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Textiles (MA)

Phoebe-Jo Manktelow

I am a mix-media textile artist who is motivated to create textiles that bring across a sociological message to promote change and liberation for individuals and groups in society. I am inspired by textile activists and artists from both past and present. My project ‘Bit rough isn’t it?’ is based on the social stigma faced living within a council housing estate. 

“Bit rough isn't it?” - is a common phrase you hear when you tell people you live in Greenstead, a council estate in Essex.The stigma of growing up on council estates was the main inspiration for creating my work. Researching into how media and news portray individuals and what social housing is like, has generated passion and the fight to show what life is like in a council estate from an insiders perspectives. Having discussions with family, friends and reconnecting with my community gave me the idea of showing the solidarity, strength and resilience of life there.

Using a variety of mix-media techniques of print, embroidery and patch-working, I set out to create pieces that use materials and techniques as a metaphor to bring across this message. Using scrap materials and yarns was a way to convey the idea that just like how scraps are seen as something that is ‘useless’ and ‘discarded’ matches the negative views given to social housing communities. However, when stitched and bonded together we are a rich, diverse community that is connected with strength, resilience, and support. 

Degree Details

School of DesignTextiles (MA)RCA2023 at Battersea and Kensington

RCA Kensington, Darwin Building, Seventh floor

Close up of denim, machine stitches, fabric prints, embroidery and scrap materials joined together.

My goal as a multi-media textile artist is to use textiles as an activist tool to raise awareness of some of today’s sociological issues. I am driven and inspired by working class artists and activists, both historical and contemporary. 

Within the creative industry, working class artists need more of a voice, a platform and a place to express themselves which is why within my research, I looked into creatives who are working class and who could relate to the struggle of survival in the creative world. This has encouraged me to explore outreach, community–based work to run workshops that allow people to express themselves creatively. 

Additionally, I want to be as sustainable as possible within my work. Using mainly waste materials has allowed me to do so. I collected scraps from a variety of different resources in order to create my pieces, but also experimented with bio-plastics to create my own sequin detailing within my work.

Two pieces of material printed with words 'council house' and 'we're not scum' embellished on top with lose pieces of wool in it
Brick pattern printed pieces of fabric with scrap material and wool, attached together with a stitched pattern and bio sequins.
Two samples of green, pink and brown wool with a mixture of scrap material stitched together using a brick pattern.
Hot pink wool spelling out the word 'Rough' with dark purple wool layered underneath with stitches holding it together.
Orange, blue, purple and hot pink wool all mixed and layered together with light blue stitching creating an image of a door.
Pieces of material that have a brick and door pattern printed on them being held together using wool spelling 'community'.
Pieces of scrape materials in a mixture of different colours joined together with machine embroidery stitches.
Two samples placed next to each other made from scrape materials, bio-plastic sequins and machine embroidery stitches.
print with the words house, greenstead and estate in pink and blue with an orange and green backing detailing on denim.
orange, pink and blue on denim with embroidery on top.
two samples made from scrap materials that have been printed and embroidered on joined together with machine stitches.
close up of scrap material and yarn joined together with machine stitches in a brick pattern.
close up of a top made completely with scrap materials and yarns.
Close up of a skirt panel made from denim that is printed and embroidered on with scrap materials joined together with stitches.
Top and front skirt panel hanging with together made from denim, prints, embroidery and scrap materials joined together.
Front skirt panel draping down made from denim, prints, embroidery and scrap materials joined together.

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