The Degree Show 2017 has come to an end and the Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) Textiles students are basking in a very well-deserved glow. As a class, they have picked up three nationally-recognised awards, received esteemed job and study offers, and to top it off, eight of 15 students have achieved 1st class honours.

RSA Student Design Awards - Elspeth Coutts

Elspeth Coutts received an RSA Student Award. As joint-winner of the Happy Birth Day brief, Elspeth also gained a paid placement at GSK - who the prize is sponsored by - as well as a cash award. Chain Reaction, was her response to a brief looking at how to ensure that mothers and children in Sub-Saharan Africa have the greatest chance of survival in pregnancy and birth.

Elspeth described how the project initially came about;

“We were sent different briefs which were all concerned with social design and design solutions - so designing for a cause. When I first saw the Happy Birth Day brief I thought ‘this is so out of my league, I definitely don’t know enough about this.’"

But the result of her project would definitely say otherwise. Elspeth used her creative abilities to engage with the brief, explaining that she believes the way to tackle the issue is through education.

"I have spent time in Uganda and that resonated with me. I designed a campaign to encourage young women to learn and teach each other about these topics in a fun and interesting way which is not too stifling. The idea is that workshops would be held where teenagers make recycled jewellery out of t-shirts. I developed a method of making t-shirt yarn and then turning this into chains. You make a chain and wear it in solidarity with each other. A chain reaction of education, learning, knowledge and empowerment.”


Chain Reaction campaign
Image courtesy of Elspeth Coutts
Encouraging young women to learn from and teach one another

The Worshipful Company of Dyers - Roberta Fox

Roberta Fox was awarded The Worshipful Company of Dyers bursary in November. The grant enabled her to buy some beautiful fabrics and further her exploration of dyestuffs and techniques. The institution were clearly impressed with her work as, further to this, she has also won The Worshipful Company of Dyers prize this month for her Degree Show collection.

Roberta’s graduate collection is an exploration of colour. She uses traditional techniques and experimentation with dyestuffs to create unique and distinct designs.


The Bonnetmakers and Dyers of Edinburgh - Amelia Busk

Amelia Busk has won The Incorporation of Bonnetmakers and Dyers of Edinburgh prize, an annual award which is awarded for 'quality of design and execution and imaginative use of colour.'

Amelia’s degree collection is inspired by an enchanting story of a wallpaper’s journey from China to England. Her grandparents had commissioned and measured the wallpaper using only a shoe and smuggled it out in a box of rice.

Amelia’s ephemeral and delicate designs have seen her receive a job offer from a world-leading interiors company in London.

You can see the work of ECA’s graduating Textiles class of 2017 at New Designers Part One in London from 28th June to 1st July. New Designers, entering its 32nd edition, is an annual celebration of the work of over 3,000 of the most promising graduate talents from Britain’s leading design courses. Part One covers the disciplines of Textiles & Fashion, Costume Design, Jewellery & Precious Metalwork, Ceramics & Glass and Contemporary Design Crafts.

Are you interested in studying Textiles - BA (Hons) at Edinburgh College of Art?

Related areas of study