As part of our One Year On series, we caught up with BA Textile Design alumni Liisa Chisholm who tells us about her recent exhibition in Tokyo and the satisfaction of finding her way in the real world while maintaining her practice.

What have you been up to since you graduated?

I had a solo exhibition in Tokyo, PLAY, which was installed in April. I’ve been lucky enough to bring it home to London as well, and it’s up at the Hoxton Cabin (132 Kingsland Road, E2 8DP) until 20 July 2017 if anyone feels like stopping by. Alongside this, I’ve released a few enamel pins, long sleeve t-shirts, and socks throughout the year.
To keep life and personal projects running, I’ve worked a few different day jobs. I spent the first 6 months after graduating as an assistant childrenswear print designer at Stella McCartney Kids. We completed the SS18 collection while I was there, and I’m excited to see it drop next spring… it’ll be really cool to see my work in a luxury context! It was a really good learning experience but I struggled with long weekday hours, so I’m super grateful I made the jump to freelance. I’m now working at Design Union, a print design studio that sells designs to brands all over the world. The team is lovely, we have creative freedom, and the studio dog is the cherry on top!

Tell us about your practice, how has it developed since graduating?

Since graduating, I’ve had way less time to work on personal projects, but it’s been really satisfying finding my feet in the real world – it makes completing personal work that much more gratifying. I’ve invested a lot of energy trying to create a balance between funding my life in London and feeling good about where I’m at, but I’m finally starting to feel a bit more stable. I hope things will only keep getting better in the coming year!

Image provided by Liisa Chisholm

What are you currently working on?

I have a show coming up in October at Daily Goods (36 Camberwell Church Street) with Aysha Tengiz (@ayshatengiz) and Caitlin McCarthy (@c8erz) so I’m starting to think about bits for that. We’ve got some fun things planned and Daily Goods is my favourite place to get caffeinated, so I’m really looking forward to it!

I’m also working on a ceramics collaboration with CORD (@co_rd), and trying to get a bunch of print design work done in time for Premiere Vision, a textiles trade show in Paris that takes place in September. It’s a really big show for Design Union so that’s keeping me busy over the summer months!

Right now I’m taking a few weeks to work from home in Canada, sinking in a good bit of family time. I function well when my work schedule is fitted around playing in the mountains and skating, so I’m grateful to have a few weeks of recovery time before I head back to the London slog.

What have been your greatest achievements since graduating from Chelsea?

I’m mostly proud to have survived this year. I’ve taken a fair few leaps of faith and lived through an awful bout of glandular fever/mono – pulling through the tough months and learning to accept care from others, as well as when I need to put myself first, has been the hardest thing, but also the most important to carry forward with me in life. Completing a bit of work I feel really proud of alongside this is a nice bonus!

Image provided by Liisa Chisholm

Image provided by Liisa Chisholm

What are your future plans?

To keep spending as much time as possible working on projects I feel good about with people I love. To keep myself healthy, to find somewhere stable to live (moving 3 times in 12 months doesn’t feel good when you’re a hoarder like I am), and to stay open minded and adventurous!

Tell us about your time at Chelsea, what do you miss? What did you enjoy the most?

I miss being able to dedicate every single day to experimenting and making, having time is such a luxury! I miss having a kiln to play with too, and a space to expose screens and print.

What is the most important thing you learned on the course?

To chase down what excites me, and to keep reworking stuff until it feels good all the way down. I also learned how to stand up for what I wanted to do, how to selectively listen to criticism from others so that it helped me develop, and slowly how to put my stubbornness to good use.

What advice would you give to our students who are about to graduate?

Send emails, ask questions, and take leaps. Nothing good comes out of sitting still and the worst that someone can say is no, but there’s no benefit to not taking risks!

Check out more of Liisa’s work

Check out Liisa’s degree show work on our degree show website

Find out more about BA Textile Design