Shops and Skulls Inspire Unusual Fabrics

10 June 2010

Hannah Rawlings

BA (Hons) Textile Design course final year student Hannah Rawlings

Jenny Thompson

BA (Hons) Textile Design course final year student Jenny Thompson.

Bird skulls and an East Midlands shopping centre are among the unusual sources of inspiration for final year Textiles students at the University of Derby.

Colourful fabrics by students on the BA (Hons) Textile Design course are currently on display on the ground floor of the University's Arts, Design and Technology building, in Markeaton Street, Derby. The works are part of the annual Degree Shows, put on by students from a range of different subjects, which close on Sunday (June 13).

Jenny Thompson is among the students whose textile design work is on display.

Her earlier coursework, leading up to her Degree Show, was inspired by the architecture of the HighCross shopping centre, in her home town of Leicester.

Jenny, 22, said: "There is a walk-through from the John Lewis department store to the shopping centre itself which features a sort of crystal diamond pattern. I used that for some of my earlier work, as well as being inspired later by architecture in Paris and London."

Fellow textiles designer Hannah Rawlings mixes bird skulls and feathers - drawn and actual - in her fabric and wallpaper designs. The bird skulls used include duck, guinea fowl and crow.

Hannah, 21, from Shrewsbury, said: "I was aiming for something that looked elegant, even pretty, from a distance but had an impact when you got closer. For example, one of my prints might look like a butterfly from a distance but is actually two birds with intertwined beaks.

"With the real birds' skulls I made sure they were all ethically sourced from licensed traders. They are allowed to deal in the bones if the birds died from natural causes in the wild or were exterminated as pests."

On the strength of their work both Hannah and fellow textile designer Jenny Kipling, 22, of Chorley, Lancashire - who produces intricately woven fabrics for outdoor use - are set to take up work placements with a Welsh fabrics design company following the end of their degree course.

All three students were also honoured finalists in this year's Bradford Textile Society Design Competition, one of the most prestigious national contests for textile design.

John Angus, Director of Textile Studies at the University, said: "Textile Design can often be a long way from the traditional image of cosy soft furnishings. We expect our students to be innovative and draw their ideas from unusual sources, and this year's final year students have certainly done that."

For more information about the University of Derby's annual Degree Shows see website

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