An interview with Stephanie Wong
Hong Kong student Stephanie Wong spoke to the International Office about her experience on the BA (Hons) Textile Design course.
What made you want to study textile design?
I studied art during my IB, which was fine art focussed. I thought about how I could apply what I was doing to other creative industries. That got me thinking… Textile design is about interiors, fashion, maybe even textile art – it can be anything! The application for textile design is really broad and people sometimes overlook that.
Textile Design students specialise after their first year, has that been challenging?
In the first year, everyone was new, so they didn’t know what they wanted to specialise in. This year, though, you can see how people are developing and where their work is going to go next. Now, if you see a piece in the workshop you can easily identify who made it.
I asked myself what I actually liked making and went back to origami, which I used to do quite a lot. I introduced that into my practice and it has made the process so enjoyable. The piece I created in that term was a response to a design brief with the theme “wellbeing”. I designed a lampshade that is submerged in essential oils and the origami folds diffuse the scent as the oils are heated by the light of the lamp.
Did it turn out like you’d hoped?
No. I researched it and it was quite scientific, so I never realised the designs. The tutors were satisfied with that; we don’t have the expertise to make that kind of thing. It’s still quite interesting to be able to create projects like that, though, and if I wanted to research it further I could do that next year.
Have you enjoyed the process of experimentation and research?
This was a big lesson from my first year. Every time I started a project I would think about what I wanted the final outcome to be. I had to keep reminding myself to think differently because you have to start from scratch, develop an idea and allow it change during the process. I don’t think I started to enjoy that approach until Year Two.
Do you like living in Norwich?
I find it offers the right balance for me. Sometimes you need a quiet space and space outside; Norwich is perfect in that sense. I can’t do that in Hong Kong because it is so busy Since London is very close, I can go there often (it’s just a two hour train journey). I meet friends from back home and they visit me here. They really like it and think Norwich is a really pretty city. Even though it’s not that big there is a lot to do, and there are lots of restaurants and cafes as well.
Do you have advice for new students?
Be yourself and don’t compare your work to other people’s work. Get inspired by them, sure, but don’t start comparing yourself to them.
"The academic and technical staff are not going to compare your work with anyone else’s. They are looking at how you and your work develops. When you are surrounded by creative people you have to be yourself."