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Marble run flocked jumper, photo taken by @bluelaybourne

In The Studio: Liisa Chisholm – BA Textile Design

Written by Isabelle Gressel
Published date 22 June 2016

Our undergraduate summer show is currently open at Chelsea College of Arts and we’re very excited about it! Next up in our In The Studio series is Liisa Chisholm, who is exhibiting her final major project for BA Textile Design. Liisa explains her design process and how to balance life and work in London.

Flocked t-shirt and frown patch cropped. Photo taken by @bluelaybourne

Flocked t-shirt and frown patch cropped. Photo by @bluelaybourne (on Instagram)

Describe you experience at Chelsea in 3 words.

Challenging, exciting and inspiring.

Please tell us about what you are worked on for your final show.

For my final show, I created a collection of garments inspired by children’s toys such as building blocks, marble runs and the lively, nostalgic fondness they evoke in adults. My design process starts off with tons of playing, reading, drawing and writing. The work I’m most proud of is always created when I let myself be free. After I have a solid body of drawings, I take them forward onto different fabrics, experimenting with a wide range of techniques to see which I can best use to translate my designs onto fabric.

Screen printed 8 colour dress. Photo taken by @bluelaybourne

Screen printed 8 colour dress. Photo by @bluelaybourne (on Instagram)

What has been your greatest challenge so far in working towards the degree show?

Keeping balance! I gave myself a very ambitious amount of work to get through this term, but I go absolutely insane if I don’t spend time outside. I’m a mountain baby through and through.

I worked out that I could get the most done if I woke up early and started my day with pattern cutting and sewing, two things which I need a fresh and rested mind for. I’d power through as much as I could, then pop out for a skate to revive myself, come home, and see if I could convince myself to get a bit more done. I don’t regret the past few months but I’m also grateful to have time to sleep and cook properly for the first time in ages!

What do you see yourself doing after you graduate, what are your career ambitions?

My dream situation would be to support myself with freelance print design and illustration. I’m super excited to finally have time to collaborate with brands and other creatives that I admire. (Get in touch!)

I’d love to participate in a residency program sometime over the coming year, in Scandinavia, Iceland, Japan, anywhere with fresh air. I want to keep pushing myself to do the best work I’m capable of and hopefully some exciting projects will come from it in the future.

Printed top, customised Dr. Martens, and flocked jumpsuit. Photo taken by @bluelaybourne

Printed top, customised Dr. Martens, and flocked jumpsuit. Photo by @bluelaybourne (on Instagram)

What have you enjoyed most about studying at Chelsea?

Exploring London and learning to let its overwhelming energy fuel me. Before coming to England I was living in a 12,000 person town with Elk outside my bedroom window. Safe to say London has been a bit of a change of pace!

Chelsea has taught me to experiment, to make the most of every opportunity offered, and to expect the most of myself. My tutor in final year pushed me hard and encouraged me endlessly when I was hanging on by threads. Thank you Georgina for getting me through this and to the other tutors and technicians who offered pep talks and advice when I needed them most!

Our year pushed each other to succeed, and I am so proud to have made it through to stand strong with this talented group of girls and boys.

Flocked smiley face t-shirt, denim, and customised Dr. Martens. Photo taken by @bluelaybourne

Flocked smiley face t-shirt, denim and customised Dr. Martens. Photo by @bluelaybourne (on Instagram)

What would you say to someone who is thinking about doing your course? Any advice?

Push yourself hard, let the world around you be your inspiration, and make the most of the workshops! Textile design at Chelsea is experimental and open. I spent most of second year in ceramics and making stop motion animations. Everything you do will feed back into your design process and from experience, your best work will be created when you’re relaxed and having fun.

Trust yourself!

Customised Dr. Martens

Customised Dr. Martens

You see can more of Liisa’s work on her website and follow her on Instagram and blog.

Find out more about the BA Textile Design course and the Chelsea Summer Shows.