Textile Design alumna wins major bursary award

A Textile Design alumna has been named the winner of the Quilters’ Guild Student Bursary Award.

Naomi Cross, who graduated from BCU just two months ago, won the award after exhibiting at this year’s Festival of Quilts, Europe's leading patchwork and quilting event hosted at the NEC in Birmingham.

The Quilters Guild Bursary of £1,000 is awarded to a final year BA graduate from a textiles-related course to further their textile studies. The award, which is selected by a panel of judges, aims to raise the profile of patchwork and quilting and the role of The Quilters' Guild.

Naomi said: “Exhibiting at the Festival of Quilts was both exciting yet scary. I felt privileged to be showcasing my work alongside hundreds of other extremely talented creatives. Speaking to hundreds of people at the exhibition was such an amazing experience and sharing my work with them whilst also getting to hear about lots of other people’s amazing work too was awesome.

“I feel honoured to be a winner of the Quilters’ Guild Student Bursary Award. To have my work recognised by such a prestigious organisation has given me such a boost in confidence and encouraged me to keep investigating the design practice that I have started to explore.

“The bursary, money aside, will bring me higher recognition and enable me to expand my network. Not only did my exhibition stand receive a higher footfall once I had won, but I also have the amazing opportunity to exhibit again next year, showcasing the progress I will make over these coming months and how I have used the bursary to develop my textile learning.

“The bursary itself will enable me to attend workshops, courses and even source materials that will serve to expand my textile knowledge and practice.”

When it came to choosing which university she would go to, and what course she would study, Naomi was keen to choose somewhere that felt like home. She said: “I chose to study Textile Design as I have always loved creating, making and being practical. Whilst I loved subjects like Psychology and History, I knew that I needed to do something that would further my love for design.

When I looked around lots of universities around the country to see what was on offer, Birmingham City University was the only one that felt like home! All the staff were so welcoming, kind and just lovely.”

Although the bursary award win will bring lots of success her way, Naomi is keen to do things her way, and in her own time. She said: “Since graduating, I am most proud of myself for recognising the need to stop and give myself time. In a world that pushes us to keep achieving and attaining for the next best thing in life, it is so important to take a step back, have some ‘me’ time, and allow myself to get ready for the career that I want to pursue.

“I think that getting the right balance between work, home, and myself is something that, whilst I have not yet perfected it, is essential for a happier, healthier life. In the long-term future, I want to be happy, free, and whole. I know that having a good job is important for security, income, and does contribute to happiness, self-happiness is much more important.”

The alumna also has advice to share with current Textile Design students and fellow alumni, encouraging them to take the time to find what they want to do next. She said: “My advice to current students is to take hold of every opportunity that comes your way. But also remember to take a step back, give yourself time, have fun, don’t take on too much.

“But most of all, just enjoy it and focus on finding something that you love to do in life.”

View more of Naomi’s work here.