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Categories: Fashion and Textiles, Postgraduate
My Journey After Graduation
After graduating with a First-Class BA (Hons) back in 2019, I decided to go onto study on a postgraduate programme, enrolling on the Universities PGCE (M) 14+ Art, Creative Practice and Performance programme. I really enjoyed this course as it allowed me to develop my teaching skills as well as getting hands on experience through a placement.
After graduating as teacher in spring 2020, I decided to set up as a freelance designer as well as look for a part time teaching job to run alongside this. Since setting up as freelancer I have had the opportunity to work on freelance design projects within industry, including some heritage projects, most recently with Touchstones Museum in Rochdale. I have also explored creating and selling my own product line, which I am now beginning to increase selling wholesale. I also have begun teaching in the 19+ sector which has been really great experience and allows me to share my knowledge and skills with learners wanting to develop their creative and knowledge of creative subjects such as Art and Textiles, which is something I am really passionate about.
Techniques and Processes explored whilst on the Programme
The Programme itself has a large range of facilities ranging from a wet textiles lab, embroidery lab and also a state-of-the-art computer suit with access to industry leading software and memberships including WGSN, Abode Suite and AVA CAD CAM. When applying to join the programme, this was a real selling point as I saw that it would allow me not only to create a portfolio that was to a professional quality but also develop my knowledge of a wide range of industry led / textile techniques and processes. The University also has a large library with a range of subject specific books and subscriptions to textile specific magazines, literature and online content. I found this to be extremely helpful when building my theoretical knowledge and understanding for the industry whilst studying on the programme.
Skills and experience
Within the programme I got to explore a range of techniques and processes including both traditional and contemporary processes of designing. Naturally I am quite experimental in my practice, however the course encouraged me to explore this more, allowing me to grow and build my creative skillset to develop my style and creative abilities. The close links with industry such as using WGSN and attending guest lecture talks, ensured that all work produce throughout the course was of a good standard, suitable for a range of industry markets.
Advice to future students looking to join the programme
Be organised, work hard and be committed. Doing a degree can be challenging at times but what you can achieve at the end can provide you with the skills and knowledge to help navigate where you aspire to be in your future. Don’t be afraid to explore and always remember to be true to yourself, one of your best qualities is being original.
Advantages of choosing Bolton as a University
One of the main advantages I found studying on the programme was the access we had to our tutors. Due to small class sizes, I could easily speak to my tutors and get 1:1 support as and when required. Lectures are always on hand to help and support you throughout the programme and I found this to be extremely helpful as well as supportive as it allowed me to develop my work and skill set in a confident way. All tutors are industry professionals and so you really are getting first-hand experience and insight to industry practice throughout the programme, which in turn helps you to work to a higher, more professional standard, which helps you prepare to work within industry upon graduation.
Opportunities during the Programme
One opportunity I had, which has continued to shape my practice as a designer ,was when I worked on a live project in collaboration with Bolton Museum and Archives. When working on this project I was in my second year of the programme and so had started to build my knowledge and was beginning to create a style and find my voice as a designer.
The brief required us to take a piece of artefacts from the Bolton Museum archives and develop this into an original piece for a national exhibition that was to be held at the museum as well as a product range that could be sold within their newly renovated shop. I enjoyed working on this project as I loved how I had the opportunity to bring history back to life through my work.This project is where I feel I really began to explore a whole new side to my practice, I really enjoyed developing a product line and created work that I felt really showcased my skills as the designer I wanted to be.
I was fortunate enough to be chosen to sell my product line within the Museum, it was a great experience working within industry as designer and creating work to sell which I had not done previously before. This experience continued to shape my way of working throughout my degree as well as into my professional practice as a designer. I now continue to work with Bolton museum, wholesaling my work as well as working with more heritage sites on similar projects. This type of work has become a big part of my practice and do not feel I would have ever got into it if I hadn’t of been pushed out of my comfort zone and had the opportunity to work on this live project.
Work for Exhibition and Sale
When setting up I decided to create a product range inspired by my Saltwaters and Terrains graduate collection which I reworked into a commercial product line. This includes products such as printed textile products as well as stationary items and original artwork which I currently sell wholesale and also via my website.
I was lucky enough to win the Manchester Craft Centre award for my graduating collection and was awarded the opportunity of hosting my own pop-up shop at the centre, which I opened in October 2020. This was a really good learning experience and opportunity to showcase my work after graduating.
A large part of my practice is my design work as freelancer, creating artwork and print design for textiles, stationery and interiors. This something I continue to develop and build on, as well as my work specialising in heritage projects. I am currently in the process of developing my practice more in these directions as well as slightly rebranding and working on some new collections of my own.
Plans for the Future
I am focused on the continual development of my practice as designer and excited to see where it goes over the next couple of years. I feel the last year has been a big learning curve and I am excited to develop my practice in new areas. I plan to continue to build my portfolio, working with clients and on more heritage projects as well as creating more of my own design collections. I am also looking forward to building my teaching experience and upcoming opportunities of leading more courses, sharing my passion and knowledge of creative practice with learners. I would love to begin developing my own workshops as well as delivering more guest speaker talks / workshops too new creatives as I love sharing my knowledge and experience about my specialism which I am so passionate about.
My Current Job Role as a Designer Maker and Educator
My job can be considered as a portfolio career as my role as a designer varies. As well as designing and developing my own collections, I also work on freelance with clients, designing original art, print design and working on design briefs. I also specialise in heritage projects collaborating with museums and heritage sites, translating archival collections and artefacts into bespoke original design work and product collections.
As well as working as a designer I am also a qualified teacher, recently graduating from doing the PGCE (M) 14+ in Art, Creative Practice and Performance programme at the University of Bolton. Since graduating I have secured a job as a teacher of the Arts within the 19+ sector. I also have led workshops, webinars and talks about my experience of being a designer and as well as the textiles and surface design industry, helping and supporting new creatives and those wanting to widen their knowledge.
Murron Fraser – Alumni - Designer/Maker and Educator - see my website.
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