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Fochabers student Ruadhan has prestigious textiles honour all sewn up


By Alan Beresford

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A STUDENT from Fochabers has won a prestigious honour at the annual Weaver Incorporation Career Enhancement Awards.

Martin Wiseman, Deacon of Aberdeen Weavers’ Incorporation, congratulates winner Ruadhan Curran (right) and runner-up Eilidh Naysmith. Picture: Martin Parker, Gatehouse Design Agency
Martin Wiseman, Deacon of Aberdeen Weavers’ Incorporation, congratulates winner Ruadhan Curran (right) and runner-up Eilidh Naysmith. Picture: Martin Parker, Gatehouse Design Agency

Ruadhan Curran, who is studying for a BA (Hons) in Fashion and Textiles at Gray's School of Art in Aberdeen, was presented with the J Gray Kilgour Medal, a certificate of excellence and a cheque for £800. She created a project, entitled A Figure of Fun, and intertwined elements of clowns, cartoons, slapstick and accidental exposure of the body, through a knitwear lens. She used the financial assistance to buy her first knitting machine.

Recognised as being one of the most important prizes for textile students in the UK, the annual awards, held recently at Trinity Hall and are presented by the Weaver Incorporation, one of the Seven Incorporated Trades of Aberdeen

These honours, now in their 37th year, are presented to an outstanding student and runner up from the Fashion & Textiles degree course at Gray’s School of Art at Robert Gordon University.

The awards support the close relationship between Gray’s School of Art and the Aberdeen Weaver Incorporation and their shared commitment to support the growth of skills in the Scottish textile sector.

For the first time, the winning students will receive dedicated business support from the Weaver’s Incorporation, and a mentor to guide them with their future careers as emerging professionals.

This support will complement the cash prize, awarded to the winning students to secure experiences such as a study trip, equipment and materials, or additional training such as specialised workshops, which will help them with their future careers.

Ruadhan Curran is all smiles after her win. Picture: Nicole Paterson, Gray’s School of Art
Ruadhan Curran is all smiles after her win. Picture: Nicole Paterson, Gray’s School of Art

A delighted Ruadhan said: “This award has been an unbelievable privilege to receive.

"Beyond the tangible benefits of the financial support, this award has given me a newfound confidence in myself, my work, and in my pursuit to become a knitwear designer. I cannot thank the Aberdeen Weavers enough for their support.

“As I’d like to have my own knitwear business in the future, I decided to invest my money into a knitting machine, linker and a wide variety of yarns. Being able to purchase this equipment has not only given me the means to produce and develop garments for this future business; but has also allowed me to practice and refine my technical abilities over the summer.

“The relationship between Gray’s and the trades association is such an invaluable one. For fashion and textile students like myself, the opportunity to pitch our projects to specialists within the industry is extremely significant; it gives us first-hand experience in conducting ourselves (and our work) professionally as emerging designers.

"By being actively involved with Gray’s, the Weavers and Tailors can also oversee the new generation of designers, supporting the future production of fashion and textiles within Aberdeen.”

Eilidh Naysmith hard at work. Picture: Nicole Paterson, Gray’s School of Art
Eilidh Naysmith hard at work. Picture: Nicole Paterson, Gray’s School of Art

Taking runner-up spot to Ruadhan was fourth year Gray's Fashion and Textiles student Eilidh Naysmith from Peebles.

Deacon of the Aberdeen Weaver Incorporation, Martin Wiseman, who hosted this year’s ceremony, said: “The quality of applications from second and third year fashion and textile students was again of a very high standard and demonstrates the attraction of Gray’s course to students aspiring to develop a satisfying career in the textile industry.”

Head of Fashion and Textiles at Gray’s, and the first female Burgess of Trade and member of the Weaver Incorporation, Elaine Gowans, also joined the celebrations.

She said: “I am absolutely delighted that the awards presented to winner Ruadhan and runner-up Eilidh, recognise the outstanding talent we have at Gray’s School of Art.

“The Aberdeen Weaver Incorporation Career Enhancement Awards are a testament to the close collaboration Gray’s has with the Trades Association and demonstrate Gray’s commitment to nurture and equip our students with the necessary skills to build their careers as emerging professionals.

“As a university, RGU is committed to fostering a vibrant culture of enterprise among our students and the communities we work with, and the close partnership we have with the Aberdeen Weaver Incorporation demonstrates how we are contributing to the economic and social regeneration of the region.”

Head of Fashion and Textiles at Gray’s School of Art, Elaine Gowans, runner up Eilidh Naysmith, winner Ruadhan Curran, Dean of Gray’s School of Art, Libby Curtis (right). Picture: Martin Parker, Gatehouse Design Agency
Head of Fashion and Textiles at Gray’s School of Art, Elaine Gowans, runner up Eilidh Naysmith, winner Ruadhan Curran, Dean of Gray’s School of Art, Libby Curtis (right). Picture: Martin Parker, Gatehouse Design Agency

The awards, which are judged on the basis of a submitted portfolio and interview, go towards helping the students fund an opportunity that will help them in starting their career.


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