Rare Thread | Internship 2019
Updated: Apr 30
Over the summer, I was fortunate to intern at Rare Thread, London. Those three months gave me such unique and special experiences that will be hard to articulate, but were invaluable to me.
A selection of the variety of commissions the studio would receive.
The most obvious advantage that is to be gained from interning is being able to actually see what studio work is really like! It breaks down the studio names, their work and reputations to a small team of talented and skilful creatives who are also down to earth juggling a working life. Kirsty, Laura and Sally were so welcoming and friendly, making me feel very involved with the work that was happening in the studio. It was an amazing insight into the variety of jobs they do, from how commissions, sales and designs are developed through various methods of communications and over varying time scales.
A selection of samples I wove during my time interning.
The next thing I quite quickly realised I would be gaining while interning, was the experience to work on a much wider variety of looms, warps and for contexts that I wouldn’t be able to have experience of at Uni. The way we are guided to produce work at Uni can sometimes limit you to only being able to actually weave on a limited number of warps, and when this determines grades the pressure can limit you from being too experimental and the range of techniques you try is very limited. I didn’t quite realise the extent of this until I had this freedom to weave, with less or little planning and development which was an invaluable opportunity to explore, learn, practice and develop my skills and techniques.
A selection of jacquard designs by Laura or Kirsty.
The biggest attribute to this was the experience of weaving on the Jacquard. Whilst initially only weaving up samples designed by Kirsty or Laura, their knowledge, skill and experience in designing for the jacquard gave me excellent exposure to the endless possibilities woven jacquard designs have. An advantage of being there for an extended period of time, meant that when there was a period when the studio was a bit quieter, Sally could show me how to design for the jacquard and gave me the opportunity to weave one myself. This has given me so much inspiration and experience that I am so excited to take back to Uni.
Being an intern is such a unique experience because you are inspired, educated and humbled all at once. At Uni it is so easy to be in a bubble, with the small number of peers on your course, but beyond Uni is an industry and a whole country of other graduates, just the same as you. The opportunity to bring yourself out of the bubble will give you an introduction to the industry and to interns from other Unis which will deepen your understanding and connections, opening your mind completely and can increase your ability to be a valuable asset to the industry.
Having this experience as a student will allow you to push yourself to learn more, improve your own skills all while in the safe confines of it not being in the context of earning a living. Exposing yourself to a variety of aspects of the industry can help you identify what you know you enjoy doing, and hone what areas you would like to work in after Uni. Not everything I wove was stunning that could contribute to their portfolio, but the chance to practise and explore in such an open environment gave me the confidence to ask questions and provided me with an irreplaceable and crucial experience.
I am so grateful for the opportunities Laura, Kirsty and Sally gave me while working with them over the summer, and I truly loved every second of it. Thank you.
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