Graduates 2023: Tracey Horan: MA Textiles

“You are never too old, and you never know where it is going to take you, go for it!”

Please tell us a bit about your work and your influences

For my Textiles MA, I have focused on discarded denim, not just the complex environmental issues it causes but its versatility, durability and beauty. In my opinion because of its ubiquitous nature, denim resonates with many, making its creative reuse an excellent platform to elevate sustainable living.

The construction of jeans, the variation in seams and selvedge has become a focal point of my work. I use all components, rivets, buttons and labels these are becoming obsolete in the production of future jeans, to make them easier to recycle.

I’m also using ex-retail mannequins and parts of mannequins, made from fibreglass, metal, plastic and stryrofoam that usually end up in landfill to create a Surrealist vibe to my work. To me Surrealism is thought provoking, it offers the unexpected and a strange beauty, it makes people linger longer and think differently than they might have.

Denim flora features with my denim clad mannequins. Last year I demonstrated making these flowers at three London design shows, they are a quirky, longer lasting alternative to dried flowers and more eco-friendly than artificial flowers.

Can you tell us a bit about your journey to you course and made you choose it?

I have worked with recycled textiles for years but I wanted to be experimental, to challenge myself and through research, to find a deeper understanding of repurposed denim and its potential.

What were the highlights of the course for you?

It’s been inspiring to meet so many students and tutors over the last two years, I enjoyed the guest speakers that we have been lucky enough to meet too. Access to the workshops and inductions has really helped me focus my practice and hone my techniques.

Was the location of your course in Brighton important?

I live quite local to Brighton and I’m a mature student settled in the area, so to be honest it was the only choice for me, but it has been a great choice!

What are your plans after graduation? What’s next for you?

Through after-life denim and ex-retail mannequins, I aim to create an outlet for my work and to elevate sustainable business profiles. The projection would be transferring my techniques for use with alternative repurposed textiles, and I will also continue to provide workshops and demonstrations about the creative reuse of textiles.

What advice would you give to someone considering doing postgraduate study?

You are never too old, and you never know where it is going to take you, go for it!

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