Fashion & Textiles Students Produce Tote Bags for Drum Castle

Fashion and Textiles students at Gray’s School of Art have teamed up with Drum Castle to produce a range of tote bags inspired by the historic building.
L-R Emily Burnel, Lee Morrow, Emma Fuhrmann, Josie Steed, Dr Alison Burke, Charlotte Snow and Holly Weston

The live project has seen the 36 first year students each produce their own unique design, with the cotton shopping bags set to go on display at the castle in February 2016 as part of a public vote. The most popular design will then potentially be produced and sold in the castle shop. As part of the project the students visited Drum Castle to gain insight into the attraction, which is the oldest intact National Trust for Scotland (NTS) property, and enable them to capture the spirit of the castle in their designs.

They were also required to produce sketchbooks and research analysis, showing the development of their ideas, as well as a presentation board visualising the theme of their design inspiration. Property Manager of Drum Castle, Dr Alison Burke, said given the attraction’s links with the Aberdeen art world, working with the art school was a natural step. She said: “We are very excited to be working with the students at Gray’s and I was incredibly moved to see the combined impact of their designs – it was like seeing the castle completely anew through the eyes of the country’s most creative talent.

“An image can define a property so we were very keen that the students got a good sense of what the castle is all about and understood its key messages.

“We set the students a brief to capture the spirit of the castle, to design something that people would want to use every day as their shopping bag and which would help us spread the message about Drum as a visitor attraction.” Lecturer Elaine Gowans said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for our first year students to be involved in a live project and to work with a client to respond to a specific brief.

“We are looking forward to seeing the designs go on display in Drum next year and to hear the public feedback on the bags.” She added: “It is great experience for the students and will stand them in good stead as they progress through the rest of the course.” Drum is currently home to an outstanding collection of contemporary art on loan from the city’s Aberdeen Art Gallery while the gallery undergoes a major refurbishment.

The Human Presence exhibition, which explores how artists capture a human presence, sees a number of mid and late 20th century figurative paintings and contemporary installation works placed in a new context in the historic setting of Drum Castle. It is open on weekends, all year round.

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