Chelsea Degree Show and the Art of Carrying

Lots to report after the summer recess, so you will probably see a few posts outside my usual monthly activity. I’ll start properly tomorrow but in the meantime I want to encourage anyone in London to pop along to the postgraduate degree show at Chelsea College of Arts, it finishes at 8pm tomorrow!

Of course I spent most of my time in textile design, enjoying the work inspired by the course’s sustainable design themes which include history, production, natural dyes, textile and environmental waste, techniques, activism and community to name a few.

A lovely conversation with Michelle Njeri Cuthburt. Her show, “the art of carrying ” focussed on Kenyan who carry heavy loads often up to 50 kg on their head, sometimes with a sleeping baby wrapped carefully and tightly in traditional printed fabric on their backs. They use their bodies as transport because they have no other option or because the places they need to get to/from are inaccessible to vehicles. Michelle’s work includes video interviews with some of these ladies, a collection of her designs as posters and exquisite printed silk scarfs. Her work is playful with a bold exciting colour palette. At the same time she is respectful and sensitive of the reality of everyday life for these ladies who continue in their daily toil with an elegant, dignified resilience. You can read more about Michelle at



Carmen Machado talked me through the background to her work, an exploration of the washed up debris from UK beaches and her homeland Puerto Rico. She used the waste to experiment with a number of techniques including, heat manipulation and weaving to create her final show pieces, the fabric for two beautiful chairs. You can find out more about her work at



Alexandra Bissa used traditional weaving patterns from her Greek heritage to inspire her show, developing the designs further into wonderful colourful contemporary tactile designs.



For more info on the show


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