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Katie Whitton: Brainchild 2012

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Former Long Road and Melbourn Village College student Katie Whitton is celebrating winning Brainchild 2012, a prestigious competition run by NUCA (Norwich University College of the Arts).

Katie studied Art, English Literature and Philosophy at A level and is currently studying for her BA(Hons) Textiles at NUCA.  “It was a Dragon’s Den-style competition,” she explains. “We were given an opportunity to attend professional business workshops with local business mentors, then to submit our ideas. I was one of the six students short-listed to face the panel, and was delighted to win, especially as I was on a two-week placement with Zandra Rhodes when I heard I’d been short-listed, so I had a tight schedule to prepare my presentation.”

Katie’s winning idea is to produce personalised fabrics which allow personal mementoes to be drawn then screenprinted to make a unique fabic. “I really enjoy drawing and screenprinting,” she says. “I first got the idea when I was on a drawing course in Andalucia in Spain.  I loved the local architecture and started drawing buildings which then evolved into fictional towns and cities. From this came the idea of fabrics personalised with people, animals, memorable objects and any other items related to a specific person. I am also planning to produce fabrics for the Diamond Jubilee and the 2012 Olympics as well as items for the tourist industry. Being based in Norwich – and originally from Cambridge –  is perfect for this.”

The fabrics can be used to make items such as cushions, aprons and t-towels and would make ideal wedding gifts. “I am hoping to attend wedding fairs in the future,” adds Katie.

Katie won £1000 to help her develop her business, dedicated mentoring from local business people worth £4000 and a year’s free membership of the Norwich Network.

Katie says of her time at Long Road:

“I really enjoyed textiles at Long Road. My teacher Claire Webb was helpful and taught me a range of techniques which proved to be a good grounding for my degree course. She encouraged me to apply to do textiles at University. I also attended life drawing classes to help me with my drawing.”

Photos: Above – Katie with the Principal of NUCA, John Last, and the Judges Panel Chair Bev Hurley.

Below – Katie’s fictional city