Rhianne Butler

Rhianne Butler, University of Brighton Faculty of Arts

Textile Design for Fashion with Business Studies BA(Hons)

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

A Garden Party on Acid

Taking inspiration from a bright and colouful garden party. A Garden Party on Acid is psychedelic, full of sickly sweet colours such as pink, purple, yellow orange and turquoise. It is your Sunday best, when you wear candy striped cigarette trousers, tiers of frills and tangles of pearls and gold. It is grandma chic. It is a bold and fresh look. Something with a mix of bright and acid colours which make the eyes pop. The woven fabrics for this collection are bright tweeds infused with ribbon and wool, graphic florals in every colour mixed with birds and dainty mohair spots.

My background

I grew up in a small town in the West Midlands, where it was hard to be individual and creative. At sixteen I left school and was awarded a place on a two-year BTEC Fashion Design course and at eighteen I came to Brighton to pursue my passion for textiles. I always thought I wasn’t a weaver and that weave was just bad 1970’s carpets and rugs but after the rotation part of the course I realised that weaving was the form of textiles I felt most passionately about and made me want to show other people that it weave isn’t what they think it is and make them see what beautiful fabrics can be created and it makes me proud when I look at my work and this collection and the wove the fabrics myself and all the ideas are my own.

I chose Brighton because it was the furthest away from the world I lived in a home. In Brighton you can be individual and creative and be surrounded by people who feel the same and are as passionate as you are. The textiles course also has very well respected reputation and amazing tutors and technicians. What also made me want to come to Brighton was the year in industry offered on the course. It was a fantastic opportunity and a great way to get the name known and it also helped me work out what kind of career I would like after university.

During my time here I have gained so many amazing new skills and learnt how to be independent within my work and my own thinking. I have learnt to push boundaries and always do what I feel most passionately about

I have been incredibly lucky in being given a lot of financial support from the University of Brighton. I have been awarded bursaries for three years of study and I was this year awarded the Access to Leaning Fund, which has helped with the costs of my final year in many ways. But apart form the financial side I have always been able to talk to my tutors and student services if I have any problems in my work of my life and have been given a tremendous amount of support.

There is of course all the equipment that is available to for me to use in the weave department and other equipment in the textiles department in general too, which I have been shown how to operate and use the best of my advantage.

What would you say to anyone considering this course?

This course is a fantastic learning experience. Within your first year you learn how to weave, print and knit along with illustration and visual research lessons and with the business side of the course too. You are taught to think outside the box and push boundaries and be individual within your work. The year in industry in an amazing way to get your name know and to make an impression on the industry.

What has been your greatest challenge?

The final year of this course has been a challenge. At the beginning of the year I did not think I would make it too this point. The pressure was almost too much to handle at times and the work load did get on top of me at some points but there was always someone to talk to at the university. I’m so happy I overcame how I felt and I stayed and my collection has taken shape and gone the direction I always hoped it would and I believe that is down to the support I received from my tutors and the university.

After graduation:

I hope to apply for a MA in woven textiles at the Royal College of Art next year, which I hope will better my weave skills and give me a chance of one day having a career in trend forecasting for fashion and one day owning my own business which will either be involving my woven textiles skills or a trend predication company.

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