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Life After Chelsea: Liisa Chisholm – BA Textile Design

Written by Natalie Anastasiou
Published date 13 August 2018

In the lead up to our 2018 MA Summer Show opening on 7 September, we’re catching up with some of our postgraduate alumni to find out what they have been up to since graduating.

Liisa Chisholm studied with UAL for four years completing a foundation at the London College of Fashion in 2013 and graduating from BA Textile Design at Chelsea in 2016. Since this time Liisa has gone on to work in numerous Textiles studios including that of Stella McCartney’s and has since gone freelance in London working with a range of clients.

We caught up with Liisa to find out how her time at Chelsea influenced her practice and directed her professional career.

A blue and white floral and polka dot print.
Zara Home

What have you been working on since graduating?

I’ve been working on all sorts. I worked in-house assisting with print design at Stella McCartney Kids during my first six months out of Chelsea, it was fast paced, demanding, and helped me get my foot into industry.

I have since been freelancing for a year and a half. Freelance definitely suits my personality better. I work regularly with a textile design studio in North London (generally for fashion outcomes), as well as with a growing range of commercial clients. I also regularly exhibit work, do private commissions, and take part in group shows, which I find to be a necessary way to push my personal practice forward and reflect on what I like doing most.

A red and blue pattern with white buttons on.
lovenskate white button detail

How has your practice developed since graduating?

I feel like I have blossomed into myself much more! My work has taken me around the world, something that I had always dreamed it might. I am constantly learning how to shape my practice into different formats. Recently, this has meant a lot of large scale work and I hope to continue to grow and learn in this way as the months pass by. Freelancing is stressful but I love that I can often make my work feel more like play.

What work/projects/exhibitions have you got coming up?

I am headed to China next week for a residency with Fiu Pump and Gallery (run by UAL Alumnae Mika Shen and Queena Yu) – during my four weeks in Shanghai I am working on a public art installation, a few commercial collaborations, and a solo exhibition. After that I’m spending three weeks in Japan before coming home to cosy up for the autumn.

Illustrations of yellow characters playing in a red and white forest
Blast Skates x Playdude x Vans – art show to accompany toy launch

How did your time at Chelsea push your practice? Did it challenge your ways in thinking in anyway?

The Textile Design course at Chelsea is very broad, having three years where my main focus was to experiment and play helped me to realise how much I value colour; how much space there is to play with when putting colour back into world.

What projects did you collaborate on whilst at Chelsea and with whom? Did this lead to any further projects?

I made some amazing friends at Chelsea and we continue to sound ideas off each other and push one to chase after opportunities.

Two brown beer bottles with green, white and brown labels saying
Borough Market – Love Borough Beer

What was unique about studying at Chelsea College of Arts?

Being in Central London and being so close to all of the amazing museums and galleries this city offers!

What was the most valuable thing you learned on the course?

Plain and simple: to trust my gut.

In what ways did the summer shows enhance your practice? Did they lead to any new opportunities?

I was hired at Stella because the Children’s wear team came to the Undergraduate Degree Show and got in touch with me after seeing my work. This got the ball rolling on everything for me.

What advice would you give to our graduating students?

Make your own opportunities, get in touch with people and design studios who you admire and don’t be afraid to embarrass yourself. I have learned so much by saying yes to jobs I didn’t even think I was capable of doing; fear is an amazing motivator.

Describe your time at Chelsea in 3 words

Colourful, turbulent, and informative.

See more work on Liisa’s website and Instagram

Find out more about BA Textile Design at Chelsea

Explore work by more students at ChelseaDegreeShow.com

Find out about this year’s Postgraduate Summer Show open on 7 – 13 September.