Top Scottish designers signed up to creative hub
A new creative hub which offers state-of-the-art studio and workshop space for fashion designers and visual artists in Scotland, is already attracting award winners through its doors.
Top Scottish artists including printmakers Orwell & Goode, textile designer Morag McPherson and Helen Hastings, a textile designer known for her felting techniques, are among those who are using the hub, known as Resource.
The creative hub is based at Heriot-Watt University’s School of Textiles and Design at the Scottish Borders campus in Galashiels.
It allows subscribers to use world-class facilities and equipment and gives them access to technical expertise from the school’s staff and industry partners.
Morag Macpherson, who has recently been commissioned to design fabrics for the interiors of several New York Hotels, said, “The digital print department at Heriot-Watt has offered me a great facility to produce short runs of my fabrics, working closely with the School’s print technician, Roger Spark. This recently enabled me to turn around some new designs on linen and rush them to a photo-shoot which resulted in a full page feature on my work in New York’s Interior Design magazine.”
Bronagh O’Kane of Orwell and Goode, who subscribed to Resource for help in launching a new interior range, said, “Resource helped us with our first digital print collection which launched at the Top Drawer Fair last September. We made various products like cushions, lampshades, pouffes and footstools with the new fabric. We won Best New Home Product award and received a letter from Scottish Parliament congratulating us on our success. Without the help of Resource we would not have got that collection there on time.”
Heriot-Watt University’s School of Textiles and Design in Galashiels is internationally recognised as a hub for innovation and research in textiles, fashion and design, with unrivalled facilities.
Fiona Waldron, Head of the School, said, “The hub is proving extremely useful to designers and artists as it allows them to develop their ideas by practicing on new materials, techniques and equipment which otherwise might not be available to them. We’re delighted that designers such as Morag MacPherson and Helen Hastings are benefiting from the supportive environment through informal peer and professional mentoring. It’s been a pleasure to watch top designers grow and develop their portfolios which, in the case of Orwell & Goode, led to an award.”
Resource, a partnership project between Scottish Borders Council’s Arts Development team and Heriot-Watt University, is supported by Creative Scotland andBordersCollege.
Orwell and Goode
Zuzana Gibb and Bronagh O’Kane met in 2008 on a screen printing course and quickly bonded following their passion for interiors. They are both influenced by pattern and colour and, living in the countryside and enjoying the big outdoors, the interior range they have evolved is quirky, references traditional folk-art themes, yet is strongly contemporary and bold.
They work from a printmaking studio in Berwickshire, balancing family life with running a busy, successful company producing everything from lampshades to cushions and art prints, from furniture to greetings cards – all carrying their trademark prints.
Based in the picturesque 'artists town' of Kirkcudbright in Dumfries and Galloway, Morag creates surface pattern inspired by art movements in history, urban and natural forms and different cultures. Her usually bold and colourful designs are digitally applied to natural linens, crisp cottons, pure silks, fine wools and most recently, wallpapers.
Morag has developed a growing collection of products showing her trademark prints, including cushions and wall-hangings for interiors; skirts, scarves and kimonos, for which she is currently receiving orders from all over the world.
Originally working as a graphic designer, Morag’s lifelong love of textiles inspired her to switch design discipline. Digital technology allows the use of an unlimited colour palette which she finds very liberating and inspirational.
A graduate of Edinburgh College of Art, Helen migrated from her original practice of ceramics towards textiles and now concentrates on her colourful works in felt. Her love of felt-making combines a tactile way of working with a very direct use of colour. Helen uses a wet-felting process, where soapy water and friction subtly blends merino and native breed fleece with other fibres, such as silk.
When Helen joined Resource, she took advantage of the Summer School at Heriot Watt School of Textiles and Design to learn screen-printing, a new skill to her, and also plans to extend her product range with some digitally printed scarves. Helen has embraced the essence of Resource – using the opportunity to acquire new textiles skills and access the university’s cutting-edge facilities to develop new ideas and introduce them into her practice and business
The School of Textiles and Design
The 18 month subscription to Resource allows the use of all technical facilities within the department from laser cutting, screen and digital print, weave and knit to a fully-equipped clothing workshop, Mac Lab and access to specialist technicians. Subscribers also benefit from a 50 per cent reduction in the rates payable for use of the facilities and technician time. A subscription to Resource can be made though the Scottish Borders Council.
The SoTD was established in 1883 to lead the textile industry in training and education. Its portfolio continues to evolve and reflect current and future developments in textiles, fashion and design. Today SoTD has a reputation as one of the world’s leading education and research institutions with specialist resources that are among the best in the world. Former students who have gone on to make their names in the textiles and fashion industry include William Chambers, Judy R Clark, Obscure Couture, Samantha McEwen of Isolated Heroes, and Jade Rodgers who now works with Victoria Beckham’s Ready to Wear production and development department in London.
About Heriot-Watt University
Heriot-Watt University specialises in science, technology, engineering, business and design, with a particular focus on developing solutions to critical global issues, such as climate change and energy.
Established in 1821, the university has campuses in Edinburgh, the Scottish Borders, Orkney and Dubai, and is investing £35 million in a new campus in Malaysia.