“My mum has a cut-out from a local newspaper framed at her house. It’s a photograph of me when I was four at our local library, winning a paper mask making competition… destiny! I’ve loved creating things from the word go.
“I studied my Foundation degree at AUB and I knew I wanted to go on to complete a BA (Hons) in something creative, but I was really struggling to decide which degree. It was during the ‘print’ section of the Foundation that I designed a series of prints, which I then transferred onto these beautiful textured papers. I remember my lecturer at the time suggesting the prints could lend themselves well to fabric or wallpaper design. That was my Textiles degree light-bulb moment!
“The Textiles course is wonderfully broad, providing the opportunity and encouragement to use the resources to take your work in so many different directions. My projects gradually became more focused around the way you can use fabric to create sculptural forms rather than the print design aspect of textiles. I began using paper to experiment and create mock-up structures, before translating to fabric. I was instantly hooked by its versatility and repeatedly preferred the paper mock-ups to the final fabric pieces. I knew I wanted to find a career working with paper rather than fabrics from there.
“I found my time at AUB hands-on, inspiring and all-round brilliant. I learnt very quickly that I was going to get out exactly what I put in to my degree course. This still haunts me but I neglectfully left my very first project to the night before it was due! The project involved experimenting with pigments and dyes and we had the most brilliantly equipped studio, brimming with resources and materials. However, the night before hand-in, studio all locked up, I had to find a back-up plan. I remember frantically acrylic painting all these beautiful silks and sticking them into my sketchbook! Needless to say, it was a complete car crash and I capital letter FAILED with a cherry on top! It was the steepest learning curve and just the mortifying wake-up call I needed to set me up for three years of very hard, but very rewarding work. It undoubtedly taught me to work my socks off, but also helped me to grow confidence in my work.
“I’d made the decision that I wanted to work in illustration, but my textiles course portfolio in no way reflected this. So as soon as I graduated, I grabbed the closest office job I could find… which, might I add, was soul destroying after coming from such an inspiring and creative environment! I spent my evenings and weekends snipping up pieces, which I’d then spam future clients with! Slowly (3 years slowly!) as commissions became more frequent and consistent, I was able to gradually reduce my hours at the office, before fully transitioning and working full time freelance. A few months after becoming freelance I signed with an illustration agency, ‘Agency Rush’.
“I now work as a freelance illustrator, represented by ‘Agency Rush’ and I work predominantly within advertising and editorial. The absolute best part of my job is bouncing out of bed every morning to do something that I absolutely love. Not a day goes by that I don’t feel like the luckiest person in the world!
“It’s so hard to choose which piece of work I am most proud to have produced. Every publication I receive with my work makes me want to burst with excitement! There’s an online commission which is launching soon, which I felt so unbelievably honoured to be selected to create. It’s top secret for another couple of days, but I am really crazy excited to see it in action!
“I really love the editorial world of illustration; however, I’m really itching to go supersize! I’d love to work with a team on something like a shop window or some sort of installation, something a little more collaborative.
“Something that I am so keen to share, as I wish I’d utilised it more during my studies, is the extra lectures available during my studies. My personal example is the Photoshop lectures we were offered. I remember thinking ‘I don’t want to go into repeat pattern design, so I’m really not going to need this.’ I immersed myself just enough in the lectures to tick all the unit boxes, but could have taken so much more away with me. Subsequently, I ended up spending hours watching YouTube tutorials to teach myself later down the line. So, my one piece of advice would be to attend as many lectures as possible, as you never know what could end up becoming a fundamental part of your practice.”