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BA (Hons) Textiles student E Nathan standing next to samples from her Iberian Impressions collection.

Graduate Ella Nathan wins Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation Prize for Textiles


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BA (Hons) Textiles graduate from Arts University Bournemouth (AUB), Ella Nathan, has been named the winner of this year’s Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation Prize at the Royal College of Art in London.

Ella’s collection, Iberian Impressions, comprised of printed fabrics, papers and tiles, is an interpretation of Portuguese and Spanish landscapes that uses a painterly approach to mimic the textural surroundings of the Algarve and Galicia regions on the Iberian Peninsula. The collection incorporates an experimentation of abstract shapes with a palette of rich and warm colours, through hand and digital print methods onto dead-stock, natural materials.

Ella comments, “As a conscious designer with a dedication to painting and craftsmanship, I have translated my designs onto surfaces through slow hand processes to create bespoke pieces for high-end interior application. With a fine art approach to textiles, I have aimed to replicate the gestural marks and figurative elements of The Bloomsbury Group painters Vanessa Bell and Roger Fry.”

The Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation was set up in 2012 in honour of the pioneering furniture and textile design couple by daughter Dr Paula Day. It aims to generate knowledge, appreciation and understanding of the nation’s design heritage. The couple had each individually played a unique role in 20th century design, creating an extensive catalogue of work across more than seven decades.

On winning the prize, Ella says, “I am extremely honoured to have been awarded the Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation Prize for Textiles. It has been very encouraging to have my work recognised and appreciated, so I look forward to where this may take me in the future. This has been a great experience and a positive start to my career as a print designer.”

Ella's fellow BA (Hons) Textiles graduate Hannah Elliott was highly commended at the awards with her collection, Wetlands. On her collection and its themes, Hannah comments, “My work is based on making textile collections for home interiors; primarily wallpapers, tufted rugs and hard surfaces with carefully selected colour.

“The themes of my work include mostly natural forms and elements of found texture; this is represented by topics such as rock formations and marshland areas along the south coast, with interests in wellbeing and the calming effects of the natural world, which I aim to translate through pattern and surface. Touches of foil and finishings of flock and shine are explored alongside established skills of screen printing, dye and digital design.”

BA (Hons) Textiles Course Leader Anne-Marie Howat says, “Both collections are well-considered; Ella’s was incredibly vibrant and evoked Iberia very effectively, while Hannah’s collection expressed the wetlands with its different textures and moods very well. Much deserved recognition for both students amongst stiff competition, well done!”

Ella and Iberian Impressions have also won a place at the TEX+ 2024 showcase, a prestigious accolade and event exclusively for the Textiles discipline, with selections made across Textiles degree courses nationally.

TEX+ is an initiative to promote, support and enhance textile design and training via awards and a summer exhibition in London on from 10-12 July.

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