Anna Champeney Textile Studio in rural North Spain offers internships to a number of UK textile students each year.
Rosie Shayler had just finished her textile degree in summer 2015, specialising in weave, at Falmouth. Other students apply from Universities at Loughborough, Farnham, Birmingham, Glasgow….. Here´s an interview about Rosie´s experiences in 2015. If you are a second or third year or postgraduate student specialising in weave do contact us by email to inquire about internship opportunities of 1 month upwards – but check out our textile design site and online shop here first.
- You´ve spent a month with Anna Champeney at her weave design studio in north Spain. Briefly describe the experience of living and working here.
The first immediate difference is just how quiet the village is. I live in the New Forest and studied at Falmouth but neither of these places compare in terms of remoteness. I really enjoyed [such] a beautiful location – the view over the river is outstanding, but still be working towards something relevant to Textiles after finishing my degree. In the studio there is every piece of equipment I could hope for and the buildings are lovely (I even got used to the spiders by the end of the month!) The Spanish way of life is very different to the UK with its siestas and and heat – it suited me down to the ground!
- Tell us briefly about the range and variety of work were you involved in?
I was involved in production weaving, archiving and maintenance of traditional Spanish coverlets, sampling and the full natural dyeing process from harvesting seeds to dyeing fibres! I warp wound 20m of wool for a future weave project which was good as I had only wound up to 6m previously and did lots of prep work including things like balling wools, winding hanks and measuring ingredients for [natural] dyeing.
- During your stay you were involved with production work. Tell us more about this. What were the challenges of this compared to what you were used to as a textile student.
I had done a little bit of production scale weaving before but the finished product was just for myself and no a paying client so this time there was that added pressure but to have the experience was great. I spent longer making sure edges were perfect and didn’t pull in and that the spacing and finishings were exact and was very pleased with the outcome
- You’ve just finished a degree course in Textiles with weave. Tell us where you studied and what the course consisted of.
I studied at Falmouth University in Cornwall and I adored it. I lived in a little house by the beach and had access to some fantastic resources and tutors at the uni. I studied Textile Design and in the first year we experienced Print, Weave and Mixed Media before choosing our specialism. I decided to choose Weave as my specialist around as I loved the idea of starting off with plain fibres and through a series of different dyeing and winding and counting and ordering processes, ending up with a woven piece of constructed fabric. It felt to me like the perfect combination of crafted artistry and equations.
- What are you planning to do now? Tell our followers a bit more about the kind of jobs that fashion and weave graduates can apply for.
I am hoping to work on my portfolio and website whilst working to make a dent in my loans! I have attended a networking event with ASOS organised by ‘The Dots’ which is a sort of ‘LinkedIn’ for creatives and found this to be very helpful with working out where I am now and sorting a few placement opportunities with the Technical Team. It’s a bit daunting to be fresh out of uni and looking for a job but it was reassuring to be around other people in my position and can understand how it feels to be looking for work!
- What were a) the most enjoyable and b) most challenging aspects of your internship
I loved the way in which Anna works and how different it was from my studies. At university, the looms were shared between 2nd and 3rd year students so whilst you were weaving, you’d always know someone was waiting for you to get on and off the loom. At Anna Champeney there was a few projects on the go at once which was great because it meant you could switch between them to suit you. I would weave in the mornings a lot of the time and then switch to winding or other similar tasks once the room got too hot in the afternoon or go into the garden to collect seeds if I felt I wanted to get a bit of sunshine and the freedom to do this was great. It was difficult adapting to the new looms, ones that I didn’t use previously and worked in a slightly different manner. Also being left handed, sometimes Anna would write up techniques or instructions for right handers which I would them have to change for myself which proved a bit confusing at times!
- What advice would you give to other textile students thinking about applying for an internship at Anna Champeney?
Go for it! Especially if you are happy in your own company. I spent a month in Spain and didn’t take a laptop with me, there was no tv which wasn’t an issue for me as I had gone 3 years at uni without one but bear this in mind as it can get very quiet. Anna and Lluis are extremely friendly and made me feel very welcome, some evenings we would eat together which was nice. For me it was the perfect wind down and transition from 4 very long years of study whilst still keeping myself relevant to textiles. I’m very glad I undertook my internship, there is always more to learn and Cristosende is such a lovely place for it!
To apply for internships please email your cv with information about your weaving experience and, in particular, any production weaving experience you have.
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