Monday, February 23, 2015

Student Spotlight: Sam Fletcher, NYFW!

Graduate Student Sam Fletcher took a few moments to discuss her back ground and her experience in collaborating with Dana Jackson to produce a textile for Dana's NYFW debut. 
photo credit: Sam Fletcher

Where did you do your undergrad? What did you study?
I attended the Art Institute of Philadelphia where I studied Interior Design.

Did you work in your field between undergrad and grad school?
Sure did! I worked for about 3.5 years as an interior designer before deciding to go back to school. During those 3.5 years I worked at two different firms in the Philadelphia area, mostly on large corporate office design jobs. 

Why did textiles appeal to you?
While working as an interior designer I was fortunate enough to gain exposure to many aspects of the textile industry. We would have textile designers come in and give presentations on new collections they had designed. After leaving every one of those presentations I would think to myself, "Now that's what I want to be doing!". I also was able to visit a few carpet mills in Georgia where I was able to see the entire process; fiber extrusion, weaving, applying the backing and then cutting the tiles down to their specified size. Being exposed to the process of design and then seeing that design manufactured is what truly drew me to textiles.

What about Philadelphia University drew you in?
Once I realized I wanted to attend graduate school for textiles, Philadelphia University was a no brainer. The location was perfect, since I live locally, and the reputation of the textile program speaks for itself!

What aspect of PhilaU's curriculum most interested you and why?
PhilaU's textile curriculum is very well balanced between creative and technical, fully preparing its graduates to enter the industry upon graduating. What is most important to me as a graduate student is being able to make connections with the other students and faculty at PhilaU. The faculty and students at PhilaU are a wealth of knowledge, and I hope to be able to maintain these relationships for years to come.

How do you hope studying at Philadelphia University will help you to further your goals as a designer? 
The decision to attend graduate school for textiles was a career change for me. Prior to starting school at PhilaU I had never woven a thing! However after being in the textile program for 2 years now, I feel as though I have found the right career that fully taps into my creative potential.

What discipline do you hope to pursue once you leave Philau?
That is a really good question! At the moment my long term goal after school is to be able to have my own design practice. I am interested in working in the fashion and interior industries, as well as collaborating with Industrial designers. While getting to work as an interior designer I learned that I enjoy working with teams of people, where everyone can bring their expertise to the table in order to produce an exceptional product for the client.  

Now for Fashion Show things…
How did you begin your collaboration with Dana Jackson?
Dana and I met last Spring on the PhilaU short course trip to West Africa. When the Fall semester began she asked me to collaborate with her on a collection that she was designing that was inspired by Gorree Island. She wanted me to work with her because she knew that I fully understood the mood and aesthetic she was trying to convey with her collection.

How did you enjoy the experience of working with the user who would take your goods to a final product?
This was the first time I had ever worked with someone who would be taking a textile I designed to make it into a garment. It was a wonderful experience! Dana was very professional and articulate in describing what she wanted, and also very open minded to my ideas of how to interpret, in cloth, what it is she wanted.

What challenges did you experience in the process?
I suppose the biggest challenge was being able to produce a fabric off of the jacquard loom that Dana would want to use. This was my first time working on the jacquard, and I was very nervous about the outcome.

What was the best part of your experience at NYFW?
I sat front row at a New York Fashion week, watching a textile I had designed walk the runway. It doesn't get any better than that!

How did seeing your work on a professional model change your interpretation of the final product?
As a textile design student I am constantly creating fabric. And while working through patterns, and doing trials on the jacquard loom, I sometimes feel like I am numb to the final product. By the time it is done, I am more concerned with moving onto my next piece. Getting to see the fabric being used in a garment gives it new life, and allows me to go back and appreciate what I have created.

What advice would you give students participating in interdisciplinary collaborations in the future?
Communication is key! Part of being a successful designer is the ability to get into someone else's head and have a full understanding of what it is that they want. 

Sketchbook work leading to the final jacquard fabric 

photo credit: Sam Fletcher
photo credit: Sam Fletcher

 Final Fabric
photo credit: Sam Fletcher

Runway Show Photos
photo credit: Andrea Mata

The skirt and shrug are constructed from Sam's jacquard fabric!

Once again, 
Congratulations to 
Sam and Dana 
on their amazing work!

photo credits: Andrea Mata

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Textile Design student in New Zealand

Textile Design student Megan Onuskanych is spending the Spring 2015 semester studying at Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand.  Megan shared the following:

New Zealand does not seem to be the typical place for study abroad, but it has yet to disappoint! From the delicious food, amazing views and unexpected weather changes, I have experienced so much in just the short week that I have been here. Wellington, coffee capital of New Zealand, and home of Massey University, seems to have the perfect combination of music, popup markets, restaurants and relaxing spots on the waterfront. 

Classes have yet to begin, but just from a short tour of the textiles department, I am already happy that I have chosen such a design oriented campus to study abroad at. I am excited to see what comes of the wall coverings, textile materials and embroidery courses that I am enrolled in for this upcoming semester!     

Here are a few images from her stay to date.  Check back for periodic updates. 


Friday, February 20, 2015

Jacquard Textile Design Workshop

Join PhilaU Textile Design faculty and staff for an exciting, week-long Jacquard Textile Design Workshop, June 1-5, 2015.  Please see the below or contact Marcia Weiss at for additional details. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Student Spotlight: Rachel Snack, Weaver House Co.

An accomplished weaver and designer, Rachel Snack joins Philadelphia University's Textile Design Graduate Program this spring 2015.

Rachel's path to weaving was of fortunate misfortune. Her undergraduate studies were at the School of Art Institute of Chicago. With every intention of becoming a painter, she was disheartened to hear that the freshman painting classes were full when she enrolled. Her clever adviser, against Rachel's wishes, placed her in "Intro to Fibers" in the Fiber and Material Studies Department. Reluctantly, with visions of  her grandmother sitting in her recliner tediously embroidering a sampler and Alex Trebek announcing another daily double dancing in her mind, Rachel attended the class that would forever change her passions as an artist. She describes leaving the class mesmerized by weaving and "it became a deep and personal love". 
Like so many who have found a home in the textile world, Rachel describes the "physical process" and "tactile result" of weaving satisfying in a way that she had not experienced in other media. Her desire to paint stemmed from the availability of materials, but her successes with weaving brought her a new understanding of her creative strengths and challenged her in a way that paint could not. 

In addition to beginning her studies at Philadelphia University, Rachel has started an assistantship at the university's Paley Design Center. Access to an archive of over 200,000 textiles and costumes is almost positively "the definition of designer heaven" says Rachel. Everyday she is met with the opportunity to grow as designer by caring for the life and preservation of these textiles. Then jaunt across the street to her loom. Speaking of the program at Philadelphia University with the wonder and excitement of a kid in a candy store, Rachel describes the Jacquard looms as her "best friend".
In her professional life, Rachel is the owner and creator of Weaver House Co. . After an artist residency in Peru, Rachel sought an opportunity to maintain creative freedom and continue weaving as a full-time job, not a secondary hobby for occasional moments with long lapses in love. She planned, sacrificed, and eventually set up shop. Bringing back with her a "curated selection of antique Peruvian textile," she put her background in textile conservation and entrepreneurial drive to work and a few months later was able to put out a line of handwoven rug rags.  

We are so excited to welcome Rachel to Philadelphia University's Textile Design Program. 

Make an appointment to visit her and the Paley Design Center at

Monday, January 26, 2015

PhilaU Textile Design work on exhibit at Plastics Chemistry Fair - Franklin Institute

Philadelphia University Textile Design students exhibited their knitted and woven textiles at the Fashionably Plastic table at the Plastics Chemistry Fair held at the Franklin Institute on January 25th.

The fair is organized by the Society of Plastic Engineers and exposes both the general public and plastics industry professionals to the wide potential of plastic materials into a variety of fields, in this case textiles.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Textile Design Student Wins Bike

Becky Flax, Textile Design B.S. '14, Textile Design M.S. '16, won a raffle held on campus last Fall.  The raffle was sponsored by Naked Juices.  You can see the photo below of Becky with her first place prize.  Congratulations Becky!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Textile Design Student Studies in Scotland

Textile Design Junior Brett Udovich spent the Fall 2014 semester studying at Heriot-Watt University in Galashiels, Scotland.  Brett was selected to participate in a unique exchange program between PhilaU and Heriot-Watt, where the two universities "exchange" students in the Fall semester of each year.  Here are a few images from Brett's time in Scotland.