RCA degree show 2012

What I like about the Royal College of Art show is the mixture of other applied disciplines – ceramics and glass, innovation, design and engineering, metalwork and jewellery – which can be just as inspiring. Chelsea has fine arts, most of which I have to say completely passes me by: as I get older I seem to be falling increasingly into the “I know what I like” school of art criticism. 😉

No photos allowed, so mostly I’ve linked to photos from the official RCA site. Not many students have their own working websites either.

I loved Elizabeth Scorgie‘s woven pieces. She incorporates unusual materials such as horse hair and leather with silk – and even collaborated with another student to produce some shoes. There was a piece in black horse hair and silk which reminded me of glossy raven feathers.

Maja Johansson is another weaver who experiments with materials like fur as well as rubber and wool.

To complete a trio of weavers, Sophie Manners also uses unusual materials but creates fascinating textures by pulling the warp (or is it weft?) threads to form loops. Some of her work reminded me of the peaks you see in shibori pieces after removing binding threads.

Nelly Song‘s mixed media pieces included lovely double-layered sheer chiffon with machine and hand embroidery on both sides and between. Unfortunately, there is no photo of this – it’s probably quite tricky to shoot.

Haiku landscapes by Sarah Lindstrom were works inspired by Scandinavian nature, incorporating layering and burning techniques in a soothing, repetitive rhythm.

Kirsten Scott worked with women in south-east Uganda to weave plaited palm leaf braids, with which she created wonderfully intricate headgear.

On the non-textile side, Zemer Peled‘s sculptures from ceramic shards blew me away. Very organic, they were like something Andy Goldsworthy produces from natural materials.

Finally, the innovation, design and engineering section was full of fascinating ideas, from polyfloss and man-made nacre (pearls) that could coat any shape to a robot arm that records a maker’s movements and then mimics them. Could be very useful if I could teach it to roll felt! 🙂

The RCA show runs until 1 July.


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Flextiles uses shibori, ecoprinting and felting to create original, one-off upcycled pieces. Extending the life of a garment by an extra nine months reduces its environmental impact by 20-30%.

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