If you say that you are paying a visit to a college but are not a student this may give a rather dull impression of an outing. Not so with an art school, and certainly not so with Chelsea art school. This week I had the pleasure of having an elusive invitation to the First Year Textile student’s first fashion show at Chelsea School of Art, very exciting. You dont have to twist my arm to visit Chelsea as the grounds are just lovely, and there is that un mistakable vibe of excitement and creativity to be found in all good art schools – I just love it – so many young people crammed together, just gasping to be given the tools to do something amazing (can you tell I miss it?). Anywho, I was front row, and managed to grab some great, if albeit fuzzy, photos of the show – you get the idea.
There was so much good work in this show – really interesting uses of materials, making unlikely successful unions. A few that have really stuck in my head were a recovered lampshade as headwear, and white wadding foam (the kind found inside oven gloves) worked with some kind of hard plastic in to a tailored garment. Other students had gone for a traditional process but had really pushed it further – most memorably were the coral skirt which was pleated in such a way that it appeared to take on the form of a huge tulip and the pleasts waved at you as the model walked by, and of course the knitted horn headwear piece – strange and wonderful!
The great thing about first and second year is that this is the time when students are able and encouraged to take risks, you are still finding out your own creative identity so you end up moving in new directions and testing the waters. It is in the final year that you have to hone things in, tone it down, and start putting your work in an marketable ‘box’, so it is just great seeing shows at this level – it really is what you would call raw talent.