A mature student from Banbury and Bicester College has fought off strong competition to win Textile Study Group’s (TSG) Graduate of the Year 2014.
The judging panel chose Maria Boyle’s work from hundreds of emerging graduate designers who were exhibiting their work at the New Designers show at the famous Business Design Centre, Islington.
Panel members explored the whole show individually before coming together to discuss and debate their selections, eventually arriving at a shortlist of candidates. They then revisited the work and spoke to the artists in detail before making their decision.
Sarah Burgess from TSG explained why they chose to give the award to Maria: “Maria's work shows a strong use of colour with a well-developed concept from sound research references. It is an extensive and sustained body of work.
“Maria creates beautiful soft cloths. Some are pieced and patched, others are created by the subtle use of needle felt and texture, in long strips which are effortlessly draped. Fabric is dyed in shades of ochre and greens which are subtly blended. She has a passion for what she does and an ability to communicate with her audience.”
Maria’s Lichen Collection references her love of the forest environment, fostered by childhood visits to her maternal family in Northern Sweden. The work is concerned with the migration of reindeer, along with the Sami herders from their mountain grazing lands towards the lichens of the life-sustaining forests.
The award was established in 2009 by the Textile Study Group (TSG) to recognise achievement and to support new graduates in their challenging first year after graduation.
Maria, who graduated with a BA (Hons) in Design Crafts from Banbury and Bicester College delivered in partnership with DeMontfort University said: “I am absolutely thrilled to have won this award, and especially to have been selected from the pool of graduates at New Designers. It was wonderful to be shortlisted but to be chosen as the winner was just amazing - it has still not really sunk in!
“The three judges seemed to really connect with my work which was so gratifying when the Textile Study Group are such a prestigious and experienced textile artist group.“
As well as the obvious profile boost that winning the award brings, Maria wins an all-expenses paid residential weekend with the Textile Study Group in the Cotswolds. Here she’ll be tutored by experienced artists, receive critical feedback about her work and have the opportunity to build plenty of contacts within the TSG. Maria’s work will also be featured on the TSG website - www.textilestudygroup.co.uk
Maria has also been selected by Cover Magazine’s blog as one of their New Designers best in show and at the end of July she takes up her summer school bursary award at the prestigious West Dean College, Chichester.