Louise Towers was selected as one of just four winners of the international Surtex competition, ‘Designext 2017’. We caught up with her to find out more about studying BA (Hons) Printed Textiles & Surface Pattern Design at Leeds Arts University
Why did you choose to study at Leeds Arts University?
I chose to study at Leeds Arts University based upon the amazing facilities available to me; CAD suites, print room, laser cutting machines and digital fabric printers to name a few. Leeds was also one of the only universities which would provide me with a permanent studio desk space so I could really settle and have a devoted personal creative space to work in on a daily basis. The tutors on BA (Hons) Printed Textiles and Surface Pattern Design were incredibly welcoming and I got a real sense they would provide me with the best help necessary to develop as a practitioner.
What do you specialise in, and what are you working on at the moment?
I work across a range of materials within the Surface Pattern Design industry; producing work for interiors, fashion print and greetings cards. My drawing style is usually hyper realistic and I like imagery to have a lot of fine detailing. Throughout my time at Leeds I have developed a love for digital craft and now predominantly produce designs using software such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and ApS-Ethos (laser cutting).
My most recent module was designing a greetings cards range for men. The work combined detailed illustrations of birds of prey with humorous text to fit a very commercial target market.
How does the University help you to develop your practice?
My tutors are always around in studio to provide their expertise and guidance, along with providing regular allocated 1-1, 1-2 tutorials/crits. There are frequent workshops open to students to learn new skills within all the facilities at the University and my tutors especially are proactive in arranging sessions for us to sign up for. Having this help has been a great aid in making the most of my time and facilities at university.
Tutors on my course are also regularly telling us about competitions or live briefs so we can get our work out in industry - it is thanks to my tutors that I was aware of the Surtex competition. Along with this they arrange industry specialists to come in and chat to us about their practice so we get a wider sense of the surface design industry. We are able to ask these practitioners questions about their work/company, providing us with a vital insight in ways to develop.
What do you plan to do after University?
I am not yet sure what area of surface pattern design I wish to work within so I hope to gain experience in a variety of studios to see where my style is best suited. I have aspirations to set up my own design studio in the future however so I have more freedom when selecting themes and concepts for my work. I hope to travel while working to make global business links and I am very open to collaborations with other designers I meet.
What makes Leeds a good place to study?
The city is very welcoming and constantly provides students with fun opportunities both work related and for socialising. The city is full of students with the wide range of universities so close by, so the atmosphere is unlike anywhere I have lived before. It feels like everything is geared towards making life great for students and young people whereas we can often be looked over/bypassed in my experience of living in other areas of the UK.