wallpaper design. And maybe one day become freelance and sell my own designs to other companies. The surface pattern course has really got me ready for the future as we have learnt so many different things, we will be able to apply for a lot of different jobs based on our skills and what employers require. Also we have been taught crucial skills about job hunting and also creating our CVs and portfolios to be suitable for the design industry.

6. What would you say to a student who was thinking about studying Surface Pattern/Textile Surfaces?

If you know you want some sort of career in design but you’re not really sure what yet, Surface Pattern is definitely the course you should consider. You are taught so many different things and ways of working, everyone becomes very individual and you can work in any way you wish whether it be on textiles, ceramics or even graphic design. It is such a versatile course with lots of opportunities and potential for the future, I would definitely recommend it to anyone.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Interview with Jess Rowley - Graduate of 2015

This summer we are running a series of interviews with this years graduates - read on for Jess's thoughts on studying at Staffordshire University, hints and tips and what she hopes for next...

Jess Rowley - Surface Pattern Design Graduate 2015
https://twitter.com/jessrdesigns
https://www.facebook.com/jessicarowleydesigns




Why did you choose to study at Staffordshire University?

The University has wonderful facilities, dedicated staff and a great working atmosphere. I am lucky enough to be local to Stoke-on-Trent, so having all this on my doorstep was something I just couldn’t miss out on!

What’s been the best thing about studying Surface Pattern/Textile Surfaces at Staffordshire?

The best thing about the course has been the guidance the staff have provided, whether through one to one tutorials or technical skill demos, the amount of knowledge and support given has been amazing. Also being surrounded by talented, creative people has provided a wonderful atmosphere to work in. Taking part in competitions over the course has also been something I have loved. It has been a great way to prepare for work in the Industry by working to live briefs and helping to build a commercial portfolio.

Knowing what you know now - what piece of advice would you give to yourself if you were about to start the course again?

Believe in yourself and don’t be afraid to make mistakes; beautiful things can come from the most unlikely places!

Tell us about any successes or exciting things that happened to you whilst you were studying?

During my second year on the course, I won a runner up prize for my work produced during a Denby Ceramics competition.I also took part in multiple Pop-up shops which were ran by the Student Union, selling work that I had designed over the course. I have also recently been awarded with a 2 day placement to train at AVA CAD/CAM, after exhibiting my work with the University at New Designers 2015.

What are your hopes/plans for the future?  And how did the Surface Pattern/Textile Surfaces course get you ready for this?

I hope to launch my own business selling cards and giftware, which I am currently working on. I also hope to become a freelance designer and would love to see my work for sale in retail shops. The course has prepared me for this by encouraging my commercial style and teaching valuable skills that I will need to work in the Industry.  Also by including the Design Futures Project, I was given advice about how to set up your own business and how to promote yourself.

      What would you say to a student who was thinking about studying Surface      
      Pattern/Textile Surfaces?

      The course is great for helping you find yourself and your style, with wonderful staff and 

      facilities.    Providing various opportunities to take part live briefs and competitions;   
      there is no-where better to help prepare you to work in the Design Industry.


Detail of Jess's Interior Wallpaper Collection

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Wire Drawing with Marcus Steele

We were really pleased to have Marcus Steele back in the studio a few weeks ago, teaching our 3rd year students how to draw with wire....some great results. 





The students are currently developing these back into 2D drawings as well as some sculptural textiles.  You'll need to come to our degree show in June to see the results!

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

New Designers Update

So just in case you missed it on our Facebook pages, New Designers was an exciting time for our students, with lots of interest on the stand from many companies, including Tigerprint, Hallmark, John Lewis, Tescos, Nina Campbell and many more.

Graduate success included Caroline Hunter gaining the Sanderson Award


and Soma Doyle being awarded a place at the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in August


Well done to all our graduates who exhibited, we know you are all off to do great things.
Read more on the univesity web page here