Graduate Belinda Bayley on her jungle themed designs for Lick Home
BA (Hons) Textile Design graduate, Belinda Bayley is inspired by rainforests and disappearing species. Influenced by the wild vastness of the natural environment that surrounds Plymouth and the sense of adventure felt on childhood walks, her designs caught the eye of Lick Home. Here she tells us about why she chose Plymouth College of Art (PCA) and how her experience as a student shaped her into the designer she is today.
Hi Belinda, can you explain a little about your career journey since graduating?
Hello, so I got myself a job working with Lick Home as an Artist in Residence only a month after handing in my Final Major Project. I saw an advert on their Instagram page, sent an email with a link to my portfolio and CV, a couple of days later I got a message from the Head Colour Specialist saying she loved my work and style! Eventually, four of us were hired from over 60 applicants to help expand their wallpaper range. I have also recently opened up my online shop selling A4 prints and I’m expanding this with a new mini collection of A5 prints in the coming months.
What impressed you most about the facilities available at Plymouth College of Art?
ALL OF IT! I remember coming in for the Open Day and being so impressed by the amount of space available, also that we would get our own desk space to work, which was rare compared to other universities.
The printing studio and dye lab is an amazing space for students, I made sure I spent a lot of time there. Make the most of it guys else you will regret it! I also loved the amount of one to one opportunities that were available with tutors, techs, study zone etc.
There was so much on offer and opportunities to learn outside my course, I actually regret not making the most of the other workshops available. I spent a lot of my own study time in the print studio but I would definitely say upskill in as many ways as you can. It will look so impressive on your CV!
What tutor or technician influenced your work the most and how did they support you through your development?
I have to credit all the tutors and techs for their hard work and help throughout my three years at Plymouth College of Art. I will give a special thank you though to Ellie Thompson as she was so helpful, friendly and smiley! She would always find a way to help me when I asked, even if she was up to her eyeballs with things to do. Even after graduating, I emailed Ellie and she was still willing to help me out as best she could.
What advice would you give to students that would enable them to make the most out of their time at PCA?
Firstly, make sure you use the support given when it comes to writing your dissertation. Sign up to the study zone, support groups and one to ones. If I hadn’t, I know I wouldn't have got a first in my dissertation.
Start early on the research. If you have an idea of what you want to do I would even recommend gathering things throughout your second year. You can then do the majority of research the summer before you start your final year - this really helped me. Do not leave it to the last minute! I also recommend getting yourself an internship as soon as you can.
Can you tell us about the work you’re most proud to have produced so far?
I am most proud of my Paradise Vine wallpaper I did for my Final Major Project. That specific design got me noticed by Tash Bradley from Lick and it’s being sold on their website alongside a new design Jungle which I have done in three different colourways. These designs are a huge achievement for me and it feels like a step in the right direction for my freelance design career. It still feels surreal even now. I would never have thought something like this would happen to me this time last year.
What is your favourite memory of your time spent at Plymouth College of Art?
There were times that I won’t forget, nearing deadline days where my friends and I would be in the print studio until closing time with all our work spread out across the tables making sure we had everything done. Even though these were the most stressful moments they were also the most memorable. Lots of laughs and tears but because we were together, helping each other through, those moments are also special.
Can you tell us about your internship at textile design studio, Mirjam Rouden?
I loved my time at Mirjam Rouden. I got pushed out of my comfort zone and started drawing things I wouldn’t normally have chosen to draw. It made me more confident in my own work. I was very self-critical and doubted myself a lot in my first and second year but after my internship it was like a switch. It made me believe I could do something great.
It sounds obvious but drawing is more important than I first realised. I was not drawing enough in my first and second year, I thought I was only good at certain things. This stopped me from pushing myself to try different styles or looks. My internship really made me see differently and changed my perspective for the better.
What were the most important lessons you learnt during your studies?
Time management is key. Luckily it’s something I have always been reasonable at but I still could have managed my time even better. Also, if there is help being offered do not turn it down. Always say yes to any opportunity and ways to get help or upskill.
What advice would you give to anyone considering a creative degree today?
Have a good portfolio full of drawings showcasing your versatility and skills. Show off what talent you have!
Go with your heart! It sounds cheesy but it is true. I worked full time for 6 years before I decided to go back into education and I’m so glad I did. I’ve gained more knowledge, skills and met some lovely people along the way.
What was the best piece of advice given to you at Plymouth College of Art?
When the tutors tell you to draw, do it and lots of it! Keep drawing as it is the best thing to do to gain confidence and improve. Take advantage of the one to one study zone support or tutor support. Lastly, feedback may not always be what you want but trust me, it's what you need and it helps.
Finally, what’s your advice for the next generation of creatives?
Do not let things knock you down! Keep grinding when applying for jobs and do not feel disheartened if you do not get a reply or do not get the response you want. Work hard and believe in yourself.