Chelsea Textiles Degree Show 2015 Feature Five

We had the pleasure of attending Chelsea BA Show 2015. With so much innovative work it was hard to whittle it down to a feature 5 for the whole year group, but we’ve had a go! Here’s our feature five textiles students of 2015. Many thanks to them all for taking the time to explain their projects.

Judith Waters / Textile and Installation Artist


The installation 800 shoes focuses on the loss of 800 lives in the Mediterranean on a single day in April 2015. Judith felt driven to respond to this tragic event and used new materials and a much larger size to reflect the enormity of this tragedy. The piece is in two parts; a hand-made wooden container holding 800 shoes, sinking beneath the waves, and symbolising the crude transportation open to migrants; and an installation of hand-made yarn in the studio above. Judith also wrapped 100 shoes in white plastic, and attached them to ropes leading out of the container, to high-light the 100 children believed to have died. From the studio window, a viewer can see both works together: one an intimate view of 800 hand-made hand-twisted yarn; and through a crack in the window, the larger tragedy unfolding in the distance below.



Clara Louise Clarkeo / Textiles Print Designer 

The inspiration for my final collection comes from my dissertation; ‘Why Black Hair Matters -The Origins and Developments of Natural Black Hair’. The topics I discussed led me to expand my knowledge of Black hair culture and fashion.

Black hair consistently continues to fascinate others with its versatility and occasionally flamboyant hairstyles. This inquisitiveness has been recorded throughout history. In ancient Africa, hair symbolised a variety of traditional definitions within society, such as status, wealth, occupation and sex. These definitions have been watered down somewhat due to Westernisation. However, Black hair is still considered prestigious and many label it as ‘The Crown and Glory’.

My collection focuses on recreating African cloth from contemporary hairstyle patterns. My research began by focusing on J.D. Okhai Ojeikere’s 1968 photographer collection ‘Hairstyles’.Okhai’s work then directed me to develop my primary research and select several well-known hairstyles for my prints. These consisted of ‘Cornrow, Dreadlocks, Braids and Weave-on’. All four hairstyles are strongly associated with black culture. I also focused on different combs, past and present. These elements were the foundation for my prints and stitch patterns.

I chose to focus on menswear because of the rising popularity of men’s fashion. My garments are targeted at young men who aren’t afraid of colours and patterns and who appreciate African art and culture.

I present to you, The Crowning of Riah.

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Yusra Makhdoomi / Textiles Print Designer 

My graduate collection explores the idea of negotiating between notions of tradition and modernity. Titled ‘Striking a Balance’, it is inspired by a collection of my family’s old photographs, focusing on the traditional interior and domestic spaces within them. I wanted to detach them from their personal and sentimental value so I chose to abstract them through  different collage processes, allowing me focus on form, shape and colour. Culminating in a series of large scale textile collages, I have combined screen printed fabrics, embellishment, bonded surfaces and oversized digital prints along with unusual digital embroideries to create different colour and material stories.

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Kristen Flora / Textiles Stitch Designer 

My inspiration is come from the bible story of Genesis. “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7) It said, a man was made from the dust of the ground and with a breath of life, the man became a living being. When are dead, we will be buried into the ground. It is like a cycle of life, everything is started from the ground and ended back to the ground. My aim is to create textile from the food that is grown from the ground and finally being  bio-degraded.

I started with apple, cucumber, egg plants to work with. However, I thought I was just transforming into something that food shouldn’t be, then I started with the food wastage. Melon skins were discovered by surprise and it became my main material. Since I have decided to use melons’ skins as my main material, I have started to collect melons’ wastage from juice store in Brick Lane in Sundays morning. And I have realised that a day of selling, lots of wastage is created by making fruit juice and pots. I could imagine all the supermarkets and juice producers, which are selling fruit pots, smoothies, juices, have left tons of useful materials behind everyday. If I could continue this project, I would like to develop the melons’ skin material for proper usage, instead of sculptures only. I think melons’ skin has potentials to develop into a sustainable material for accessories use.
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Qinrun Yu / Textiles Stitch Designer 

My idea is to visualize and materialize the sound through smashing things and catching the moment of transformation.It is an in-between state where rest and motion can exist together.

In order to show the movement of splashing,I did lots of experiments with various materials.After that,I found the combination between wire and glass wax can illustrate the movement and energy from the instant of splintering.My based fabric,made by the knitted wire,can be easily manipulated into a sculpture and irregular shape.By taking the advantage of the lightness and transparency of glass wax,the knitted wire mesh change from the flexible material to a solid sculpture.