A busy week at NUA putting together the finishing touches to our stand for New Designers which starts next week. There’s some exciting work being made by NUA students specifically for the show. NUA have their degree show at the same time as New Designers so new work has to be made – the students have made some of their best work, scaling up and pulling together ideas that they have been working/thinking about for a year. Chelsea and Central St Martin’s students don’t have this issue as their show closes before. I went to see their final years work on Saturday to see what the competition is doing. Chelsea Textiles was excellent as ever – inventive use of traditional techniques, especially knit and weave, some intense use of hand stitch, bold use of colour and strong design skills. Unsure about Fine Art – I am sure they have a policy about the quality of students work in relationship to where they are hung. There is a wide range of work in terms of quality and actual making and the general level of thought or care is mixed – maybe it’s great to be a student there, next to the Tate, but the final show always feels a little underwhelming, unlike Graphics which is scarily organised – tight and professional. Back at Kings Cross Menswear Fashion at Central was a highlight but I found the Women’s wear a little tacky and theatrical, although the Look Books were exciting and full of inventive ideas. Jewellery at Central was ingenious, new uses for traditional techniques, exciting use of established materials and some new materials. The same went for the Jewellery at the RCA but just that little bit more polished. The RCA show as a whole was just so dam good – a real pleasure to walk around – excellent, totally creative work alongside a professional attitude. The work in the Sculpture Space has to be the highlight of the work at Battersea although I did enjoy the Glass and Ceramics work in the Dyson Building.
I hope that year 2 students at NUA get to New Designers to see what’s out there - their competition is very good and they need to know. Or not!!