Graduate Showcase 2019/2020

Graduate Showcase 2019/2020

The Graduates chosen by the team for this year are:

  • Elli Bignell
  • Tabitha Buckley
  • Catriona Charlton
  • Elle Foreman
  • Rosie Gee
  • Alex Vincent Turner

Elli Bignell

Yellow 3D Floral by Elli BignellMy work focuses on combining digital embroidery and laser cutting with 3D hand embellishment skills for couture fashion and accessories. Often my design process and outcome is centred around colour, nature and culture. I derive my inspiration for these designs through the creation of hand paintings from my everyday surroundings, particularly in natural botanical florals and wildlife. These illustrative paintings are then translated into intricate and complex digital embroidery and hand embellishment designs with thoughtful consideration of colour, pattern and placement.

Hibiscus & Protea by Elli BignellMy interest in textiles and embroidery started when I was studying my GCSE’s while I was able to travel to visit relatives abroad in places such as Asia and New Zealand where I began to experience and see different textiles, art and fashion in different parts of the world. Throughout studying textiles at A-Level I became more specialised in free-machine embroidery and beading where I found my talent for being illustrative whether this was through stitch, beading or painting. This initially introduced me to the couture market which I explored thoroughly in my 3 years of university. I took part in advanced beading and embellishment workshops which included digital embroidery and laser cutting. I practiced thoroughly creating my own simple designs on the software and stitching this out until perfect. When I completely understood how to navigate the software, I began creating more complex and intricate files originated from my hand drawn paintings. Through developing all these skills over the years, I now combine them all to create designs for couture fashion and accessories.

In addition i am currently working on my website however my Instagram is @ellibdesigns. I would be pleased to accept questions from our junior embroiderers and textile artists about me or my work.

Elli recently exhibited with us at the Knitting & Stitching Shows in Alexandra Palace and Harrogate. Here are some of the things that Elli enjoyed most about her experience:

· A great opportunity to meet and have conversations with other talented designers

· Opportunity to sell my work

· Opportunity to do Market Research

Tabitha Buckley

I was incredibly honoured to be selected for the Embroiders Guild Graduate Showcase, especially as it was the Guild itself which first introduced me to the vast world of textiles!

In 2008, I was invited by a friend to join a Young Embroiders Guild group at my local Worthing branch. I remember, on the first Saturday of every month being presented with exciting new techniques such as free machine and hand embroidery.

Beaded cuff by Tabitha BuckleyI studied Textile Design at A level before furthering my studies at Falmouth University, as it is ranked highly for the Arts and is such an inspiring location to study. With strong links to industry contacts I interned for leading companies such as Jenny King Embroidery, which sparked my love for the Irish Embroidery machine, Uzma Bozai; an artisan international womenswear brand, and dabbled in childrenswear at the Cornish based company Frugi. Whilst studying for my Degree, I was fortunate to receive sponsorship from international thread company Madeira, which enabled me to incorporate heavy embellishment.For my final graduate collection, I took direct inspiration from the rugged Cornish landscape, combining brass metal work and smart textiles with traditional techniques to create contemporary jewellery and adornment style pieces.

Embroidered flowers by Tabitha BuckleyI hope to continue to combine my passion for both Textiles and Business Studies through creating my own freelance work which I look forward to launching at the Knitting & Stitching shows as part of the graduate showcase.

My Instagram and email: @tabithatextiles
Linked IN:

Tabitha recently exhbited with us at the Knitting and Stitching Shows in Alexandra Palace and Harrogate. Here are some of the things that Tabitha enjoyed most about her experience:

· The KSS gave me the confidence to start my own creative business

· Having my own stand at both shows gave me the opportunity to gain positive feedback as well as a place to trial selling my own designs

· I have learned so much about presentation, pricing and engaging with the general public

· I am now seeking help from The Princes Trust and hope to grow my business

· Really encouraging feedback- many people interested in process, materials of graduate collection

· Arnolds Attic and Stitch Magazine Interview

· I appreciate the exposure as an emerging Graduate Designer and it has definitely enhanced my graduate prospects-being able to state on my C.V. and at interviews, that I showcased my work at KSS

· Offers of workshops/talks and commissions

Catriona Charlton

Costume by Catriona CharltonI’m Catriona Charlton, I’m twenty three and I have just graduated from the University of Huddersfield with a degree in Costume with Textiles.

The work I am displaying is a selection from my final major project at university. In the last year of my course we had complete control over the project brief we set ourselves, and the text we could choose to design and make for. I chose the teen fantasy fiction novel ‘Daughter of Smoke and Bone’ by Laini Taylor. Set predominantly in Prague and Marrakesh, these two cities gave me a mass of architecture, traditional clothing, textiles and colour with which to take inspiration for my characters’ costumes.

I was introduced to sewing by my mum and gran at a young age, and then I began attending my local Young Embroiderers' group when I was ten. With the group I went on a trip to the costume department at Scottish Opera in Glasgow where I got to see their massive store room full of costumes. Looking back now, I know that that was the defining moment for me when I realised that costume making and designing was a ‘thing’. I had always been interested in sewing, art and fashion but hadn’t considered costume before. From there I tried to get as much experience in costume/wardrobe work as I could by volunteering to help mend costumes or assist backstage at local theatre companies and performances. I sent a lot of speculative emails which I did not get a reply to, but I didn’t’ lose hope – polite persistence will get you places so I just keep trying!

Catriona Charlton CostumeWhen it came to the time for me to decide where to study, I did a lot of research into the different courses which covered costumes in lots of different formats. I realised that the ones I was most interested in were in England, not Scotland, and some required me to have completed a one year Foundation year at college. I went to Cardonald College and attended their Advanced Portfolio Preparation course, where I covered lots of creative mediums such as sculpture, photography and still life drawing as well as textiles and sewing. Although I knew I wanted to study costume at university, I feel that my year at college taught me a lot about independent study within a creative subject which I did not learn about in school. After the course I applied to both Wimbledon College of Art and the University of Huddersfield, both of which accepted me but I chose Huddersfield in the end. Their modern, spacious facilities won me over and also their inclusion of a textiles pathway in the course. This meant I could further explore my love for embroidery, within my major love for costume. That was what sealed the deal!

The course also offered a placement year as part of the four year course, where students take the whole of their third year out to work in the industry. I felt this would be a huge plus to me as I would graduate with a full years’ experience under my belt and more importantly, on my CV.

I’d be completely happy for anyone to contact me with questions about my work, my path to getting to where I am today, or how to get into costume!

Additional information:

Instagram: @catrionacharltonfreelance
Facebook Catriona Charlton Freelance

Catriona recently exhibited with us at the Knitting and Stitching Shows in Alexandra Palace and Harrogate. Here are some of the things that Catriona enjoyed most about her experience:

· I felt that it really built my confidence around my work, and how I speak to people and engage with others about it

· Meeting the other graduates and the public, who were interested in different aspects of my work and had their own work to tell me about, really inspired me and sparked ideas for future projects which I am now starting

· It gave me a lot to think about in terms of where potentially I see my career going and also reminded me how important it is to keep producing work after graduating

· I met the lady who owns Cool Bathing (Karen McPherson), a funky swim cap company. I enjoyed speaking to her about how she uses old swim caps to create art in so many different ways. She has sent me some of the caps in great colours and I will be using these to create something textile based which I am also really excited about!

· Met Catherine from Arnold's Attic who filmed me, the other graduates and artists who had exhibitions in London to make short YouTube videos of us about our work. The filming was another test on how to speak about my work succinctly to an audience in a good way. I feel the video added another layer to my engagement on social media - which is important to me for getting work - because it breaks the barrier between me and those looking at my work online

Elle Foreman

'Transient Perfection’

Cornely Applique Elle ForemanI have just graduated from Nottingham Trent University and am lucky enough to have a little studio at home where I plan to continue designing sustainably, using up-cycled materials. I create a range of paintings and embroidered homeware products to sell at different markets around the UK and hopefully online. The ultimate dream would be to have my own shop selling my unique products and artwork and that of other designers.

Show Cushions Elle ForemanThere is something remarkable about the incomplete and damaged. I explore the beauty of uneven surfaces, natural and man-made, using found
fabrics to create my interiors collection. Showing that what is often defined as waste can be transformed through the process of up-cycling, I have created unique and personal designs for the home. My designs are fuelled by large scale, fast paced, expressive lines and bold mark-making, working with smudging, cracking, soft and hard. I use a combination of chain stitch, hand-embroidery and a braiding foot to create detail and bolder techniques such as tufting, moss stitch, hand-printing and applique. I also use contrasting, playful, vibrant colours alongside muted, earthy neutrals to create my unique designs.


Elle recently exhibited with us at the Knitting and Stitching Shows in Alexandra Palace and Harrogate. Here are some of the things that Elle enjoyed most about her experience:

· I sold a considerable amount of work

· It gave me the impetus to start my own business

· Talking to the public helped me to develop my work in new ways

· I have gained a large number of contacts

· The EG have been enormously supportive throughout

· I have really enjoyed and benefitted from meeting other young embroiderers who have encouraged me and helped me to make my work more saleable

· I received so much advice on Marketing, Presentation and Pricing

Rosie Gee

Rosie GeeRosie Gee is a couture embroidery specialist - classically trained in hand embroidery techniques such as Goldwork and Tambour beading. Inspired by beautifications in nature, Rosie’s work focuses on intricate detail and the quality of stitch to achieve her distinctive illustrative style.

The preservation of craftsmanship and the need to cherish technique and process is currently an important feature within Rosie’s fully hand embroidered collections therefore, technique forms an integral part of her work with silk shading and hand- crafted embellishments dominating the decoration of the surface.

Rosie recently exhibited with us at the Knitting and Stitching Shows in Alexandra Palace and Harrogate. Here are some of the things that Rosie enjoyed most about her experience:

· Commissions

· Bookings as a guest lecturer

· Bookings to teach workshops

· Opportunities to expose my work/name further in the textile industry

· Opportunity to sell work

· The exposure has helped me to develop my social media following

· My confidence has developed

· EG support and confidence in me has contributed greatly to my success so far

Alex Vincent Turner

Alex Vincent TurnerIn 2013, Alex was introduced to the extensive potential of textiles when studying an Extended Diploma in Art and Design at West Herts College. After he left college with a distinction, he went on to study Decorative Arts at Nottingham Trent University for two years before transferring to Textile Design and graduating with an Exceptional First in 2019.

Graduate collection

Alex’s graduate collection reflects on both sustainability and recent media coverage surrounding male identity. The collection finds its inspiration within the contrast of gendered imagery. The worn and weathered rugged masculinity and material in comparison with scenic pastel painterly textures, warm, earthy hues and floral colours. Pansy looks at concepts of masculinity and answers the need to embrace the ‘feminine’ side of menswear.

We are in an age of extreme waste within the textile industry. 100 billion new garments are created from new fibres per year (BBC 2018) and as consumers we throw away £140 million worth of clothing per year (WRAP 2018). Pansy responds to this by repurposing the discarded yarn and fabrics destined for landfill creating a slow fashion menswear collection with exciting textured embroidery design. In part inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement as a response to fast fashion. Championing slow fashion and traditional textile techniques such as natural dyeing and hand embroidery.

PansyAfter graduating, Alex will be interning at Hand and Lock and seeking out more opportunities to learn. He will be continuing as a designer-maker creating textile jewellery, artwork and developing more slow fashion based work inspired by his final collection with hand embroidered preloved garments.

Nottingham Trent

Alex found Nottingham Trent a fantastic place to study textiles as cross disciplinary work is encouraged and the embroidery tutors were very supportive (60% of embroiderers managed to get firsts!). The emphasis it has on sustainability within the course is fantastic, as well as continuously being one of the top UK universities for environmental impact and sustainability.

Alex would love to be contacted by fellow artists and students about his work.

Alex recently exhibited with us at the Knitting and Stitching Shows in Alexandra Palace and Harrogate. Here are some of the things that Alex enjoyed most about his experience:

· Experience with Trade Shows

· Face to Face customer interaction

· Boost to my confidence

· Meeting like-minded designer makers

· Meeting ‘Makers’ who gave me good tips and ideas

· Several Commissions

· Sold a huge amount

· Meeting people who are interested in my workshops

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