Xiamiao Wu is from Guangzhou, China and has just completed her final show on the MA Visual Arts: Designer Maker course. We interviewed her asking about her practice, her final piece for the Postgraduate Summer Show and about what’s in store now it’s over.
Can you please describe your design practice:
My work is based on a single question: how can the design process add value to everyday discarded objects through recycling and also contribute towards the social environment?
What did you work on for the final show?
As a Designer Maker I am especially interested in discarded materials and objects. My final project ‘Recapture’ is an up-cycling design project. It developed from the discarded objects generated by the coffee making industry. My recent project involves re-purposing over 6,000 used aluminium coffee capsules to craft a series of hand woven room dividers/wall hanging pieces, which represent the spirit of sustainability.
In terms of my studio practice, the first task was sourcing the material. I had to make sure I collected enough discarded material to build the pieces. Secondly, the material had to be prepared which itself was a significant task. Every step of the preparation process was undertaken by hand from cutting, cleaning, and sanding the edges of the used capsules. During this process, I needed to learn and develop my material and time management.
How has studying at Camberwell informed or influenced your design practice?
I enjoyed the time over the past year completing the MA Designer Maker course at Camberwell. I had a variety of inspirations from different types of seminars, lectures, and studio visits. I worked with a group of international Designer Makers which helped me understand and explore a range of diverse materials and techniques. I think it was an important time for my project development and myself as a textile
Do you have an artist influence?
There are some key designers who influence my project and my work generally: Alvaro Catalán de Ocón, Florie Salot, and Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves from Studio Swine; each of them inspired my work in different ways.
Sometimes I encountered areas where I needed direction to further develop my work. When I faced a situation like that, I went to exhibitions to adjust my perspective and find inspiration from the displayed pieces. Often I can find a solution to solve a problem for design or making after a gallery or exhibition visit.
What are you future plans?
Based on my final project, there are several ideas which I would like to develop further. I aim to push myself further and introduce my concepts to more people. I hope to be able to promote my project and look forward to showing people how a sustainable project can benefit society and the environment.
Can you recommend an exhibition must-see?
London Design Festival is one of my favourites.
Tell us briefly about the preparations for your Degree Show, the atmosphere and any memorable moments so far:
We started the show preparation about one month before the exhibition, we had weekly group meetings to discuss different items together, such as: show space management, cleaning the exhibition space, electrical fittings, posters, and shelf making. I am very appreciative to those who helped me with installing my work, it was very much teamwork.
Do you have any Summer plans?
I will have a holiday in my favourite place, Cornwall, after the show finishes. Then I will keep working on my current project and looking for collaborative opportunities.
And finally, do you have any advice to students looking to start MA Designer Maker at Camberwell?
The MA Designer Maker course at Camberwll was such a very unique experience for me. Not only because of the great opportunities to get professional support from experienced tutors and technicians, but also the supportive family-like relationship with all people from this course. We care about each other and help each other. I truly believe a positive atmosphere is very important to everyone in a team and makes it become a strong community.
It was a remarkable year studying on the MA Designer Maker course! Thank you all!