Textiles student launches museum’s 2017 season with military exhibition

A talented textiles student from Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire has marked the start of the 2017 season at a popular Richmond museum with an exhibition featuring a collection of military-themed works.

Rachel Fraser, a second-year student on the BA (Hons) Textiles and Surface Design degree at Cleveland College of Art and Design (CCAD) has helped to launch the programme for the year at The Green Howards Museum, which recently re-opened following closure throughout January.

The 23-year-old, currently living and studying at the university-level campus in Hartlepool, created ‘Tommy Bodkins – military materials then and now’ during her first year at CCAD. It is the first external exhibition the museum has ever secured from a Level 4 student at the college, and the first time the museum has co-curated with a student exhibitor.

“I’m so excited to have my exhibition as the first one of the year,” says Rachel.  “The pieces in my collection are all related in some way to the museum and the army, where I’ve used jackets, weapons, badges, and the warning signs seen on the perimeter walls of the barracks themselves. My work is either screen printed, digitally made, embroidered or a combination of the three.  I wanted to look at traditional sewing and print techniques as well as using a sewing machines and software such as Photoshop and Illustrator.”

The Tommy Bodkins of the exhibition title was inspired by combining the slang name for a British soldier, with a blunt needle used to draw cord through a hem, and the exhibition runs until 31 March 2017.

Jayne Hemmins, Textiles Programme Leader at CCAD, said: “We are really proud of Rachel, she’s a talented, hardworking student who has a great career path in textile design ahead of her. Her achievements are especially significant, as she has secured her first solo exhibition with work she has produced during the first year of her degree.”

Green Howards Museum Director, Lynda Powell, said: “We first met Rachel when she started her project; she wanted to look at the collection and our archives to help inspire her. As her work developed and she came back to see us, we realised that between us we had the makings of an exhibition which could feature rarely see textiles and fabric objects from the museum collection, as well as original work created by Rachel herself.”

The museum has changed its pricing policy for the 2017 season, with admission now securing unlimited repeat entry for 12 months.  With three special exhibitions planned this year, it means visitors will get great value for money.

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