Textile Designer Amy Worsley graduated in 2012 from BA (Hons) Printed Textiles & Surface Pattern Design.
When she finished her degree Amy took time to travel to India an experience that she says influences her work now as a print designer for Matalan.
You studied BA (Hons) Printed Textiles & Surface Pattern Design at the University, how did the course help to prepare you for your career?
The course was amazing and so relevant to what I do now. Essentially, I am creating surface pattern designs for a range of fabrics including bedding and curtains. All the skills I need in my work today I learned on my course. I learned how to use software such as Photoshop and Illustrator and learnt how to do repeats - for interiors and fashion. I also learned all the printing techniques that I use such as screen and digital printing. On top of that I also learned the importance of developing your drawing and the way in which you portray your work and convey your signature style. I definitely couldn’t do the job I do now without having gone to university.
What are the challenges of working in textiles in a commercial setting?
I love to be able to be totally creative so I can have my own individual style. The challenge is that we need to be ahead of the trends, so you obviously have to be ahead to be the best in the business – we are in competition with big high street brands which is great and really exciting, but sometimes it take a lot of planning. You always have to have your design head on wherever you go, as we draw influences from everywhere – whether that is nature or just an idea that comes up. For instance at weekends you don't zone out, you go and see an exhibition and look at what other designers are doing. It's always in the back of your mind – which is probably one of the best things about it – people around me are always getting dragged to exhibitions and things!
Your travels have had an influence on your designs now – what was the experience of travelling like for your career?
I went to India straight from university. I was working in a textile company there. When I got home I wanted to carry on and use my skills I‘d learnt in India in the industry. I was an export designer there. I was in India for 18 months and while I was working I travelled as much as possible. Textiles in India are just amazing - the colour and the patterns are stunning. It also helped that as an export designer I had to follow the UK trends and European trends – it was a great experience I would recommend it to anyone to get a placement abroad.
What advice do you have for current students, or anyone thinking about taking the course?
There are a few things that I think are vital. First off - do as much work experience as you can while you are studying. It’s what an employer is always looking for. Employers are always really interested in what you’ve done and love to hear about how it’s impacted on your designs. Secondly, I’d say apply to do as many competitions as you can, make sure you get your name out there. Take any opportunities such as New Designers, it's brilliant to try and showcase your name in that way. Finally, I would say that while you are at University it’s important to make sure you are creating commercial designs. It can be easy to get into a little bubble and when you step outside that you've got to think about what's in the industry, who your competitors are – these are things I have to consider day to day now.