Explore Your Archive: Fashion and Textiles

This Explore Your Archive posting looks at Fashion and Textiles at Medway College of Design, through a alumni case study, in the 1950s and 1960.

Follow the whole story here at UCA Storify Explore Your Archive

The Fashion/Textiles course at Medway College of Design hosted one the famous designers, Zandra Rhodes

Images relating to Zandra Rhodes and dress making displays at the Medway Fashion course can be found in our vast collection of press cuttings dating from 1958, collected by library staff at the institution. Prospectuses also provide details of the courses relating to fashion and textiles during Rhodes’ period at Medway College of Design.

Please note, for newspaper clippings that these records are displayed for learning and education purposes, and we operate a take-down policy

Zandra Rhodes at Fashion Show

1961 Fashion Exhibition

1961 Fashion Exhibition

One of the college’s most famous students, Zandra Rhodes joined the second year of the intermediate foundation course in 1957, bypassing the first year through her advanced artistic ability. Her mother, Beatrice Rhodes, taught dressmaking at the college, which Zandra tried to keep a secret from her peers. After her foundation course, she studied for a further two years for the National Diploma in Design. She originally intended to be an illustrator, but also experimented with printing processes on paper such as lino-cutting and lithography in addition to studying printed textiles. Her interest in printed textile design stemmed from the influence of one of the tutors at the college, Barbara Brown, who taught two days a week at the college, as well as being an innovative textile designer for Heal’s throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Rhodes refocused her studies on printed textiles and went on to win a scholarship to the Royal College of Art, becoming one of the most pioneering and influential textile designers of the late 1960s and 1970s who took her remarkable pop art inspired fabrics and revolutionised the fashion world.

Annual dressmaking display 1961 – incl Zandra Rhodes’ sister. The News

The Zandra Rhodes Digital Study Collection can be accessed here This is a digital collection of Zandra Rhodes garments. This was done by the Centre for Digital Scholarship at UCA, Farnham Campus

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Monthly update on project progress

Cataloguing

Farnham School of Art and West Surrey College of Design archive catalogues are available on Archives Hub. These consist of student work, staff magazines, bulletins, and student associations, with interest for Graphic Design and Fine Art

The Working Press Collection, is currently being catalogued. This is a collection relating to working class artists in the 1980s, which explores the idea of artists as an oppressed group, and the meaning of what it is to be working class. This consists of the in-house printed working press book collection, related pamphlets and artists books used for inspiration, and the correspondence and financial information.

Graduation photograph collections from the Kent Institute of Art and Design from 2000 (Maidstone, Rochester and Canterbury), which includes images of Zandra Rhodes in her own designed gown, are currently being catalogued. Photographs from Surrey, which includes graduation images from the 1970s, have been appraised and will be undergoing cataloguing

Textile books created by a individual in the Embroiders Guild have been catalogued online. To be shortly available online

Preservation

Preservation workshops have taken place in Rochester and Canterbury
An access to the archives guide for students will shortly be written

Policies and procedures

Strategies for insurance, and a deposit agreement, and exhibition loan agreements, and appraisal guidelines have been written for internal use

Staff and student use

Fine Art students have photographed and represented images of Maidstone College of Art images in interesting ways. Images will shortly go on to UCA Archives website

External work

Conferences include the LGBT London Metropolitan conference in February, and UCA Archives will be presenting in an internal UCA staff conference with the Digitisation Unit in May

The Epsom Library Artist Book display will take place from the 8th April, with a talk from Graphic Designer and Artist Book creator Mike Nicholson on the 25th April in the evening

Work is ongoing for the Surrey History Centre display in August

Monthly update on project progression

Artist Book,  Common Senses, by Mike Nicholson

Artist Book, Common Senses, by Mike Nicholson

Cataloguing

New catalogues available are

The Kent Institute of Art and Design Publications Collection, consisting on annual reports, research projects and general prospectuses. Available on Archives Hub

The Kent Institute of Art and Design Student Union Archive, consisting of 1990s Student Council minutes. Please note that they may be susceptible to data protection. Available on Archives Hub

Medway College of Design Archive is available on Archives Hub

Bulletins, newsletters and staff minutes are currently being catalogued to the Farnham School of Art and West Surrey College of Art and Design.

Further detailed cataloguing is commencing on Medway College of Design student sketchbooks, and Canterbury College of Art and School of Architecture, Architectural magazine, CASA and the Epsom and Ewell School of Art and Technical Institute


Preservation

Material has been boxed in acid free boxes, with melinex sleeves, brass paper clips.

Preservation workshops for staff will be taking place at all campuses through February – March


Listing and accessioning training

Listing and accessioning training have taken place for library staff. Newspaper indexes have been set up.

Policies and procedures

Guidelines for identification of special collections and rare books approved. A draft Preservation Policy to be available by April

Staff and student outreach

Talks ongoing with Fine Art and MA Curation, Canterbury

Collections Gems Seminar being arranged to tie in with National Library Week – to showcase rare books, Ed Ruscha American Artist and Photographer rare book collection, and items from Canterbury’s institutional archive

Internal exhibitions

Exhibitions and displays being set up around all five campuses of the Tessa Boffin Archive for LGBT Month February (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender)

External work

A proposal of a display of the history of Surrey Art Schools (Epsom, Guildford, and Farnham) accepted at Surrey History Centre. To take place August – September

Work ongoing with Epsom Public Library to display Artist Books April, with a lecturer from UCA giving a talk

Proposal to be submitted to the Kent History Library Centre for LGBT Month, February 2014

Work ongoing with heritage institutes in Canterbury

New Deposits

A collection of textile books from the 1980s, from the estate of Lynne Dennis, a previous member of the Embroiders Society

An archive and special collection relating to Working Class Artists in the 1980s-1990s, and women artists