Abbie Neave graduated June 2016 from Textile Design at DJCAD. Other than arty things she like going for walks/runs, eating out and going to the bingo. She works as a Catering Assistant for Sodexo at Discovery Point as well as attending DJCAD several days a week as part of the Residency Programme. Read our interview with her below:
Hi Abbie! What’s your main source of inspiration when approaching a new project? Do you do a lot of research before a final design? Who inspires you and why?
My main source of inspiration is colour. I love anything bright and bold and try to capture my colour inspiration through knit design. Currently, I do not do a lot of research before final designs as I just kind of go with my gut and produce – as most of my final designs now come from my graduate collection. But to get to my graduate collection – yes I did have to do a lot of research.
How quickly after uni did you find work?
I am still in the same job as I was whilst studying – to be honest – I never looked for a job within my specialism as I wanted to work part-time to undertake the Residency Programme and travel before I settle down with a career.
How much creative freedom do you feel you get in your current job/internships/projects?
My current job as a catering assistant – unfortunately I get little or no creative freedom there – I do sometimes get asked to design displays, etc within the cafe. On the other hand, I have lots of creative freedom within the residency programme as I have full access to workshops, materials and facilities.
Do you actively seek work or wait for commissions to come to you? How do you find work?
No I don’t actively seek work but I will be seeking work within the creative industry once I return from my travels!
Do you feel connected to the people or networks that were available in your undergraduate degree? How do you manage to make new contacts?
Because of the residency programme I do not miss any resources as I am allowed access to facilities, etc within DJCAD. The only thing I miss is the atmosphere of a full working studio and the buzz that came from everyone in the same studio all day, every day. I think that is where a lot of creativity happens is when everyone is buzzing around the studio together.
I was lucky enough to make new contacts as I had a studio in WASPS so was part of the WASPS community. Unfortunately, I had to give up my studio due to other commitments but I think that being part of that community has allowed me to make contacts, etc within the creative industry. It is not as easy as university though as you have to do this for yourself when you graduate.
What one thing do you know now that you wish you had known when you were leaving uni?
One thing I know now is to never take for granted the creative people you surround yourself with in the studio every day whilst studying – I didn’t think it would be this difficult to continue being creative without all the others surrounding you. Another thing I wish I’d known is how hard it is financially to stay creative!
How do you overcome difficulties during projects such as lack of ideas, motivation etc? Do you find it harder not being at university and having a structure?
Just try to stay motivated – if you are feeling uninspired just go for a walk with a camera and a wee sketchbook!
I agreed with my work set days so I use Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday to work and a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to be creative – it is so difficult not having set briefs but I try to schedule stuff to do by certain months / weeks, etc. It is hard not having the encouragement of tutors and deadlines.
Have you experienced any form of internship, and if so, is it something you would recommend? How did you go about getting one? Are there any websites?
I did an internship throughout uni with Food on Friday which is a Dundee charity which worked with some of the most deprived children of Dundee and taught them valuable life skills. Throughout my time with Food on Friday I was able to do arts and crafts with groups of the most deprived children within Dundee, and work in local primary schools teaching children how to cook healthy etc but in a creative way. Although this was not a pure design based internship, it was so eye-opening and valuable to me and thought it was an integral part and helped me gain confidence, and contacts. I found out about this through DJCAD and it has helped me realise what I enjoy doing and a possible career path.
Do you have any plans for the future?
I have no idea! I am just going to see what happens.
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