Wed 4 March 2020

Zaynah’s curtains tell a story

Zaynah Arif’s curtain design was chosen from 25 ideas submitted by students from the Textiles & Surface Design degree course at the University.

Organised by Greater Manchester Arts, the competition gave students the opportunity to work to a commission and work with award-winning artist Joshua Sofaer from the Cap & Dove project. Students were given the task of responding to a brief set out by Joshua, inspired by the pattern books in the Bolton Museum & Archives.

First year student Zaynah aged 19, said she was “amazed” when her design was chosen as the winner. Zaynah, who is from Blackburn originally, but now lives in Blackpool, said: “It sounds like a cliché but when I won I felt like I was in a dream. It was a total shock.”

She said: “This has been a fantastic experience, as it has given us an insight into what it is like actually in an industry setting, working to a specific brief and then producing a design within time constraints. I have really learned a lot.

“I wanted to take traditional elements from the pattern from the book in the museum and give it a modern approach in terms of colour and how it flows. My mum will be so pleased for me. I have been really stressed about it. I am a complete perfectionist and nothing is ever good enough for me – I always want to make something better.”

Joshua said: “Zaynah’s design has a contemporary layout but is inspired by the historical pattern making from the Peel pattern books in the Bolton archives. In choosing the winning pattern, it was important to be able to see history in the design, as one of the themes of Cap & Dove is about giving ideas from the past a contemporary twist.

“I also liked Zaynah’s process. Using new software for the first time, Zaynah spoke about how she discovered some of her design ideas by accident; but these were accidents that she embraced! I liked this idea and think there is some learning in there for all us.”

Joshua added: “Whilst researching at the archives at Bolton Museum, I discovered two early 19th Century pattern books, which included fabric samples with such depth and intensity of colour, they absolutely amazed me!

“Whilst at the Archives, I also admired some beautifully upholstered furniture by students from the University of Bolton.

“Seeing the two things together, made me think wouldn’t it be wonderful for the students to design something in response to the pattern books. Also, what a great way this would be to celebrate and see Bolton’s rich industrial past inspiring the designers of tomorrow.”

The arts centre on wheels will visit Bolton on Saturday 18 July as part of the Festival of Hope in the town centre.