"The degree at MMU gave me the fantastic introduction into all areas of fabric design and printing"
I was attracted to the BA (Hons) in Contemporary Crafts because of the wide range of facilities on offer. We were able to have a term working with wood, metal, ceramics and textiles before specialising in two disciplines. The degree at MMU gave me the fantastic introduction into all areas of fabric design and printing. This was the perfect opportunity to find my strength and I honed my skills in the screen printing department. The course taught me the importance and discipline of sampling and colour mixing correctly. Rather than ploughing straight in, I now spend a lot more time planning what I am going to do. It is worth taking the time to find the perfect shade within hundreds of possibilities!
After graduating from MMU I went on to study a master’s in Surface Pattern Design at UCLAN, where I specialised in hand screen printing wallpapers. My first job was working as a junior designer in the studio of a wallpaper and fabric printing factory in Middlesex. I was doing a placement at Lewis & Wood in the factory, when I was asked if I would like to apply for the position.
In 2009, after working in the textile industry in London for nearly three years, I launched Jorja Wilkinson Design. There seemed, at the time, to be endless recycling of designs within furnishing fabrics. This drove me to design a range of striking and innovative textiles in my own unique style. My fabrics are available on the roll, or handmade into beautiful interior products such as lampshades and cushions. My unique, contemporary style is derived form 1960s patterns, brought up to date with striking repeats and crisp new palette.
Don't give up! Learn to value your own skills and how to charge appropriately for them. Remember the years you are spending studying and gaining valuable skills is so that you can make a living from it after graduating. You may face a number of rejections but try not to take it personally. The right job will present itself at the right time.
Collette, who taught Visual Studies was a great source of inspiration. She helped me to free up my drawing technique and not to be afraid of making a mess!
The amazing friends that I made during my course, whom I am still close to today.