Overcoming lockdown challenges strengthens Textile Design student Ellie's skills

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Date: 16th Jul 2020

Completing her final major project at home due to the Coronavirus situation presented plenty of challenges for Textile Design student Ellie Lennard but she feels the experience has left her well equipped as she embarks on her career.

"I have been able to achieve my project goals whilst facing a lot of varied and unprecedented challenges," says Ellie, whose work was inspired by a summer trip to Barcelona and some of its familiar landmarks and attractions.

"This has strengthened my problem-solving skills and perseverance as a designer, which gives me a great sense of achievement."

Ellie is displaying her work at the 2020 Online Art and Design Show, which is open until the end of August, and told us all about her work and her aspirations for the future.

What is your work?

My final major project, 'Modernist Patchwork', is an exploration of how I can modernise the traditional patchwork technique. My sources of inspiration for this project were the works of Antoni Gaudi and Salvador Dali, as well as the architecture found in Barcelona city centre. Patchwork has long been a textile craft used to stitch together pieces of cloth of different designs, colours or textures.

With this project I intended to bring patchwork into the modern day through application of knitting techniques, in combination with screen and digital printing methods, as well as embroidery techniques.

Inspired by my journeys to Spanish destinations over the course of summer 2019 and visiting landmarks such as La Sagrada Familia and Park Güell, my practice will be heavily inspired by the composition and pattern found in the art and architecture that I found on my travels.

I designed the primarily for the fashion market, applying modernised patchwork techniques in single motif pattern and composition to inform my own practice, ultimately creating knitted fabrics which showcase the versatility of the modern-day patchworks I have created, by applying them to contemporary garments.Ellie Lennard workHow pleased are you with it?

Very pleased. I have been able to produce the majority of my seven-garment final line-up from my home studio during the Coronavirus pandemic, and I believe that I have been able to achieve my project goals while facing a lot of varied challenges. This has strengthened my problem solving skills and perseverance as a designer. This gives me a great sense of achievement.

Has it been difficult completing your work from home, and what particular challenges has this posed?

As a specialist in knitted textiles, transferring my practice to a home studio was initially challenging, as I had to get knitting equipment, such as machines, to my home studio, and adapt my work so that I could continue to construct my final garments.

One of the most significant changes I had to make was moving to a home setting which involved changing from using industrial knitting machine and linking machines, to domestic knitting machines, and finding alternative ways to construct my work as I no longer had access to some specialist equipment.

As a result of this, part of my final lineup involved recycling some of my development samples in order to construct final garments, as I could no longer produce these fabrics for garments. This helped the environment though as I had to consider my use of yarn and materials.

Another significant challenge I faced was submitting my work digitally for my final hand-in, as my digital skills were not the best beforehand and I had to develop these skills at home in order to be able to hand in my work and produce a digital portfolio.

Ellie Lennard's work
Why have you chosen to do the pieces(s) you're displaying?

I have always been interested in fashion, textiles, and art. I'm interested in bridging the gap between these subjects. Over the course of my degree studies I have developed a particular passion for collage, which has always been at the forefront of my projects. This project has been a way for me to expand upon my passions by combining knitwear, printed elements, and collage, whilst designing for a purpose. In this case, that purpose is for fashion, using an unconventional approach by collaging and combining different knitted and printed techniques and surfaces to create bib-like garments and accessories.

How excited are you about the future and which careers / areas of the industry do you intend to go in to?

I am very excited about stepping in to the industry to start my career! I am looking to go in to knitwear design and hope to find a job within a knitwear studio.

How have you benefited from studying at Bucks and what have been the most enjoyable parts of the course?

Studying at Bucks has allowed me to push myself through my studies with the support of the fantastic team of course tutors ad failities in the Red Shed studios. This has benefited my studies as I have been able to explore different areas within textile design and been able to specilaise with knitted textiles, with the help of the specialist knit tutors. With the support of my course leader I have become more confident in my work and my ability. The most enjoyable parts of the course have been working with my peers in workshops the tutors have arranged, attending seminars from external speakers, and using the facilities to develop my practical work.

See the 2020 Online Art and Design Show, here, follow the 2020 Art and Design Show on social media at #BucksShow20, and see more of Ellie's work on the Bucks website, here.

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