Talent takes the spotlight as art students showcase their designs at degree show opening night

The cream of the north east‘s young artists and designers put their talents on show at the opening night of the degree show at Cleveland College of Art & Design’s (CCAD) university-level campus in Hartlepool.

Students exhibited their works from ten degree courses at an exhibition at the leading specialist art and design college, including fashion, fine art, illustration and creative film. The work from the talented young creatives is now on display in Hartlepool until Saturday 11th June.

As part of the exhibition, which is now a popular regional event, visitors can experience a huge array of works, including costumes, wallpapers, clothing, prints, films and illustrations.

Innovative textile and surface designer Joanne Stenberg is currently showing her latest collection of designs for dresses and scarves using the natural beauty found in not only plants and human anatomy, but also technology and circuitry uncovered using x-ray photography.

On her final year of the BA (Hons) Textile and Surface Design degree, Joanne has specialised in natural forms but with a modern twist, often taking inspiration from naturally occurring shapes and geometry and combining this with contemporary techniques, materials and aesthetics and her new collection is no exception. The use of fine art techniques and media such as encaustic wax and alcohol inks in combination with the x-rays gives a striking and unique look to her work.

The collection allowed Joanne to develop interesting partnerships with local medical imaging experts at the world renowned Freeman Hospital in Newcastle and led to Carestream (formerly Kodak) offering to sponsor her fashion collection.

Joanne said: “I really enjoy the way the x-ray imagery gives me a unique perspective, creating a whole new effect when layered with my own abstract work; they seem to shine through.

“The build up to the degree show has been challenging at times, as I’m a mature student, a busy mum of two boys and live some distance away in Newcastle, so travelling can take up a great deal of time. The show is a culmination of my study and feels like a real celebration of our work and my children were so excited to see where I’ve been going these last two years.”

After the degree show Joanne will be exhibiting her work at New Designers 2016 this summer – where over 3,000 of the most promising graduate talents from Britain’s leading design courses exhibit – and is excited to see what opportunities might arise.

She added: “After graduation I will continue with my small business as a dressmaker but in addition to that I plan to design and sell clothing and homewares featuring my own surface designs. Through my studies I’ve also developed a strong interest in fine art and would love to continue my studies and create my own pieces in the future, perhaps even to exhibit in local galleries.

“Studying a degree in Textiles has given me a skill set beyond the obvious artistic ones; experiences such as writing my dissertation, being a student rep, studying Professional Practice and being on the Degree Show design team have all helped me to gain confidence and develop abilities which will be useful in my future career.”

21-year-old Claire Smith, a fellow BA (Hons) Textiles and Surface Design student from Seaham in County Durham, created a body of work entitled ‘Military Bohemian’.

The concept for the collection is based on androgyny, contrasting both masculine and feminine to bring them together within the designs. The imagery is inspired by the 1920s, after Claire researched the First World War to look back at how women dressed as men within this era, adding florals to make the designs more wearable and feminine. As the collection is aimed at both womenswear and menswear for Spring/Summer 16, Claire introduced a bright, bold colour palette inspired by the bright young things of the 1920s, making the collection more contemporary for today’s market.

Claire said: “It is exciting and a relief to see all the work on show. It has been hard work getting to this point but it feels good to see it on display and presented well. The long hours and lots of work put in have all been worth it and my family are very proud.

“CCAD has opened up opportunities for so much in terms of design – fashion, interiors and gifts. Wherever you want to go, it’s exciting and with its great links to industry, the possibilities are endless.”

Claire also won the Hartlepool Borough Council Award for use of colour with design, and is planning to work in a fashion print studio and also take up teaching after graduation next month.

BA (Hons) Production Design for Stage and Screen student, Emma Train, 29 from Whinney Banks in Middlesbrough, produced an amazing installation for her final major project, inspired by her family experiences in the steel industry.

Emma said: “My work is called Spectacle of Steel, and it focuses on the issue of steel making on Teesside, keeping the SOS of the cry for help to the government. I wanted to look back at our heritage and tell a story of how Teesside built iconic structures around the world. In my body of work, the Infant Hercules is stood tall on a screw, pouring out steel. The screw is iron ore which came from the Teesside hills and poured the steel is used to make the famous bridges from all over the world. I was influenced by my own family history that is rooted in the steelworks and the many friends who have recently lost their jobs.

“It has been really tough project with a lot of late nights but I have loved having the opportunity to build. The best thing about this course, I think, is that if you can draw your idea, there will always be a way of making it.”

Education and arts supporter Mike McGrother and the Infant Hercules Choir were so inspired by Emma’s work that they came to see the ‘Spectacle of Steel’ at CCAD during the Degree Show and sing songs such as ‘We Shall Overcome’ and ‘Infant Hercules’, telling the tales of the Teesside steel heritage and the passion from the workers.

Mike said: “Emma explained about her installation at the exhibition inspired by the Teesside steel industry and asked myself and the Infant Hercules Choir to come along.
Her work is absolutely fantastic and it’s great that our tradition and heritage is inspiring the new artists of today. It is lovely to see all the little details that Emma has put in and the references to the steel industry. It is a really clever interpretation.”

After graduation, Emma plans to build on her work as a community artist. She said: “I would love to get involved in the community in Teesside and work with schools and clubs creating art and exhibition pieces. I am also looking to work in theatres as a production artist.”

BA (Hons) Costume Interpretation with Design student Hayley Stuart 21, from Hesleden in Hartlepool, showed costume pieces with embroidery and silk flowers for her final major project, based on the ballet “The Prince of the Pagodas”, with a contemporary take on the 18th Century dress style.

Hayley said: “In the run up to degree show, I helped design the layout and marketing for the costume design’s show this year, as well as having to create practical solutions to manufacture my designs.

“I was excited to see how the show looked when it was finally set up, to see how all this year’s work was presented, as well as showing friends and family my work. I have really enjoyed having the ability to expand my knowledge of costume design and construction techniques whilst being able to participate in a range of creative projects and live briefs. Meeting Michele Carragher, the costumer embroiderer for Game of Thrones, at a recent lecture was inspiring and gave a great insight to the working roles in the costume industry.”

After graduation in July, Hayley plans to focus on creating promotional material to help build up her portfolio and develop a career in costume and embroidery. At an awards ceremony during the show, Hayley was also presented with the Student of the Year Award.

21-year-old Grant Hegedus, a BA (Hons) Photography student from Billingham, was recently shortlisted for the Association of Photography (AOP) Student Awards 2016.

For his final major project, Grant produced a colourful and humorous photography exhibition entitled ‘Food Puns’. The series shows what happens when the names of primarily British meals are taken in a literal sense, using witty imagery to offer a symbolic interpretation with visual puns.

Grant said: “The build up to the degree has been difficult at times, with late nights and in sometimes 24 hour and 48 hour stints to make sure I had finished all of the work I was producing. I am very excited about the degree show because it is such a great opportunity to show my work.

“The thought of being shortlisted for the Student AOP Awards is just overwhelming and I never thought that I would be recognised in such away. Because of this, the photo I entered will now be exhibited in the print space gallery in London, and I feel so privileged to have the chance to show my work in the capital.

“In this last month leading up to the degree show, my work has also been recognised in the Association for Photography in Higher Education (APHE) Bursary Awards. I was commended for the photography work I entered and was also given the opportunity to attend a two-day photography workshop with world-renowned photographer Brian Griffin in London.”

After graduation, Grant plans to travel and show some of his work in other galleries, with a plan to work in photography as a commercial food and fashion photographer.

As part of the Degree Show, CCAD hosted a visit from four leading photography professionals who reviewed the photography students’ final year work.

Documentary photographer, Mimi Mollica, Amit Lennon, an editorial and portrait Photographer, picture editor, Krishna Sheth, and Tim Clark, curator and editor, participated in a Portfolio Review for Level 6 Photography students.

BA (Hons) Photography Fine Art Pathway student, Rachel Deakin from Hemlington in Middlesbrough, took part in the Portfolio Review, where she discussed her final major project ‘Bus Stop’ with Mimi and received invaluable feedback.

Her work is based on a journey through the North East, in particular the route between Middlesbrough and Hartlepool. She said: “I had a really good review with Mimi, I’m making progress and I know where I am heading. I now have a few new ideas to try, bringing my related projects together through the journey, so it has been great to get a professional industry opinion.”

Mimi, an award-winning photographer, said: “The staff at CCAD are doing a great job, with four finalists in the Association of Photography Awards, which is great news. There has been so much diversity in the show – from traditional portraiture and landscape to installation and experimental work, which is brilliant.

“There is some outstanding and captivating work from individuals, including Rachel. Her work on the buses is fantastic, very articulate, strong and joyful. These portfolio reviews are essential, as there are lots of photographers around, so one way to get yourself seen is to spend 20 minutes with photo experts where you can share and pitch work, take advice and get noticed.”

Rachel also received the Anjool Malde Photography Award from CCAD Principal, Martin Raby. She added: “I didn’t know I was going to win but it was cool! It has been great to see my work at the show in its finished format. This has been such a great course and I have received such a lot of support.”

After graduation, Rachel plans to continue doing her own documentary work and considering working on a book.

Pat Chapman, Head of Employability and External Relations, said: “The Graduate Show is a celebration of the students’ creativity and shear hard graft. For them it is not the end but the launch pad for their careers. Every year the Show is different and wonderful but this year is particularly special as it shows the work of the first groups of students to graduate from several of our BA (Honours) degree programmes. CCAD students don’t just show their work in Hartlepool – some are just back from New York, fashion and illustration students are just about to exhibit in London.”

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