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We Are MA: Victoria Catten, MA Textile Design

We Are MA looks at the diverse practices and backgrounds of NUA’s MA students. MA Textile Design student Victoria Catten is in her second year of part time study, and shares her thoughts about progressing from BA (Hons) Illustration to Textile Design. 

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Can you tell us a bit about your practice?

I currently describe myself as an illustrative Fashion / Textile Designer. But I feel maybe I’m more suited to a surface pattern designer title right now due to my current direction. Fashion is fun, it really excites me and that’s why my last project was focused on it.

However, textiles is so diverse and that’s why I love it. I feel sometimes I’ve got a very varied set of skills, so maybe I’m even a multidisciplinary designer! I take a lot of inspiration from mid-century, and Scandinavian design.

How has your practice progressed from BA (Hons) Illustration to MA Textile Design?

I played around with textiles and 3D in my final year of BA (Hons) Illustration; I love tactile making. I feel at times illustration can be sterile because of the digital aspects. So all I learnt from my BA I brought into the MA Textile Design and everything has really flourished in my practice.

During this final year of my MA I’ve really pushed myself, and my work is more me – putting your personality into your practice makes it authentically yours and I think people appreciate honestly. My work has definitely grown with me during the past 5 years at NUA, and I feel really comfortable with those changes.

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How has your practice grown during your MA?

It’s changed so much – when I first started I was definitely just an illustrator who did textile things, and it was very literal and linear designs. I am extremely all or nothing with everything in my life, and my practice is definitely no exception!

My first year I was finding my feet, lockdown was hard because I couldn’t go in the print room, but all the time alone actually helped because I taught myself to make garments and I feel really proud of what I made.

I am also now a lot more playful, my personality really shows in my work and working in loads of different mediums is so fulfilling – I just love learning about new processes. The technicians here are amazing, they are supportive, friendly and want you to do well, and that’s so important for your confidence.

How is MA study different to your undergraduate experience?

You are very independent at MA level, which may not suit everyone but it really matches my personality well. I’m cool with organising myself and I don’t need someone else to tell me what to do with my time!

I know I do way too much work in some people’s eyes for someone who is part time, I am in the print room a lot, but I love having the time to put everything into my work and wanting to get better and better. I also have main tutors who are very supportive of my work, and I can just message them at any time if I need some advice.

“The technicians here are amazing, they are supportive, friendly and want you to do well, and that’s so important for your confidence.”

What inspires you about the creative community at NUA?

For me, the workshops are the places to meet great people and form relationships with others who are from all different years and courses. I love talking to different creatives as we all have learnt and think in different ways. It’s really refreshing to get out of your typical mindset and think about new ways of making.

What advice do you have for someone who’s considering studying a Masters?

Think about where you are in life, how you work and what you want, as well how much time do you have and financial stability. I chose part time study due to my health, and just wanting to give myself time to breathe and reflect as the pace on part time is obviously slower. It’s very much your MA and how much you work is completely your decision as an individual.

See more of Victoria’s work on her Instagram

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