Open Studios ‘Inspire’ upcycle bag project with Valentina Tikhonova

A group of Art and Design students, who are studying the Level three Cambridge Technical course at Queen Mary’s College, have been participating in an upcycle bag project this year with Open Studios artist Valentina Tikhonova.

Armed with hundreds of personalised tote bags that were surplus to requirements, Open Studios asked QMC students to design and repurpose the fabric into something new and innovative using Basingstoke as the theme.

They accepted the challenge, developed their ideas and executed them to finished outcomes of an exceptional standard showing awareness of the human impact on the environment and demonstrating a conscious understanding about the design processes throughout. The project linked brilliantly with the upcycling and textiles elements of the full time course that also covers a wide range of other units including ceramics, graphics, fine art, sculpture and print making.

Valentina said: “During the ‘Upcycle OS18 Bag project’ students from QMC demonstrated very good skills and willingness to learn.” Grace Fincham, Teacher of Textiles at the College added “The project was a fantastic opportunity for the students to put into practice the skills they have learnt as part of the upcycling unit of their course. They really enjoyed the opportunity to apply those skills in a real scenario and to exhibit their work in the Willis Museum.”

Emilia Biddiscombe, pictured with Open Studios Artist Valentina Tikhonova, won an overall prize for her upcycled jacket and was presented with a congratulatory certificate. All of the students who took part were also delighted to be presented with printed silk scarves that had been designed, hand printed and stitched by Valentina.

The final pieces are being displayed as part of the ‘Inspire’ exhibition at the Willis Museum until 25th May for members of the public to enjoy.

To find out more about the art courses available at QMC visit and follow @artqmc on Instagram.


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