East Riding College’s end of year Art and Fashion show Creativity Matters was this year held alongside the Bridlington Artwaves Festival.
Staff and students transformed their workshops and classrooms into exhibition spaces at the College campus on St Mary’s Walk with the exhibition including artwork, designs, sculptures, and photography and fashion projects.
The exhibition included the first end of year show from the College’s new HNC Fashion graduates, a university-level course now offered as part of the College’s growing degree-level offer.
Art student Amanda Harvey, pictured, (with deputy mayor, Cllr Jackie Foster and Principal Mike Welsh) was exhibiting one of many standout pieces as part of the final year of her level 3 art course and hopes to progress to a HNC in September. She said, “My major piece of work was the dress, which took 170 hours to complete in total. It was a huge amount of work. It’s looking at art history from old to new, is made of an old, water-damaged book and is even wearable!”
Rebecca Folds of Bridlington Contemporary Gallery on West Street attended the opening night and was impressed. She said, “It’s quite stunning really. There’s some very exciting work and it’s great to see the finished pieces from the students alongside their portfolios – you can see them getting to grips with ideas…and life!”
Fashion student Francesca Wass was exhibiting pieces from her childrenswear collection. Fran, aged 19 from Beverley studies in Bridlington as well as looking after her 2 year old son. She has recently set up her own childrenswear brand Cesca Bella, which she sells via Instagram and Facebook. Her two year old inspired her to move into childrenswear, she said:
“My brand is unique, stylish and traditional. I got fed up of not being able to find anything I liked – with a lot of boys clothes in particular, it’s just a monster on a t-shirt or something. I’ve already sold quite a lot and am making things to order for the child’s size – so if you’ve got a four year old with long legs, for instance, I can make something that fits perfectly.
“I really appreciate what I’ve learned on the course and it has helped me have the confidence to actually set up the business. I started sewing when I was seven, but I have learned how to finish things off properly and to a high standard. I have got the grades to go onto the HNC and hopefully when I finish that, the business will be fully up and running. Studying whilst looking after a baby hasn’t always been easy, but I’ve muddled through, it’s been worth it!”
Student Amanda Strathearn from Bridlington is a retired English teacher who could already sew, but wanted to take her skills to the next level. She said, “I decided to try something new, and this course came along and I did it, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it! I’ve learned new skills like pattern making, design and the creative skills behind creating a garment and putting an exhibition together. I really would recommend it. I am thinking of starting my own childrenswear business too.”
The Creativity Matters exhibition was not the only artistic endeavour the students have undertaken this term. Trainee art tutor Fern Smith gained her first commission for the new environmental strand of the Artwaves festival to create a beach sculpture in response to the issue of plastic pollution. In partnership with the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and RSPB, the Festival wanted to highlight the issue of plastic pollution in the sea, a cause close to the hearts of many Bridlington residents. Fern’s design, which has been named Ernie, not only highlights the issue, but is designed to encourage people to collect and thoughtfully dispose of their plastic. It was on display as part of the Artwaves Festival before being permanently installed on the foreshore.
Fern, who designed Bridlington’s shortlisted land art for the Tour de Yorkshire competition said, “I have always centred my art practice around the environment, I am interested in responding to the dynamics of nature and creating temporary art. This project is my first commission since finishing university and the opportunity to create a permanent sculpture in my home town is very exciting. The sculpture was made in collaboration with the art and welding students at East Riding College. The opportunity to make a permanent sculpture which benefits the environment is excellent and I have enjoyed this new experience.”
Adam Bruce, aged 19 from Bridlington was one of the welding students involved in creating the 3 metre long sculpture, he said “I’ve enjoyed helping, we’ve got it done quicker as a result. It’s the biggest welding project I’ve worked on so far and we’ve done bending, angles and learned how to hand-work and machine-work the steel.”