The Royal College of Art’s annual showcase of graduating textile talent took place at the Kensington Gore building this summer. Fashion footwear and accessories were also displayed, creating a truly exciting and inspiring variety of work. ARTS THREAD highlights some favourites.
Print specialist Ying Wu’s darkly evocative textiles reveal a world where the environment has almost been destroyed. Ying makes her complex and imaginative scenarios decoratively beautiful in spite of her tragic projections of doom and disaster.
Olwen Walsh’s inventive and sensitive knitwear pieces were a highlight. Gossamer fine knitwear was contrasted with bold, knitted neckpieces creating a great combination of strength and fragility.
Also creating some beautifully delicate knitted textile pieces, Sophie Waterfield married these with needle-punched distressed details and fine chiffon pleats, for a nostalgic, luxurious collection.
Aku-Petteri Backstrom revealed quirky and highly distinctive mens footwear and accessories. Gutsy, chunky shapes in crafted matt leather evoked Victorian urchins and echoes of earlier functional footwear in this impressive exhibit.
Designer maker Alexandra Palmowski’s vibrant prints were complemented by examples of her home ware products including a great, fun textured chair.
Daring, sexy shapes and bold embellishment create a distinctive edge for Alvarez Gonzalez Bombin’s great shoes for women.
Carlo Volpi’s exuberant space celebrated the talents of ‘a man who knits’. Inspired by superheroes, Carlo’s marvelous use of colour and texture are evident in all his joyful pieces, as well as his clever use of various knitwear techniques.
We loved Emma Cowie’s inventive and complex mixed media pieces inspired by fishing folklore. Emma has created some amazing, artistic, and decorative pieces with a distinct theatrical, ceremonial air.
Also taking a theatrical stance, Hannah Truran’s arresting 3D pieces are created for “a futuristic warrior huntress.” Hannah’s engineered prints and sculptural forms move textiles into an ‘otherworldliness’ with her ‘hyper-real relics’.
Vivid printed and textured textiles from Joanna Burdett also caught our eye. Joanna has explored surface relief, developing bonding and dyeing techniques, which enhance her imaginative patterns. A great collaboration with fellow MA fashion designer Trine Hav Christensen was shown at the exhibition.
Weave was very strong at the show this year. Lisa Bloomer’s painterly approach to her craft, involves expert dyeing, printing and free-hand painting to create her beautiful bespoke fabrics for both fashion and interiors.
Maja Johansson showed her fabulously rich and imaginative woven textiles using rubber, wool and rabbit fur, aimed at the high-end womenswear market. Fellow weaver Umber Panezai also produced some wonderfully sumptuous textiles mixing embroidery with weave for dramatically decorative effects.
Lily Kamper’s original take on textiles has resulted in an exploration of many materials including leather and Perspex. Her bold contemporary accessories include imaginative, modern bags and neckpieces.
Finally PhD student Kirsten Scott’s beautiful and refreshingly modern millinery is created using plaited palm leaves made by the Eyesiga Mukama Craft Group in Uganda. Kirsten worked with the women workers to create a product which can be adapted to many end uses.