Anna Thomas graduated from BA (Hons) Printed Textiles and Surface Pattern Design in 2018. After finishing Anna exhibited with the University at New Designers and was selected for a Launch Pad exhibitor stand at MoOD in Brussels. Anna now works as Production and Studio Assistant for Meystyle Ltd.

We caught up with Anna to find out more about her experience:

What I loved the most about Leeds Arts University and the course was how sociable the studio was, all three years of students study together meaning inspiration was surrounding us all, all the time. The tutors were always willing to hear your ideas, give advice and send you in the right direction.

Image: Courtesy of Anna Thomas.

After finishing I was fortunate enough to be selected for the New Designers exhibition in London. The University takes a number of graduates to exhibit their work each year. It was great for inspiration and meeting other graduates in the same boat as well as meeting people from industry. It was such a confidence boost when people looked at my stand, took a business card or spoke to me personally about what I do.

It was through New Designers that I was offered a stand at MoOD in Brussels which allowed me to meet industry professionals from a variety of backgrounds. They were so curious to see where my practice would go and also gave me advice, which I valued highly.  My role at MoOD as a Launch Pad exhibitor was to offer new upcoming trends to the creative industry. That included a short presentation every day to a small audience, this gave me the chance to invite people to ask further questions and really helped us to engage the audience with our "innovative" ideas. 

Image: Courtesy of Anna Thomas.

Over summer I kept myself busy by looking at a variety of vacancies to try and get a job, I really wanted to get stuck in and gain some industry experience before deciding what I wanted to do with my own practice. I kept designing on paper and digitally to keep my mind creative, plus I simply didn't want to stop creating.  With the help of a lady I met from New Designers I got in contact with a high-end bespoke LED wallpaper company, Meystyle Ltd which has given me great industry experience and is where I currently work as Production and Studio Assistant.

Image: Courtesy of Anna Thomas.

My advice to any student, graduate or creative would be, always be experimental and playful with what you're doing, whether that's combing unusual processes, using a range of materials you may not have used before, or simply using a different colour palette you might not be familiar with. Be as innovative as possible as this is what I believe industry will look for immediately when coming out of university. Make contacts where you can and do your best to use them, you never know what might happen!