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Sixth Form students cotton on to the environment

13 February 2015

Three Sixth Form students from Gloucestershire College’s Royal Forest of Dean Campus have had their work recognised following a collaborative project between the College’s Art Department and officers from the Joint Waste Team, based at Forest of Dean District Council.

The project focused on the theme of cotton; exploring its history and manufacture but also addressing sustainability and environmental issues, including the reuse and recycling of cotton fabric.

As part of their brief, the first-year Sixth Form students submitted sketchbooks, as well as a final piece of applique artwork, which demonstrated their practical skills and ‘told a story’ about the origins of cotton production.

17-year-old Tom Claridge from Mitcheldean and Amy Edwards from Cinderford, and 16-year-old Rhiannon Jones from Coleford, were judged to have produced highly individual pieces which demonstrated a range of sewing techniques and were executed to a high finish. Each received a prize in recognition of their work from the District Council.

Gloucestershire College’s Art and Design Lecturer, Gail Reeve-Jones, said: “The students have worked hard on producing some really outstanding pieces, which will go towards their year-end assessments, and it has been fantastic to see their different interpretations of the subject matter. 

“As well as learning about British textile designers Tracey Emin and Alice Kettle, students were introduced to the environmental issues associated with cotton – and more widely textiles as a whole – which run across the supply chain.  Not only have students been keen to explore these wider issues but have taken inspiration from them too.”

Councillor Marrilyn Smart, Cabinet Member for the Environment at the District Council, who presented the winners with their prizes, said: “Officers from the Joint Waste Team at the Council have been working with the College’s Art Department for a number of years now to promote textile reuse and recycling and we have been delighted to be asked again this year.

"Textiles is one of the fastest growing waste materials and with some two million tonnes being purchased in the UK each year, it is disappointing that almost three quarters will still end up in landfill sites. We hope this project and others like it will help educate young people in the importance of textile reuse and recycling.”

A collection of the students’ artwork is currently on display in the main reception area at the Council’s offices in Coleford.

With thanks to Forest of Dean District Council for this story.

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