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Art & Design students cover all bases in Quilters' Guild gallery exhibition

York College & University Centre art students have collaborated with the Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles for a new exhibition that covers all bases.

The MAKE Exhibition, which will be on display in the first-floor York College Gallery until February 1st, showcases the work of more than 70 students from our Art & Design Foundation and Extended Diploma courses.

It is a project that has brought together students from a variety of specialist disciplines, including Fashion Design, Concept Art and Sculpture, who were all asked to respond to the aesthetic qualities of rare, historical and collectible quilts.

The pieces of work, displayed as 30cm x 30cm samples, are wonderfully diverse as the students infused their own emerging creative practices with inspiration from the construction methods and materials gathered and assembled with the Quiltmakers’ unique visions.

Art & Design staff members Penny Marriott, Stuart Harvey, Deana McNally, Ron Stewart and Francesca King supported the students on the eight-week project that ran alongside their normal coursework.

Tutor Penny highlighted how all those that contributed to the exhibition demonstrated their “adaptability and design skills” and added: “We felt honoured when the Guild contacted us to ask if we would like to work with them on this project. The Guild’s curator Heather Audin leant us the larger quilts to work on and also came to College to deliver a talk where she showed us lots of quilts from as far back as the 1800s.

“The students then had to respond with pieces of work based on their specialist areas or preferred way of working, which is why we have ended up with 3D ones, illustrative ones, textile ones and more fine art ones as part of the exhibition. It’s a real mixture and a diverse range of everything that can be done on our courses.

“At first, some of the students had reservations about the project, because they thought they would have to produce a quilt or a patchwork design but, when they realised they could just be inspired by quilts and create whatever they wanted to do in their own style, that’s when they started to become innovative with what they made.

“We were a little apprehensive at first about the exhibition because 70 students’ worth of work can be difficult to curate, but we found out what worked well when placed together.”

Olive Qua, who is following the Graphics Pathway on our Art & Design Foundation Diploma Post Level 3 course, also loved the layout of the exhibition and enjoyed the creative freedom that the project offered.

“It was great to convert the idea of a quilt into a piece of graphic design,” she declared. “I don’t really enjoy sewing, so it was good to be able to transfer the concept into something that I like to do.

“It’s really interesting to see every student’s work altogether and cool to see what everyone else did and I think the display looks great, because all the work is so different. It’s great to have this space in College and I like it when external artists display their work in here.

“It’s good to be introduced to different styles and it’s also quite a nice place to be at the front of the building when the sun shines in.”

Rory Pickering, who is following the Fashion and 3D Pathway on our Art & Design Foundation Diploma Post Level 3 course, enjoyed the challenge of tackling a different kind of project and valued the contact with such an esteemed external body.

He said: “It was really good to be inspired by the Quilters’ Guild representatives and fun to have them come in and talk to us. It was a good look into the industry and nice to know that the College has these industry links.

“The project was also a nice change to what we would normally do and something new for us. Now it’s been turned into an exhibition, I love going around and seeing everyone else’s work.

“It’s really cool to see how people have approached and interpreted the project. Some people have used metal, some fabric and some ceramics.”

Rory felt his final piece “could have been better” but was pleased to have made it from recycled material.

“I used the fabric from my spare pieces as a fashion student to create my work, so it was sustainable too,” he pointed out.

Will Holloway stands next to his work
Florence Gadd looks over her shoulder at her quilt-inspired piece
Amelia Burfield with her contribution to the MAKE Exhibition
Liam Smith next to his exhibit

The Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles is an educational charity that preserves the heritage of quilting to ensure a vibrant future for the craft.

Its headquarters are in St Anthony’s Hall, Peasholme Green, York.

3D pieces were among the eclectic mix of work

The York College & University Centre Art & Design Foundation Diploma is a free course for anybody who is under 19 on August 31 and is open to students who are interested in pursuing a career in the creative industries.

The course benefits A Level or Extended Diploma students who want to develop their practice or are unsure about the university route they want to take and provides an extra year to build skills and confidence to confirm their choices.

Many students then go on to study a wide range of degree subjects such as architecture, performance art, illustration, interior design, curation, photography, product design and fashion styling and marketing.