Laura Dean

Laura Dean, University of Brighton Faculty of Arts

Printed Textile Design with Business Studies BA(Hons)

What work are you exhibiting in the Graduate Show 2012 - Up and Beyond?

The House Beautiful

My work is derived from a collection of highly decorative and exotic jewellery, ornaments and objets d’art belonging to family members that date back to the Aesthetic Movement. I have used these objects to inspire a collection of prints that combine the luxurious with the decayed whilst retaining the elegance and decadence that epitomised this period.


My background

After studying art and textiles A-levels, I went on to do an art foundation course. I had decided to study printed textiles from a much younger age, but wanted to build a portfolio and experiment with different art subjects before starting a degree in print.

The main appeal of the Brighton course was the opportunity to work in industry for a year as no other universities offered this. The printing facilities and the reputation of the course for developing strong technical skills was very importatnt to me. I wanted to be able to produce print in a way that placed as much importance upon technical craft as design and aesthetics. The business studies appealed to me also, as I wanted to be prepared to go into a working environment with an understanding of the market and self promotion.

Each year has been very different: First year focused on experimentation with design and got rid of any preconceptions I had of what print was ‘supposed’ to be. Second year introduced the printing process and techniques alongside design, so for the first time I was able to see my work progress from paper design to printed cloth and finally into garment form.

My year in industry was invaluable and an enormous learning curve on every level. Although not always easy, I learned so many aspects of design, production, craft and the print and fashion industry. Without the year in industry the pressures and management of final year would have been much more of a struggle and I would not have furthered my technical skills.

Our print studio is open nine to five most days which is really important to me. We have access to a digital printer, computer facilities and can dip in and out of other course studios when necessary. Our tutor and technicians are nearly always on hand and we receive regular one to one and group tutorials which are essential and very beneficial.

What would you say to anyone considering this course?

To begin with an open mind and allow your style to progress naturally. Print can be used in so many forms and is a medium that really tunes your eye into composition and design, it isn’t just for clothes. I also think it is incredibly important to observe everything around you; fashion, art, other people’s work, but don’t be swayed by them too much.

What has been your greatest challenge?

I had a very tough placement which at the time was all consuming but with hindsight I can see how much I gained from it. Loosening up and having confidence in my own work is still an issue that I am working on.

After graduation:

I would still like to continue developing my screen-printing skills as there is a lot more I have to learn. I enjoy labor intensive hand craft such as drawing and embroidery, so if I could find a way to combine these with design then I would be very happy.

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