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Textiles (MA)

Jessica Kirkpatrick

Jessica Kirkpatrick is a printed textile designer born and raised in Lancashire, UK.

She focuses on exploring how we, as designers, can reduce the pollution and waste we produce throughout the printing process. Jessica works with locally sourced plants from within Lancashire to explore their potential, experimenting with them to extract the most vivid and full range of colours.

Sustainability and circularity are a constant in her work, as she explores how to continually evolve her practice to support our planet's growth rather than hinder it.

Before her MA in Print at the Royal College of Art, Jessica obtained a distinction for Foundation in Art and Design at the Blackpool and the Fylde College, going on to complete a First Class BA Hons in Textile Design, specialising in printed textiles for interior design at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), UK.

Jessica has explored the future possibility of hosting workshops to share her knowledge and explorations within natural processes and was fortunate enough to visit UCLan Textiles to run a workshop exploring natural dyes using food waste.

She is one of the students running the RCA's Textile Social community for MA Textiles and runs the RCA Textile Social Instagram.

Awards & Residencies:

Merz Barn Residency, Lake District (2022)

Priestman Goode x RCA, Healthy Materials, Colour Material Finish Design, Runner-up (2022)

Lancashire Business Review, Sub36 Awards Finalist (2020)

Creative Lancashire Award for Enterprise (2020)

Royal Society of British Artists (RBA) Scholar, Medieval Ceramic Bowl (2016)


LEGACY, SustainLab RCA, Hockney Gallery, London (2023)

Priestman Goode x RCA, Healthy Materials, London Design Festival, Great Portland Street, London (2022)

Drawn From Youth, Fylde Gallery, Lytham (2016, 2017)

RBA Exhibition, Lloyds Register Gallery, London (2016)

RBA Annual Exhibition, Mall Galleries, London (2016)

Me stood amongst hundreds of foxglove flowers

Growing Home

My work explores the abundance of natural dye plants grown throughout Lancashire.

It is incredible what you can find once you start looking. The annoying weeds down your garden path or the dried-out bush you've meant to prune for the winter–all with the possibility of creating the most beautiful colours.

Circularity is something I strive to achieve in my practice. By sourcing fabrics second-hand instead of buying new ones, I look at ways to reduce textile waste in local landfills. Mode Hotels, a local luxury hotel company, were kind enough to donate their waste bed linen that, once torn or stained, can no longer be used for its original purpose but can be repurposed by me.

I thoroughly document my findings through sketchbooks, recipe books and graphs, exploring the depth of colour you can achieve and the vast array of plants that produce colour, all from my home in Lancashire.

Traditional crafts have been a vital companion to my experiments. I continuously explore the possibility of creating less harmful prints, utilising hand-carved wood blocks, screen printing and Victorian flower pressing.

The ancient practice of patchwork has helped me repurpose waste fabric, giving it new life through stitch and print, mapping the locations of my foraged dye plants and creating abstract pieces.

Why do we continue to harm the environment? Is there no other way? Can textiles be the leading force for change?

Selection of naturally dyed fabrics in shades of purples and greens
The 'Everything Quilt' a vessel for me to exhibit the full range of colours produced, all in one place
The 'Everything Quilt'
Circular graph showing plants used for dying and range of colours achieved
Colour graph
Jars of dye with extracted pigment settling at the bottom ready to be strained out
Extracting dye pigment
Pencil drawing of hollyhock flowers with selection of fabrics I think would work best to create the sample with
Selection of dyed fabrics in shades of pinks and greens, hanging on washing line to dry

Creating Colour

Colour is an important element within design. Throughout my time at the RCA I have developed my own colour palette, through natural dyes, using Lancashire grown plants throughout the seasons.

Cataloging my findings has benefited further dyeing and provides a reference to help replicate certain colours again and again. I am in constant awe at the vibrant colours you can achieve through dyeing naturally and hopefully one day they will be utilised more throughout the textile industry.

Selection of dyed natural fabrics in shades of pinks and yellows
Selection of dyed natural fabrics
A wider example of the full exploration I took in understanding extracting colour from plants.
Colour exploration
Stitched patchwork textile piece displayed on tree
Framed by nature
Sketches I made studying shape and layout of local maps
Mapping Lancashire
Map examined at Lytham Hall Archives
Map of Lytham Hall, early 1900's
Close up image of section of map from Lytham hall

Mapping Through Stitch

I have explored various methods of mapping Lancashire through general area maps, weather maps, geological maps, etc. These mapping systems have inspired the design of my pieces, which I then add extra important detail to through decorative stitches.

Victorian flower pressing is a practice I inherited from my grandma and utilise fully within my practice. I use it to catalogue and record seasonal plants I have encountered in Lancashire.

I had the opportunity to visit the local archives at Lytham Hall to view their map collection, with some maps dating back to the early 1900s. These maps gave me insight into how areas of Lancashire used to look and how they have developed over time.

Using stitch to add important landmarks to finalise a piece
Selection of examples of finishing stitches with diagrams of how to create the stitches along side
Exploring stitch
examples of flowers i have pressed along side my flower presses
Flower pressed samples
Selection of pressed flowers displayed on handmade paper
Pile of scrap pieces of dyed fabrics I save from making my pieces to be utilised in some way in future work
Saving scraps
Ready to carve woodblocks alongside hand drawn crocus templates
Crocus woodblocks
Progress on patchwork piece based on aerial view of fields in lots of shades of green
collection of my hand carved woodblocks
Hand carved woodblocks

Bringing New Life to Discarded Materials

It is important to me to salvage as much as I can. Therefore, I save all scraps as I will find further use of them in future work. Patchwork has helped me use the unusually shaped scraps I have saved from previous projects by developing these into the patchwork pieces you can see here.

Mode Hotels, a local luxury hotel company, were generous enough to donate their waste bed linen for me to use throughout my work. I explored this fabric's dying and printing capability and incorporated it into my patchwork pieces.

I explored traditional woodblock printing, hand carving my printing blocks by drawing inspiration from foraged dye plants. All wood used was salvaged from off-cut bins at local hardware stores.

Image of deconstructed bedsheets donated to me by local chain of hotels
Donated waste bedsheets
Range of colours acheived on donated fabrics from hotel, colours are shades of yellow and pinks
Image of my everything quilt on display draped on podium
The 'Everything quilt' on display at the LEGACY exhibition
Zoomed out image of everything quilt in exhibition
Close up of quilt in exhibition
Birds eye view of show