As a former teacher of arts and crafts, I love working with creatives who are just starting out. We've worked on many projects with Arts University Plymouth in recent years, having interns to help marketing, merchandising and making since I believe that nothing beats real 'on the job' experience. Last autumn we embarked on our most ambitious collaboration yet.
Creating A New Collection With Students
I wanted to give students on the BA Hons Textile Design course a live brief to design a new print that we could apply to our existing products. The idea would be to launch it in the autumn 2023.
Since my work has always been inspired by the flora and fauna of the Cornish countryside and coastline, students were encouraged to keep close to nature, while creating something new and exciting.
Using the natural inspiration of the local area, the students were asked to create a design that could be screen printed in a single colour, working with our existing linen fabric colours and onto a range of existing products. The design could be figurative or lean towards abstraction, but it must have its roots in nature and have a strong connection to the British countryside.
Collaborations Are So Rewarding
It was amazing to work with the textiles students and staff. I have a background in teaching and although I now run my own business, I sometimes miss the inspiration and fresh ideas that come from being surrounded by creatives. I love to collaborate with students and other creative businesses alongside my wonderful staff to keep the new ideas flowing!
Arts University Plymouth’s textiles degree seems to give a thorough grounding in design and different techniques. The students are always keen to supplement this with work experience, putting their ideas into practice. It’s been fun and inspiring to work with them on this live project.
The incentive for the successful student was to have their work featured in our journal and newsletter and on our social media pages. They would also benefit from a one week work experience opportunity to find out about all aspects of our business. They would be able to experience the entire manufacturing process, from print and cutting, to making and sales.
It was lovely to receive some feedback from Emma Gribble, subject leader for BA (Hons) Textile Design who said, “Industry led projects such as Helen Round’s play an essential role in the education of our textile design students, helping students develop their skills and creativity. Helen’s insights have been invaluable for our students. The British textile industry is a world leader in innovation and design, and it’s vital that students are exposed to the latest trends and developments, preparing them for a successful career in the industry.”
The Winning Design
Created by second year Boo Crispin, the winning design was both simple and flexible.
Boo demonstrated a good understanding of our brand and came up with a range of simple designs from which we chose a leaf pattern design that met the brief perfectly. She was also open to challenge and has worked with us to modify her original designs as our plans evolved during the the project.
We are super excited to launch Boo’s design repeating on our new rust-coloured linen across our product range.
We anticipate that the design will match the autumn winter season perfectly and we may translate the design to a spring colour too.
To see the full range of Boo's designs, click through to the Leaf Collection on our website.