A historic North-East trade body last night hosted an award presentation in honour of the talented students at Robert Gordon University's (RGU) Gray’s School of Art.
The Weaver Incorporation, one of the Seven Incorporated Trades of Aberdeen, has been presenting their annual Career Enhancement Awards at Trinity Hall since 1987.
Each year, the award is given to an outstanding student on the Fashion & Textiles degree course at Gray’s and it reflects the commitment of the Weaver Incorporation towards supporting the development of skills and helping students prepare for a career in textiles.
The 2017 prize was won by Katrina Lindsay, with Mantile Veisaite receiving the runners-up award, at a ceremony hosted by Deacon George Henderson.
Katrina, who is now in the final year of her degree, was presented by Deacon Henderson with the J Gray Kilgour Medal, a certificate of excellence and £600. While third year student Mantile took home a certificate of commendation and the runners-up prize of £300.
The awards, which are judged on the basis of a submitted portfolio and an interview, go towards helping the students fund an opportunity that will help them in starting their career – for example, to purchase a piece of equipment and materials, a study trip or a specialised workshop.
Katrina (24), whose portfolio of work ‘waste not, want not’ focused on the repurposing of discarded everyday objects, is thrilled to have won this year’s main prize.
“It was surprising and exciting to win the career enhancement award for my work because everyone who was put forward for the award, their work was to a very high standard with some really interesting concepts, so the competition was close. It is also really satisfying and humbling that other people appreciate and enjoy your work and realise the effort that is required to create it.
“Something old to something new was the main concept behind my project. I tried to convey a narrative through the materials used in my garments and samples, this was to illustrate the potential use of everyday household items that would normally be discarded.
“The inspiration for this project derived from organisms such as mushrooms and lichens which are often found growing on rotten wood, creating new life from past life, natured way of repurposing rather than creating waste.
“My designs are conceptual pieces and intended to encourage the viewer to take a closer look, question as to what materials have been used and to touch and interact with the pieces and consider what ‘rubbish’ really is.”
Mantile Veisaite (21), who picked up the runners up award, added: “I submitted a collection of knitted samples inspired by ‘Euromaidan’. I was very interested in this political topic and I felt that it is very important not to forget about it. In my designs I tried to indicate emotions of protesters, their strength.
“My knits have many details and associations with destroyed city of Kiev, Molotov cocktails, sand bag barricades, black smokes and political figures as Yulia Tymoshenko.
“It feels great to be noticed as a young designer and it has given me a lot of confidence. I’m using the money to purchase a sewing machine and develop my sewing/designing skills as well as improved my knowledge about pattern making.”
Graeme Nicol, Ex Deacon of the Weaver Incorporation, gave a presentation which provided the historic basis for the award.
He said: “From the 13th century, our trade in Aberdeen had craftsmen of similar skillsets banding together for the same broad reasons: to set and maintain standards of their craft; to ensure that their skills were passed on to future generations; and to support and look after their fellow members.
“When the textiles industry in Aberdeen fell into decline, the concept for the Career Enhancement Award was born. The winner and runner up each receive a cash prize aimed at building on their degree course to provide them with the additional skills and knowledge to progress them towards a rewarding career in their chosen area of textiles.
“We have been extremely proud to help nurture and encourage the students at Gray’s School of Art, to ensure that the centuries-old principles and practices of the Weavers continue on.”
by Rob Smith
Press and Media Enquiries