Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Design


Abigail Turnbull


Textile Design – Level 3

Can you tell us a little bit about your background before coming to study here?

I did Product Design and Art and Design at A Level. I had studied Textile Design at GCSE and knew that was what I really liked.  A lot of my practice now links with product design because I do quite a lot of laser cutting. I think that’s why I like using the machinery as well. Then I did an Art Foundation at a college near me in Cheshire before I came here.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go down a Product Design route or a Textiles Design route, then one of my tutors asked me,  ‘do you like the design and outline of a chair or do you like what goes on it?’ After that I knew that I was interested more in textiles. I looked round courses and ended up in Leeds.

What was it about the Textile Design here that attracted you to the course?

I always knew that I didn’t necessarily want to be a designer and that I definitely want to go into something a bit more academic. I liked the fact that you can take modules from other areas in the university here too. I would like to go into journalism, so I’ve done a few creative writing and journalism discovery modules as well as textiles.

What kind of things are you doing on your course at the moment in third year?

I’ve specialised in structured textiles doing embroidery rather than knit. I’m doing laser cutting as well and modernising textiles. The background of my project is Japanese textiles and modernising traditional prints. I’ve taken inspiration from a Japanese garden and I’ve embroidered using different techniques. I’ve used heat transfer techniques to get it onto the fabric and then embroidered into that. The laser cutting is going to be in different layers and depending on which angle you look at it there will be a different perspective.

What have you enjoyed most about the course?

I think probably how varied it is. I know a lot of friends on other courses are solely in the studios and designing. Although I like that side of it, it’s nice to have a break and do other things. I feel like I’ve learnt a lot more because I’ve been able to dip into lots of different areas rather than just one.

Is there anything that surprised you about the course?

Some of the modules have surprised me. Some of them you don’t think would directly link to textile design but they do. There was a design theory module which seemed very mathematical but when it actually got into the assessment I understood how it linked. The importance of marketing has also been really interesting and seeing how rather than just doing it for you, you have to think about everyone else too.

Do you have any plans for after graduation?

At the minute I would like to go into fashion journalism or some sort of journalism within the arts. I don’t think I want to be a designer but in my final year I’ve enjoyed my practical a lot more, so I might be changing my mind a little bit.

© Copyright Leeds 2018