Recognising the need for greater emphasis on traditional craft techniques ,we have introduced a more hands on approach in the studio using hand drawn silkscreen printing , hand embroidery, hand knitted textiles and paper cutting in student projects. We have encouraged students to develop a more individual approach to design by using handcraft techniques which use very diverse practices, as opposed to digital techniques where the processes and outcomes are very similar across a range of art and fashion practices.
Sources of inspiration include the printmaking techniques used at the art school in Gozo , Malta especially students access to etching. We are now reviving printmaking within the art dept at HCC after a lull of some years, using equipment such as the etching press which had been seen for a time as redundant but which is now being brought back to life. The marquetry and wood inlay seen at the art school exhibition in Gozo has also prompted us to try to revive the wood and metal workshops once more. Recently students have been working with Bootstrap artists and designer studio collective in Dalston, London to introduce students to working with local illustrators, graphic designers and textile artists using innovative approaches to handcraft techniques. We have implemented a programme for students to learn more of the local art and design scene with talks by the studio manager for fashion designer Hussein Chalayan and prominent fine artists such as Faisal Abdul Allah leading a printmaking workshop for art students.
An important aspect of the Sueda project has been exchange of knowledge and experience between the partner institutions. The experimental fashion workshop at Mimar Sinan University in Istanbul inspired ideas for a more hands on approach to creating fashion design, working directly on the mannequin rather than flat pattern cutting. It was interesting to see the fashion students at Mimar Sinar exploring a more industry focused approach, using Gerber pattern making technology and manufacturing, feeding directly into Turkeys textile and fashion industry . In comparison our own approach at Hackney Community College in London is less industry focused ,aiming to equip students with the creative design skills and technical knowledge that will enable them to work independently as a designer or pursue further specialized study at degree level.
We have proposed an exchange programme with Mimar Sinan for next year whereby our art and fashion students will visit Istanbul to work with students there to share ideas and develop new skills, London will reciprocate this exchange, where we will aim to showcase the collaboration between our institutions at Alternative Fashion Week in Spitalfields London.