Life on MA: Textile Design
At Norwich University of the Arts, students on MA Textile Design combine creativity, craft skills and technological innovation.
Full time student Megan Stavaru shares her practice and the importance of textiles.
Can you tell us a bit about your practice?
I specialise in woven textiles and cross disciplines of print and 3D. My practice revolves around the slow design ethos and the idea of emotional durability, an innovative design ethic which can be considered sustainable. The idea behind making emotionally durable fabrics is to embed emotion, memories and empathy within the textiles. Consumers can then form personal attachments to the product, inevitably holding onto it for longer and passing it down to the next generation.
This idea would prevent other alternatives such as contributing to our throwaway society or adding to textile landfill. By exploring my personal cultural heritage (I’m half Romanian) I have been able to make specific connections between the fabrics I’m creating and the narrative of that specific place which has inspired the piece.
You studied BA (Hons) Textile Design at NUA. How have you found the transition to MA?
My transition from BA (Hons) Textile Design to MA was a positive, welcoming experience. I started by signing up to a variety of inductions and exploring different workshops I had never been in throughout my BA. This has allowed me to push my work into new avenues whilst learning about different processes and materials.
The first unit was all about research which is an important part to any project I start. For this unit we were asked to hand in a body of work, reflective journal and a written piece of work. The only challenge I found was refining the essay into a smaller word count than a BA dissertation but I benefited from this by learning new skills in producing an in depth, quality piece of writing which evidenced my key research.
Why is textile design important?
What I like about textiles is the meaningful connection I have to it. Coming from generations of traditional Romanian weavers, the notion of weave is very important to me. Through my work I’m determined to keep traditional textile techniques from dying out by passing knowledge onto future generations. I believe everyone can make a connection to textiles in one way or another. The tactile qualities of constructed or printed textiles are everywhere – in the home, whilst you travel, at work and on the body. Even if you’re not from an artistic or textiles background, there will always be a vocal response from any form of produced textiles within the industry or through exhibitions, installations, performance art etc.
"The campus has a friendly, tight-knit community atmosphere where you can easily meet people and make new friends."
Why did you decide to stay on at NUA for your Masters?
After transferring to NUA for my BA second and third year I was given an abundance of support from my tutors and surrounding staff. This support continued with the outstanding technical advice and knowledge from all of the technicians. The library and study skill sessions helped me tremendously within my writing. With this help I was able to achieve results I am proud of and I felt confident about receiving the same support for my MA. The campus has a friendly, tight-knit community atmosphere where you can easily meet people and make new friends. Across the university are beautiful old and modern buildings along with our new cafe and the East Gallery which is always filled with something new and inspiring.
NUA accommodates every facility I need to produce my work whether that be the new MA studio space or the constructed, printed and 3D workshops. There is constant encouragement throughout each unit of study with numerous tutorial slots available. This allows you to feel confident within your own practice.
What do you hope to do when you finish your course?
I have a few areas of interest which I’m keen to be involved in after university but I’m also open to ideas and opportunities that may arise within the rest of my time on the MA. So far the course has already opened up new doors, allowing me to meet with professionals within my subject. By introducing us to practitioners and designers, we’re able to network and discuss our practice and where we could go with it.
In preparation for my future, the MA is providing me with the chance to consolidate and refine my practice when creating a considered body of work. I am taking stock of every opportunity and making myself involved in future events.
Do you have any advice for someone thinking about studying at NUA?
I would advise anyone who is considering to study at NUA to come along and spend a day in Norwich itself to get to know the area and a feel for the city. I would also advise booking on to an open day. These opportunities are really important for learning about what NUA has to offer, and will allow you to experience the friendly and welcoming atmosphere Norwich provides. An open day also gives you the opportunity to look at our resources, admire our beautiful buildings and meet faces that may become familiar.
If you decide NUA is right for you, I would strongly advise you to sign up to a variety of inductions once you start. This will allow you to gain confidence in new workshops and inspire and motivate you to push your practice across different disciplines that you might never have thought about before.