Next generation of creativity to shine at Aberdeen Degree Show

Gray's Degree Show students

GRAY’S School of Art is getting ready to welcome visitors to their much-anticipated degree show, which opens to the public on Saturday 8 June. 

After four years of hard work, students have been working around the clock, to put the finishing touches to their projects, as they transform Gray’s School of Art into a high-quality exhibition space. The event is free, and members of the public will have the opportunity to purchase artefacts on show.

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A highlight in the North East’s cultural calendar, Gray’s annual exhibition will showcase final year projects of students across all disciplines with many addressing contemporary challenges including sustainability, climate emergency, landscape, health and wellbeing, gender, identity and representation.

Fashion & Textile student, Grace Angus, is one of the graduates exhibiting at this year’s degree show. Grace will showcase a fashion project inspired by the Tap O Noth hillfort near her hometown of Rhynie near Huntly. She explores her experiences of outdoor life and growing up in a farming community. As part of her project, Grace examines the cultural differences of Scottish and Inuit communities, and their use of natural materials and fabrics, producing a collection of functional garments for adventure and exploration.

Reflecting on her project Grace said: “The Tap O Noth once had one of the largest known settlements built on top. I started looking at the huts and the more modern structures such as tents. I also explored the indigenous Inuit community peoples of the Arctic and subarctic regions of North America, and the way they create clothing through natural materials.

“I’m really excited to show people my collection at the degree show and can’t believe I’m almost finished art school. The Gray’s experience has been amazing. I’ve been lucky enough to meet so many creative people and make the best of friends. The facilities at Gray’s allow you to explore many different creative paths and can really enhance your creative outcomes. The manufacturing room is great and is filled with everything you need if you’re interested in fashion design. Having the knit and print room is also a plus. Now that I’m graduating, I’m looking forward to moving into the creative sector and to working in a design or manufacturing based role.”

Glasgow based Roisin Spence, a Fashion & Textiles student, draws on her connection with nature and the environment for her degree show project. Roisin explains why sustainability is so important to her.

“Finding the balance within an environmentally kind lifestyle has always been important to me and sustainability is a constant in the foundation of my designs. Equilibrium with the environment is represented here by my use of paper yarns, my sourcing of dead stock materials, and work with locally sourced wool. These textile samples are suggestions for a simple and organic relationship with nature. Encouraging a more careful and conscious approach to place.

“I am incredibly excited for the upcoming degree show. My time at Gray’s School of Art has been truly amazing, allowing me to fully use the diverse resources available. I’ve grown immensely as a designer through this experience. Looking ahead, I plan to pursue a master’s degree focusing on innovative sustainability. In the meantime, I plan to travel and seek out opportunities in the textile industry. This journey has been inspiring, and I am eager to see where it leads next.”

Ruadhan Curran from Fochabers in Morayshire who is studying Fashion and Textiles, won the annual Weaver Incorporation Career Enhancement Award last November and has used the financial prize to buy her first knitting machine to create her final degree show project.  Her knitwear collection, mirrors the glamour of the 70’s icons of David Bowie, Marc Bolan and Brian Eno, and she draws inspiration from these rock goliaths to evoke a contemporary rendition through knit.

Ruadhan said;” The Degree Show feels incredibly bittersweet; whilst we say goodbye to our educational journey at Gray’s, the door now opens to our exciting futures as creators within the creative field. I’m incredibly proud of how far we have all came; the degree show really highlights the talent that Gray’s has produced.

“My time at Gray’s has undeniably given me the capacity to learn, experiment, and flourish within my chosen specialism of knitwear. As someone who initially came onto this course with no dressmaking or knitting experience, the amount of support and kindness I’ve received over the years – from staff and peers alike – has not only made this an incredibly educational experience – but one that I’ll look back on fondly.”

Dan Allen, Dean for Gray’s School of Art says: “We can’t wait to showcase all the amazing creativity at Gray’s and look forward to welcoming family, friends, industry partners and the public. It is a credit to all the hard work of our students and staff, and our students should be very proud of everything they have achieved. We will be hosting an exciting array of events during degree show, and for the first time collaborating with Aberdeen Performing Arts’ festival, Light the Blue, to host some city centre events led by Gray’s Mobile Art School. I’d encourage everyone to come along and to join in the many events on as part of the Degree Show week.”

As part of this year’s show, students with outstanding talent will be presented with the Principal’s Design & Fine Art Awards, funded by RGU’s Art & Heritage Collection. The selected works will be retained as part of the university’s Art and Heritage collections, joining a body of work which forms a visual record of the creative output of the university and the North East.

Special guided tours for young people will also take place and Gray’s Mobile Art School will bring the Degree Show to the city centre with drop-in art and crafts workshops as part of a family arts day in Union Terrace Gardens on Saturday 8 June.

Opening times for the degree show are from Saturday 8 June – Saturday 15 June, 10am to 8pm weekdays, and 10am to 5pm weekends.  For more information visit:  Gray’s School of Art Degree Show 2024 | June 2024 | Events | RGU

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