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​HE Fashion&Textiles student interactive well-being project

Queens Drive campus student, Rachele Dickie, completed her first year on the HNC/D Fashion and Textiles programme this summer. Despite having to face the challenges of completing an end of year project in lockdown, Rachele actually managed to use it to her advantage.

Rachele was given the following brief to follow in order to produce a final end of year piece:

“You are part of a ‘Textile & Fashion Collective’ who have been approached by a major museum & gallery to design, make and exhibit a piece of work using any self-identified starting point linking to well-being. This could be a word, an existing collection or object in the museum. The exhibition may include any disciplines within your specialism.

Together, the items, objects and graphics, combined with the design and layout of the exhibition, should tell the story of how Textiles and Fashion promotes social well-being.”

Rachele explained that due to lock down, she had more time to enjoy walks and nature, which influenced her initial idea for the project.

She said: “I wanted to encourage children to connect to nature, as I found it helped my well-being. When I was a child, I loved bird watching with my granddad and it's something multi-generation families can enjoy together. I set my more individual brief to create a quilt with an interactive ‘i-spy’ element. The aim was to promote social well-being through textiles, through identifying species within the quilt and then identifying it in a garden or local park. I wanted the quilt to have a lot of elements to it, allowing the viewer to be absorbed and lost in the moment; I also included many well-being and feel good quotes within the quilt.”

Rachele began her project by drawing some birds on her iPad, which she had spotted near her house. At the same time she experimented with printing on fabric with stencils, woodblocks and lino cuts. She cut her own stencils from the drawings and over-dyed the fabrics, sticking to a colour scheme of blues, yellows and greens to be in-keeping with the nature theme.

She cut up all of the fabrics into 12x12 inch blocks and then further cut up half of these and reconstructed them. She was left with 36 squares in total for the front of the quilt. She then used gum Arabic transfer to print quotes on many of the blocks. This technique involves inking up black and white photocopies reversed, using gum Arabic as a resist, and using a press to print. She used transfer paper to iron on the digital bird drawings and created an i-spy postcard with bird images to accompany the quilt.

Once the fabric squares were complete, Rachele added wadding and a back piece, which were also all hand printed with the stencils and dyed. She quilted each square using 18 different free machine embroidery patterns and then stitched all the squares together and added bias binding around the edge; which is known as a ‘quilt as you go’ process.

Rachele shared her quilt with her local primary school in Purton, as she thought it could be a great activity to do in a school, incorporating nature finding or printing activity. She received some fantastic feedback from the school, they complimented Rachele’s work and felt that it would fit in really well with the curriculum and would definitely keep the children engaged. The school explained that Rachele’s project could be implemented into many areas of key stage one and two and they were keen to invite her to come in to present the project and work with the children.

Find out more about Rachele’s work by visiting Rachele Dickie Designs

HNC/HND Fashion and Textiles course information

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