LCF News recently caught up with final year BA (Hons) Fashion Textiles: Knit student Elizabeth Ranson, who was announced as the winner of the Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters Bursary Award. The company initiated a Student Bursaries & Awards scheme over 30 years ago, to encourage students in further and higher education, to take an interest in the knitting and knitwear industries, by entering an annual competition. Elizabeth who specialises in knitwear design, told us about the proposal she submitted for the award as well as what her plans are for after she finishes her degree.
How did you find out about the WCFK Award?
I originally heard about the award whilst interning for knitwear designer Helen Lawrence – she had won an award from them when she was studying knitwear design. At the beginning of third year, one of our tutors mentioned it too, and encouraged us to apply.
What did you have to do to apply for it?
I had to fill in an application for and attach a 500 word statement, with supporting imagery, which was then assessed by a panel and I was selected to be interviewed. The interview involved three members of the Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters coming to the Lime Grove campus. I showed them my current project and some past work, and explained my ethos, ideas and style. The members who interviewed me were all extremely friendly and encouraging, but it was certainly a challenging interview, with a lot of technical questions that required me to really justify and interrogate my proposal. I also showed the members around the knit room and our facilities at Lime Grove.
What research topic did you submit?
Integral to my project is the use of natural dyes. Colour can sometimes be the catalyst to success for many fashion textiles collections, so it was important for me to try and develop sustainable ways of obtaining exciting colour palettes. My project focuses a lot on experimental dying using dye plants such as Woad that I have grown and harvested myself, and pre-harvested natural dye powder extracts.
My final major project is inspired by 20th century reportage photography, and it challenges the common preconception that photography is the ‘truest’ form of recording. My research explores the boundaries of what can be classed as a recording, from the works of Egon Schiele to John Singer Sargent and collage artist Saskia Overzee. By creating my own recordings through photography, drawing and painting, my knitting has been inspired by my own nostalgia and mark making. My research has culminated in the design and creation of a collection of knitted socks.
What did you win?
I was awarded a £1000 bursary to assist in funding my final major project. I was also assigned a mentor, with whom I will meet throughout my project for support and guidance from an industry perspective – which is a brilliant opportunity. I have also been offered membership of the company. I may later apply to become a liveryman of the company, if and when there are vacancies to be filled.
What are your plans for when you finish you degree?
I have not set anything in stone yet, but I hope to do some more internships and apply for an MA in Knitted Textiles Design.
What have you enjoyed most about your degree?
Having the opportunity to explore and experiment has been brilliant – it has allowed me to refine my work, select what I enjoy most and combine it all to begin to piece together my own aesthetic. The whole process has been really enjoyable!
- Find out more about BA (Hons) Fashion Textiles: Knit
- Find out more about BA (Hons) Fashion Textiles: Print
- Find out more about BA (Hons) Fashion Textiles: Embroidery
- Check out more of Elizabeth’s work on Showtime
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- More information on postgraduate courses at LCF
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