Anna-Maria moved from Freiburg in Germany to study MA Textile Design at Chelsea. Ahead of the MA Summer Show she takes time out to tell us about her work and plans for the future, which include setting up her own business reupholstering junk furniture with custom-made print designs.

Tell us about your work over the last year.

My concept and aims haven’t changed much since I applied for the course last year. They were to create digital print designs for furnishing fabrics. The way of implementing those ideas however has developed immensely. From the beginning of the course we were encouraged to collaborate with companies and professionals outside of the university environment, which I hadn’t experienced before, but was excited to do so!

I also enjoyed the thorough research we had to conduct before starting the creative process. I discovered new materials, technical innovations and started to look at competitors and future work opportunities. The biggest development in my work is in my personal design style. I was encouraged by the tutors to try out other painting techniques that I wouldn’t normally use and through this I discovered a wealth of new design ideas and inspiration.

Image supplied by Anna-Maria Pellegrini

Tell us about your work for the final show.

I will have 2 re-upholstered armchairs that I got from a furniture warehouse in Hackney covered in custom made digital print designs. These will sit alongside a group of scatter cushions which have placement embroidery on top of the print. The course puts a lot of emphasis on sustainable practice so in light of this I have used organic cotton and linen in my work.

What was your greatest challenge in working towards the MA show?

In terms of the making process it is very important for me to be able to undertake all of the steps by myself. So since February this year I have been doing an upholstery class at Shoreditch Design Rooms. Managing this and my design work at college was very exhausting, but I am so proud of myself for persevering with it and figuring out how to handle the 2 practices side by side.

Image supplied by Anna-Maria Pellegrini

What do you see yourself doing after you graduate, what are your career ambitions?

I definitely see myself having my own business one day – reupholstering junk furniture with custom-made print designs, and the sooner the better! However I know there is a long way to go, so I will continue expanding my skills in upholstery and applying for scholarships that support graduates with a studio space and business support. I would rather invest this time in building up my own identity than doing another job or internship for free.

What have you enjoyed most about studying at Chelsea?

The freedom and space we got to develop our skills and personal style both in the studio and workshops! Also when collaborating with companies, they were very happy to support us and give us insights into their practice. This has created valuable contacts and relationships for many students.

Image supplied by Anna-Maria Pellegrini

What have you most enjoyed about the area around Chelsea?

As a Chelsea student we got a free membership for Tate Britain, which is right next to the college. So whenever we had a bad, uncreative day we could just go next door and open our eyes to artists like Turner and Hockney.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about doing MA Textile Design at Chelsea? 

Be open to the input the tutors and your peers give you and actively network. A lot can happen in a year!

Check out Anna-Maria’s work on her instagram

Read more about MA Textile Design

Come to our MA Summer Show