Ones to Watch: Jane Harper
As a waitress in a Manchester restaurant, Jane Harper wasn’t looking to change the course of weaving. Studying Photography at A-levels, then doing a foundation degree, she came across a Central Saint Martins prospectus – and the rest, as they say, is history. After graduating from the Textile Design program, she won the 2012 Peter Collingwood Charitable Trust Award in recognition for her loom-based work. Not bad for an artist who claims to have “never had a true ‘passion’ for fabrics.”
Interior Design: What was it about the Central Saint Martins textile program that spoke to you?
JH: I was interested in different approaches to materials and structures, and it sounded like I could learn a lot of different techniques that would allow me to adapt and choose my own pathway as a designer.
ID: Was it challenging, not necessarily coming from a textile background?
JH: The biggest challenge was probably meeting the deadlines, as there’s always more you can do with a project. My final year was rewarding in that sense, as we had the whole year to look into an area of woven design in which we were interested, so we were able to explore all its pathways.
ID: How have you found the textile and design marketplace?
JH: There’s ample talent around the world, but design gets swamped by the need to cut costs and provide the notion of “fast fashion.” I would like to see it become a lot more localized, with designers and makers creating fabrics from their surroundings with local produce, using local means.
ID: Speaking of which, how was the move to London?
JH: The opportunity to live in London and meet people from all parts of the world was one of the most rewarding parts of my time at CSM. But I’ve moved back to Manchester now, back working as a waitress, saving and getting to know others who are working in the creative industries in my local area.
ID: What’s next for you?
JH: I’m currently enrolled in a furniture design course, as I want to explore other craft techniques that could be combined with the type of three-dimensional weaving I do. And I’m getting a studio space that will allow me to start experimenting and making pieces of woven design for a more commercial market.