Alice is graduating today from Chelsea College of Arts with a BA in Textile Design. We met up with Alice during the summer show to talk about her final project, memories from her time at Chelsea, and her future plans…
What made you choose Chelsea to study Textile Design?
I always wanted to come to London, I’m from a small town and London was this big exciting thing to me. I did my foundation year at Leeds college of Art, and I heard about Chelsea there. I was drawn to Chelsea because I’d heard that it was less commercial and more creative, and the print pathway was really broad. I also loved the campus; it’s really bright and friendly, and has a really nice feeling.
I really enjoyed the course, especially my final project. It was the most stressful time but also the most rewarding – I was absolutely exhausted by the end, but I also felt really proud of myself. When I was making the final collection, it was amazing to see it all come together and my vision come to life!
What are your best memories from the course?
One of the highlights of the course was going to Premiere Vision in Paris in second year. It’s a huge textile fair, and we had our own stall – it was great experience to show our pieces, and the cheap French wine was also great! This was one of many memories from Chelsea that was really enhanced by the amazing friends I’ve made on the course! Chelsea textiles has given me my best friends for life and I can’t thank it enough for that!
Another great thing is how supportive the staff are, particularly Margret and Harriet in the print room. They take so much time to help us and really have gone out of their way and taught me so much! I feel like they really do care about us and our work! The print tutors are also fantastic, supportive and genuinely lovely, they really support you in doing whatever direction you want to take weather that’s feathery chiffon gowns or stone sculptures!
The best thing about the course, and particularly final year is just being able to spend all your days doing what you love. Only just now leaving I realise how lucky I was to spend all that time in fantastic studios with great people printing until late and getting really excited about mixing endless beautiful colours in the dye lab. I probably spent 90% of my time here covered in glitter or pink dye! It’s been a dream and I’ll miss it terribly!
What aspects did you find difficult/challenging during your three years here at Chelsea?
When I started in first year I found it quite frustrating to be limited in the time I could use the facilities. But by the time I got to third year, and was given priority, I understood why it’s done this way. When I really needed to use the workshops I could.
If you are thinking about studying textile design at Chelsea you do have to be mindful that it’s a really expensive course to fund. When I first started and past students told us to expect to spend between £1000-3000 I didn’t believe them. I was convinced that I would do it for cheaper, but when it came down to it I realised that you have to spend to get what you want… I lived on cheese and crackers for a while to fund my silk velvet crop top!
I found it challenging to learn and master all the new techniques I learnt, but I love that kind of challenge! I find it really exciting, and the satisfaction at the end is so worth the struggle! One of the best feelings ever was finally holding my baby pink and turquoise colour devoreé fabric after three attempts, seeing something real that used to be just in your head is just the best!
What do you plan to do next?
I really Love London, it can be hard and scary sometimes, but I want to stay here after graduation. I’m working as a bingo caller in Streatham, but I’ve also been doing some freelance work as an assistant stylist for a few magazines, which I’m really enjoying. I have also worked as a costume trainee for a TV programme – my work is quite character based, and has a story behind it, so film, TV and theatre really appeals to me. I also hope to continue to developing my work with colour dye and print – I really love the practical side of things and making things by hand.