Textile Study Group

artists and tutors sharing ideas imagination and skills

Textile Study Group Graduate of the Year

What is the Graduate of the Year award?

In 2009 the Textile Study Group set up the Textile Study Group Graduate of The Year Award to recognise achievement and to support new graduates in their challenging first year after graduation. The selection is made annually at the New Designers Show at the Business Design Centre in Islington. Members of the selection panel visit the stands to look at work, sketchbooks and talk to students. The winning student will demonstrate strong making skills, a passion for what they do and an ability to communicate with their audience.

The award is an all-expenses paid residential weekend with the Textile Study Group. The winner will also be invited to present their work in an informal setting to members of the TSG and receive feedback as well as building contacts and support networks amongst members of the Group. They will also have their work featured on the Textile Study Group website, becoming part of the Textile Study Group educational archive.

Following her course with the TSG, Bethany Walker, winner in 2010, said:

“This (opportunity) stoked up my passion for what I do, I now feel even more focussed on the aims of my practice and future goals. I have come away feeling inspired, motivated and revitalized, not just mentally but creatively.”

2016: Laura Marriott

The Textile Study Group’s 2016 Graduate of the Year is Laura Marriott from Birmingham City University. Many congratulations Laura!


The selection team this year – Gwen Hedley, Jean Draper and I – visited New Designers Part 1 on 30th June. We individually visited the university stands, looking at some fabulous and very professional displays of embroidery, textiles, sketchbooks, and portfolios. We chatted informally to recent graduates who were all eager to explain their working processes and show us their final collections and supporting work. Over lunch we met up to compare notes, then off we went individually again to investigate potential candidates. After much discussion and comparing further notes, as a team we then interviewed a few graduates before narrowing it down to our three finalists. Our winning Graduate of the Year, Laura, was delighted to receive our award. Her installation of ‘3D eye-catching narrative lace’ stood out from the crowd – Laura’s strong ‘tribal designs’ are bold and memorable motifs created with digital stitch programmes and experimental machine techniques.


Laura’s designs are influenced by observations and objects she has ‘accumulated on personal travels from around the world’. Her colours are inspired by Mayan art, and her latest collection ‘takes on an abstract but organic aesthetic, paralleled with inspiration from nature. The team were impressed with Laura’s in-depth back up work in a series of sketchbooks, where a deep commitment to design development was evident.


Laura explained to us how her individually crafted pieces are adaptable and suitable for fashion, interiors, installations or as art itself; we gained a clear understanding of how each creation is ‘unique and bespoke, giving the collection a personal feel’. Laura Marriott will be the Textile Study Group’s selected artist in the Graduate Showcase at the Knitting & Stitching Shows this coming autumn. Make sure to seek her out!

Past graduates

2014: Maria Boyle

work by Maria Boyle

2011: Melanie Kay