Alumni Interviews

Welcome to our alumni page, here we focus on what our talented graduates do when they leave and how time at WSA has shaped their experiences and careers.

In their own words

Everything I have learnt at WSA has been applicable to my current job. Learning how to create a variety of colour ways to pitch to potential clients. 

Amy Halley

That moment of revealing your final print was so rewarding, seeing the outcome of all the hard work you had put in.  

Candice Grey

The knitting studio was absolutely outstanding, it is full of domestic, industrial and digital knitting machines, my paradise!

Grace Fincham

Candice Grey Print Graduate

What did you enjoy most about studying at Winchester?

I loved working with such great people. Both the friends I gained and the fantastic staff, made studying at Winchester so enjoyable. We would all help each other out and the staff were really helpful, it was a very positive space to work in. 

What did you find most inspiring?

I find nature to be most inspiring. It’s organic colours, shapes and textures always work so well together. Nature is always the starting point for every design I create. 

Did you have a favourite work space, piece of equipment?

I loved the screen printing room, ideally a space by the windows as the room’s only downfall was the heat in summer! That moment of revealing your final print was so rewarding, seeing the outcome of all the hard work you had put in.  

What did you get up to outside of studying?

Outside of studying, I would meet up with all of the other students also studying print at that time. We would often go for lunch outside Winchester cathedral. Even outside of university we still couldn’t help but talk about print!

What did you find useful from your degree now you are at work?

I learnt many invaluable skills from my degree. More than I thought I would, and I use many of them everyday at work. My most useful skills are researching and colour theory. I never completely realised how integral research was untill I started my job. It really is the foundation of a good print. If you have a good colour palette, it can completely transform a design. 

How did university prepare you for your job?

University prepared me for work in multiple ways. There are many similarities between the process of designing a final major project and working in a studio. It prepared me on how to work both independently and in a team. How to research, design, develop and critique my own work to design a collection. 

What do you love most about your job?

What I enjoy the most about my job is working together as a team. I love the input of everyone’s ideas to design a collection that everyone is really proud of. It’s really exciting and rewarding seeing products being sold with my own designs on. 

Grace Fincham Knit Graduate

What did you find most inspiring?

I found the degree shows to be truly inspiring, being able to organise and take part in private viewings which were attended by professionals from creative industries was a great skill to learn and to be confident when speaking to others.

Did you have a favourite work space, piece of equipment?

I loved the studio space that was available, I had my own desk and wall space to use as a pin board and to make my own. The knitting studio was absolutely outstanding, it is full of domestic, industrial and digital knitting machines, my paradise!

What did you find useful from your degree now you are at work?

Both the practical and digital elements of the course have both prepared me for work. I would not be able to do my job without these skills, digital work is extremely important, especially during these challenging times. 

How did university prepare you for your job?

Certain experiences have prepared me for my job, for example working with the Framework Knitters. Winning the ‘HATRA’ award was not only a personal achievement but experiences like this one allowed me to gain confidence and benefit from involvement with people from industry, this opportunity would not have been possible without the help from my tutors at WSA. Having to prepare for the interview was a great life skill to learn and to get an insight into the real world.

What do you love most about your job?

I am now a Textiles teacher at a sixth form college. I love the everyday rewards of teaching young adults the skills they need to prepare them for higher education.

Amy Halley Weave graduate

What did you enjoy most about studying at Winchester?

For me, the aspect I enjoyed most about studying at WSA was the community spirit. My experience was very supportive and the staff were constantly present to aid us in our work. My tutors and technician were hands on in guiding our knowledge further, encouraging us to explore new techniques and processes to enhance our designs. My tutors went above and beyond for every student, which created a positive atmosphere in the studio. 

Whilst studying at WSA, I attended the Bradford ‘Making it in Textiles’ conference. At this event we listened to guest speakers and were able to network with fellow weavers; this was one of my most enjoyable experiences at WSA because it allowed me to expand my knowledge about the industry. Another opportunity WSA afforded me was the chance to compete for work experience at popular trade show ‘Spinexpo’. Travelling to Paris to exhibit my work at such a prestigious event was immensely rewarding and exciting; it is an experience I will always treasure.

What did you find most inspiring?

I found the staff at WSA to be most inspiring. Learning how they had shaped their careers and progressed after their studies inspired me when I was looking for jobs after university. I was also fortunate that my tutor organised guest lecturers to attend the studio to show their work to us. The passementrie workshop in particular was especially influential to me, and I tried to incorporate much of this into my final project. 

Did you have a favourite work space, piece of equipment?

My favourite space to work was in the weave studio. The studio is built like a conservatory looking out over the moors. It was a very peaceful place to work, even when near project deadlines. The loom I enjoyed using most was the ‘Arm loom’ in this studio; this loom was perfectly designed for experimenting with difficult warps and this really helped to push my technical skills further. 

What did you get up to outside of studying?

Outside of studying I was keen to explore different galleries and exhibitions, finding inspiration for further research in my projects. Winchester is close in proximity to London, and taking the train to and from exhibitions was easy. 

Winchester itself is a beautiful market town, and has many walking trails. Often at the weekend I would walk up to St Catherine’s Hill or around the water meadows which was lovely. 

What did you find useful from your degree now you are at work?

Everything I have learnt at WSA has been applicable to my current job. Learning how to create a variety of colour way’s for designs has elevated my work, creating further variations to pitch to potential clients. 

At my current job I am expected to make warps and weave artworks on the loom; the experience at WSA has prepped me for this role. Weaving at university has immensely increased my technical knowledge, which has allowed me to do this confidently in a design studio.

How did university prepare you for your job?

During my final year of university we were prepared in digital communication, learning how to market ourselves to future employers. My teachers emphasised the importance of digital skills, which has been applicable to my current role in the studio. Creating a CV and cover letter that is practical and both visually exciting helped me to feel confident when approaching employers. 

Many of our guest lecturers have businesses in the weaving industry. Making contacts through this has been hugely beneficial, leading to several internships at ‘Wallace Sewell’ and ‘Rare Thread’ during my time at WSA. These internships helped me when applying for my current role as I was able to demonstrate my work with confidence and also apply my knowledge from WSA to succeed in the weaving industry.  

What do you love most about your job?

Working at ‘Margo Selby’ is hugely rewarding and exciting. Working in production means I am hands on with the fabric and I learn so much about the manufacturing process. Communicating with the mills and clients is interesting, and every day there is something new to learn. I particularly love weaving and setting up the looms, and for me, this is when I am happiest. I feel very lucky to be given to the opportunity to work here. 

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