Thursday, September 8, 2016

Study Abroad Experience: Jess Thies goes to Gala!

Jess Thies told us about her experience studying abroad at Heriot-Watt University it Galashiels, Scotland, get ready to start booking your flight!

Jess (second from right) and friends hike near Loch Lomond.
When I decided to study abroad at Heriot-Watt in Galashiels, Scotland, I had yet to go on a plane, travel to another country, and be away from my family and friends for any long period of time. Normally PhilaU’s exchange with Heriot-Watt is in the fall, but due to running XC, cross country, I decided to study abroad in the spring and became the only PhilaU student to study there at that time. I ended up being only one of two American students at the Uni for the semester. While my family worried, I was so excited to have the opportunity to dive right into traveling and meeting new people that I would never meet if I went to a school with other American students. 

I took four studio classes, Floral Print, Knit, Weave, and CAD. Classes were set up differently as you only had class once a week and work was very independent. We would meet one-on-one with professors and spend the rest of class time freely working. As a textile design major, I thought it was really beneficial to be able to learn in a new way. My professors focused very heavily on research and we kept sketchbooks, research folders, research journals where we would write about our ideas, and created multiple mood/color/research boards for each project. Each class had one semester long project which was nice to focus on one topic and spend a lot of time perfecting our work. 
Jess at Textile Exhibition Show with her semester's work.

We had a month off for Easter break, and during that time, I was able to travel throughout Europe for a two week trip. I traveled to Paris by myself, I went to London and stayed with my best friend I met at Heriot-Watt, I went to Rome to visit my PhilaU friends who were studying there for the semester, I spent two days in Florence, and I went to Milan with a friend from Heriot-Watt on holiday. For St. Patrick’s Day, the other American student and I went to Dublin and we stayed with some of her family that was living there. I also went on a weekend trip with ISUK and the University of Glasgow to the Isle of Skye and was able to meet a friend from Austria.

The response I received from all the people I met was not only surprising but also heartwarming. People everywhere I went, at the grocery store, in the shops, and at Uni were extremely friendly, helpful, and easy to understand once I grasped out the Scottish lingo and accents. Overwhelmingly the best part of my experience was meeting the couple of girls who I now consider to be some of my best friends in my life. The group of girls who took me in helped me every step of the way to learn what Scottish/English culture was like, what the best food/sweeties were, what type of tea to buy (PG is the best..), and show me around Galashiels, Glasgow, and Edinburgh. 
Jess hiking near Alchmelvich. 

My last ten days in Scotland, my three best friends and I went on a Scottish road trip. One of my local friends had a car so we started in Gala, and spent a night or two at all of our pit stops along the way. We went to Glasgow first to experience the countries best morning rolls (which is basically a flat sausage on a roll with a potato scone), and then stayed in Pitlochery with one of my friend’s family to go hiking. We then went to Inverness to stay with one of my friend’s mom and hiked around Loch Ness. We ate proper roast dinners at a traditional restaurant that is older than America and I was able to try Haggis and Black Pudding. We also went to Chantry Point in Inverness to watch dolphins swim into the bay. After Inverness, we headed up North to Achvelmich and camped out on the beach. We went to Handa Island which is known to have puffins and then spent the night camping under Ben Nevis, which is the tallest mountain in Scotland. The last night we camped and hiked near Loch Lomond before heading back round through Glasgow, to go to Galashiels. Overall, this week was one of the best times of my life, not only because I was experiencing a lot of new things and able to travel and see more of Scotland, but I was also with great friends I never would’ve met if I hadn’t decided to study abroad.
What a trip in 10 days!

If I have any advice for other students who want to study abroad, it is to step out of your comfort zone and realize that nothing is weird. Things may be different, but try to be open-minded and willing to adapt to the culture.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

TALENT! An exhibition of textile works from American and European gradutates

New York Textile Month isa New School and Cooper Hewitt initiative celebrating global textile creativity and innovation in events held throughout New York City.Visit for more information.

The exhibit features work from recent graduates of the Philadelphia University M.S. Textile Design program.

Jenn Biggs’ collection was inspired by the exploration of a long dead alien city detailed in the Arthur C. Clarke novel ‘Rendezvous with Rama’. Artifacts of art and culture, communication, architecture and planetary biology are investigated to explore the rise and fall of a civilization that communicated through the language of bioluminescent light, developed into designs digitally and screen printed.
Sam Fletcher explores memory through constructed textiles. What if, each end and pick in a woven fabric work together to convert what a faded memory would feel like if it was possible to reach out and touch it? Could the loops of a wiry, untamed knit, tangle itself in a way that makes you question the accuracy of the collective memories that lie within? What about taking a woven textile and making it look as empty and cold as a vacant mind?
The aim of the Capturing a Memory collection is to connect intellectually and emotionally to each textile, recognizing in their own way the concepts that lie within. 

Meghan Kelly shows knitwear collection inspired by the concept of a Spectacular Show as envisioned through Historical Vaudeville Theatre and the Three Ring Circus. Designed to be bright and bold, fun and dramatic and also suited to be non-restrictive during physically demanding performances of dance and trapeze. The garments are all designed and knit using Shima Seiki WholegarmentTM technology and equipment.

Zhiwen Wangs woven Jacquard design is inspired by Natural Camouflage – the visual ambiguity, playful transformation and deceived mimicry of creatures visually adapting to the coloration and texture of their surroundings. A Jacquard woven giant fish lurks within a watery ground, hidden below floating yarns, obscured from view. Floats are cut away to reveal the intriguing imagery below.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Textile Designer Interns at Free People

Senior Textile Designer Megan Kohl is having a great summer interning with Free People at their corporate headquarters at the Navy Yard in Philadelphia. 

Megan responded to a few questions about her experience:
  • How did you land this internship?
-I got this internship after an interview with Urban Outfitters at the career fair at school, which then led me to this position.  
  • What are your responsibilities?
-Some of my responsibilities include putting patterns into repeat, making different color ways and keeping up with print packages that need to be sent out.  

  • Please describe a typical day.
- On a normal day I will scan in some designs and put them into repeat, mainly stripe layouts and plaids and after that is done it then needs to get approved by the designer.  Then I will create a package for it to be sent overseas so we can get strike offs. Sometimes I will also work on mood boards for a trend and color ways for that trend based on chosen inspiration.  

  •  What sort of projects are you working on? Who do you work with?
-I am working on a collection of about 5 prints right now that I will present to the manager of design and the buying manager at the end of my internship. I work with the print team and color team closely but also with the fashion designers and the trend team.  



Monday, June 6, 2016

Surface Imaging Porous Lab works with Museum of the American Revolution!

Wendy Anderson, director of the Porous Surface Imaging Lab at PhilaU, took on the amazing task of recreating George Washington's sleeping and office tent. From images provided by the Museum of the American Revolution, Wendy used the dye-sublimation printer to create an authentic replication.

Washington's tent, image provided by the Museum of the American Revoluion

Color Trials for authenticity, photo courtesy of Wendy Anderson

Matching fabrics, photo courtesy of Wendy Anderson

Thank you so much Wendy and Museum of the American Revoluio

Friday, June 3, 2016

Jacquard Center of Excellence

The Philadelphia University Jacquard Center of Excellence is open for business!  For the past year, we have worked with artists and entrepreneurs to develop jacquard textiles to meet individual needs.  In the Spring, artist Jeannine Han and technical partner Daniel Riley spent two days on campus developing jacquards as part of Jeannine's current installation at The Sculpture Center, in Long Island City, New York.  The group exhibition "In Practice: Fantasy Can Invent Nothing New" is on display from May 1 to August 1, 2016.  For more information, on utilizing the Jacquard Center of Excellence, please contact Marcia Weiss at

Here are a few photos Jeannine shared from her installation:

Jeannine Han, installation view, In Practice: Fantasy Can Invent Nothing New, SculptureCenter, 2016. Photo: Kyle Knodell
You can see the jacquards in the above images, including in Dan's suit above. 

Fashion & Textiles Futures Center--Summer Renovations

It's a very exciting time here on campus.  The major renovation to our textile and fashion studios has begun!  We had a hectic month of May, packing the studios in preparation for the construction.  This is what the Textile Design studio looks like as of June 1.  We also thought you might enjoy the mannequin that greats guests as they enter the "hard hat" area of Hayward Hall.  Check back in Fall for images of our new spaces, once the dust settles.  Hopefully you will be able to visit campus in the Fall as well to check out the wonderful changes. 
Textile Design studio as of June 1, 2016

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Nina de Vassal showcased in American Craft Magazine

Graduate Textile Print Design student Nina de Vassal's wallpaper shown in American Craft Magazine Feb/Mar 2016 issue.
Photo by Cary Wolinsky
The article titled "Many Voices" (link *here*) interviews the newly inaugurated President of RISD, Rosanne Somerson on adorning her new home with student designs. Nina's work is showcased on the wall behind the work of fellow student Dwo Wen Chen's ceramics. The desk and chair also created by alumni, John Dunnigan, Peter Walker, and Rosanne Somerson.

"The wallpaper design was created as part of Traditional Home’s incubation project with RISD and Fabricut to find a fresh twist on traditional home textiles. “Wisteria" was part of my collection inspired by Old City, Philadelphia. My concept was to showcase the outdoor textures of Philadelphia’s oldest neighborhoods inside the home. 
“Wisteria” won best design for print and is being produced by Stroheim, one of Fabricut’s brands, as wallpaper in three different color ways. RISD’s President Rosanne Somerson decorated the President’s House in student and alumni work when she was inaugurated in 2015. American Craft included a feature on the house and its decor for the Feb/March 2016 issue." - Nina de Vassal