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One to watch: Erin McQuarrie

Erin McQuarrie - One to Watch 2018 (ND part 1)

University course - BA Hons Textile Design - The Glasgow School of Art

“My work pursues finding a marriage between craft and digital techniques. Inspired by a strong connection to sites and their history, I use archival research in combination with site photography as a starting point for design work. I have a keen interest in mixed media approaches to create new hybrid fabrics which pay homage to methods of handcraft and utilise the benefits of modern technologies. Often using familiar everyday base materials, I aim to challenge their potential through process, creating textiles with interesting colour harmonies and intriguing tactile qualities”.

What was it like to be spotted by the judges as ‘One to Watch’ award for 2018?

Very exciting and extremely flattering! The palette in my degree show collection was inspired by site visits to Charles Rennie Mackintosh's Glasgow School of Art building post first fire and a selection of Japanese Ukiyo-e woodblock prints from the mid 1800's. It contains a lot of darker tones taken from stone and wood, juxtaposed with strong injections of colour inspired by the vibrant ink of the prints.

How important is colour in your work and why?

My work is always derived from a strong connection to site or place. When use of colour is considered well it has the ability to trigger memories and create a strong sense of atmosphere. This is vital so as to connect with the viewer and create meaningful, engaging work. The beauty of colour is that it is a powerful and instantaneous form of communication that can be translated in infinite ways, continually teaching us about the way we each uniquely perceive it.

What or who inspires you?

For their respect of colour and innovative use of materials, Josef Albers and Issey Miyake have always been inspirations to me. I have also continually looked to, my hometown Glasgow- its history, architecture and vibrant community.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

A good cup of coffee and the current project I am working on.

What would you like to achieve in the next year?

I want to work in an environment within which I have the freedom to express myself and experiment with materials to create innovative fabrics. I embrace both technology and methods of handcraft in my own work, so to be part of a studio team of the same mind set would be the ideal scenario.

Tell us about someone who really made a difference to your creative journey in the past few years. Who are they and what did they do/say?

In my second year of study at art school I completed a five month exchange in Tokyo. My screen printing teacher was incredibly inspirational. One sentiment of his that really struck a chord with me was that we should all embrace colours that we find unattractive or dislike, as it is from these we can learn the most. This is something I have tried to adopt in every project since and by the end of the process, having worked through the initial uncertainty it has always resulted in very rewarding outcomes.

What is your favourite colour?


To find out more about Erin and make contact:

Instagram: @erin.mcquarrie

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