In these hard time, graduating is not an entry ticket into a great career. I remember my ‘after graduation’ plan so clearly and although I am doing what I set out to do, I took a completely different route to get onto that path. While you’re waiting for your career to take off, it’s important to remember that patience, perseverance and hard work eventually pay off!
Joanna Fowles (L) and Debbie Vesey (R)
Around this time last year, I visited the graduate exhibition of my friends Debbie and Jo who studied Textile Design at Chelsea College of Art in London (see post here). Sometimes the best way to get a more realistic view of life after university is to speak to graduates a year or two later. I had a one-to-one with Debbie and Jo to find out what has happened after their robing ceremony.
Where in the world are you Debbie?
I’m living in Berlin and working for a German manufacturer that produces rotary and digitally printed textiles. They are the largest manufacturer of printed textiles in Europe and the biggest digital producers in the world.
My Berlin Office
Word is you designed the print for this Zara dress?
Buy dress here
I did! In my job it is important for the designs to be wearable and commercial. This print was inspired by the dresses in Prada’s 2012 summer collection. I wanted to create a similar effect in 2D with a distressed layered feel.
So how has life after Uni panned out?
The first six months were hard; you lose confidence in yourself and question whether your opportunity will ever come! I feel really lucky to be doing what I love and living in such a conceptual city for design, my job is really diverse and I get to travel often. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming!
How is life in Sydney and how did the Hand Dyeing workshop with Joanna Fowles come about?
I moved to Sydney the day after graduation and my life took a completely new direction. It was no longer about being in a fast-paced fashion career, but about growing organically and being true to my heart. I left Sydney in 2005 so it’s taken a while for me to reconnect with the city again. I’ve been networking with a lot of people I knew previously who now work in fashion or creative fields and I was very fortunate to be offered a shared space with three other creative girls who all do exciting things in design, theatre, television and textiles. Having my own space to create has made a huge difference and it has allowed me to work on my freelance textile designs and commissions. Some of the lovely people I have met along the way put me in touch with Harvest Textiles in Melbourne who offered me a residency at their print studio to host a dye workshop in September. I am really excited about it and it has led to another exciting opportunity to host several workshops at stylist Megan Morton newly launched The School, which offer creative tuition classes led by creative’s in Sydney. Things are starting to grow in an organic way and that’s the way I wanted it! Now I just have to focus on getting my own range of scarves into production!
My studio in Sydney
Oh! Your own range of scarves…how do you design those?
My design process
I guess I would describe myself as a digital craftier so I’m interested in the process and discovering something new along the way. Mark making, happy accidents, geometric’s and abstractions are elements that I return to again and again. I never tire of using inspirational artists such as Yayoi Kusama and Ellsworth Kelly as an initial starting point in my work.
So how has life after Uni panned out?
It’s a strange feeling leaving the cocoon of the nurturing creative environment that university offers. I really didn’t want to leave. I have to admit that this year has been a massive transition and adjustment, trying to find my feet, move country, become a stepmother to two children whilst keeping my creative identity and career plans in the process. Finding work teaching at University was a brilliant opportunity, I find it inspiring and rewarding. I also get to attend lots of interesting lectures, which is a real bonus. I am now planning my visit back to England to pack up my bags and move permanently back to Australia and I can say that I feel excited that so much has happened in a year.
Follow Jo’s journey here