Textile Design graduates celebrate Green Grads success

Three Textile Design graduates are celebrating their success at the second year of Green Grads, which took place as part of the Planted Design Show during the London Design Festival 2022 last month.

Recent graduates were invited by Green Grads to submit a portfolio with patterns that reflect their environmental concerns and love of the natural world, taking into account eco-friendly textiles, dyes, and methods of production.

The initial idea came from Barbara Chandler, award-winning design editor and founder of Green Grads, with the concept delivered by founder and CEO of Texintel Debbie McKeegan.

The three recent graduates who were selected as Green Grads were Jade Durling, who ran a ‘Make & Mend’ hub at the event, Rebekah Longland, who exhibited her Home-Grown Collection at the event and was Bronze Award winner in the ECO STORIES national textiles competition, and Naomi Cross, who was also highlighted as a runner-up in the ECO STORIES national textile competition.

Zoe Hillyard, Course Leader BA (Hons) Textile Design, said: ““It was exciting to see the range of creative planet-centred solutions presented by recent graduate designers and material scientists, within the dynamic Samsung KX environment during the London Design Festival. 

“This important not-for-profit initiative led by author Barbara Chandler, and TEXINTEL CEO Debbie McKeegan and the team is building a network of future-thinkers that the industry is eager to engage with. 

“We are thrilled our Textile Design graduates are contributing to this vital conversation with creative and emotive solutions that combine craftsmanship with circular-design principles.”

Alongside running the ‘Make & Mend’ hub, Jade Durling, from Solihull, also showcased ‘The Traces and Visibility of Life’, an exploration of urban environments expressed through stitched biomaterials, at the event.

They said: “Green Grads is a team of recent graduates who all tackle sustainable issues through their designs, stories, and ideas, in hopes to create change. The Green Grads exhibition showcased a variety of creatives, spanning from textile design to engineering, presenting, and tackling current eco-issues through their projects.

“The whole experience was wonderful; it was great to be surrounded by like-minded graduates all with sustainability at the core of their exhibited projects. It felt refreshing to learn more about issues of circular production, pollution, climate change and much more.

"It was also amazing to see the range of courses and to learn not only about the projects but the creatives behind the work. Being part of the Green Grads team made me feel incredibly hopeful for our future on this planet.

“I was selected to show my work at the show by Barbara Chandler finding my work via the New Designers website. She was drawn to my use of natural dyes and really wanted someone who could promote repair and mending as an informal workshop scenario during the event. Whilst I hadn’t had that much experience in teaching others, I felt as if this was an exciting step forward to take and to test what hosting my own workshops could be like.

“I am really proud of being selected for the Green Grads Event. I am also proud of how far I have come in my confidence surrounding my work and being able to communicate to others.”

Jade’s work is inspired by everyday surroundings and objects that are often left unnoticed.

They said: “My work is full of storytelling, educating and mindfulness. I like to work methodically by testing natural colours through threads and biomaterials, documenting, and recording down recipes so they can be shared as an educational tool.

“I also enjoy working freely with needle and thread, as this is when I feel most mindful and connected to my work. This is through my purposeful biomaterial generation, artistic pieces celebrating ‘imperfections’, and through my love for mending, darning and promoting repair.

“I am inspired by my everyday surroundings, surfaces and objects that are otherwise unnoticed, in which I document and transform the ‘imperfections’ into something aesthetically beautiful. “Recreating these scenes through a repair-narrative allows me to celebrate personal connections to the locations I choose and further highlight the importance of care.”

We will soon be able to enjoy Jade’s work once again, thanks to their involvement in preparing a textile panel for the Birmingham AIDS and HIV Memorial, which is set to be unveiled near the Birmingham Hippodrome in December.

Find out more about Green Grads here.