Award-winning textile designer Daniel Heath visits Arts University Plymouth
Based in the heart of East London, the designer-maker has long upheld principles of craftsmanship and sustainable design through up-cycling and re-appropriation of authentic heritage materials. Trained in the traditional process of silk-screen printing at the Royal College of Art, he set up his studio in 2007 to make bespoke, hand printed wallpapers and crafted interior surfaces exclusively made to order. More recently, Daniel has regularly appeared in BBC’s Money for Nothing, upcycling furniture into screen printed or etched masterpieces.
Specialising in hand illustrated and screen printed artisanal surfaces, Daniel champions a sustainable approach with minimal waste. His most recent work uses innovative textile industry techniques, including UV printing and etching, to add decorative surfaces to discarded and redundant materials.
Daniel Heath during the workshop with textiles students
Drawing has always underpinned his surface pattern designs, and many have references to a time or a place to form engaging narratives. Daniel utilises technologies, such as laser engraving, to create many of his unique designs. The outcomes cross the boundaries between technology and craft to create modern design pieces that embody traditional values yet contemporary aesthetics.
Our multidisciplinary textile community at Arts University Plymouth has a strong focus on craftsmanship and sustainable practice, so we were delighted to have Daniel on site to share his expertise.
Daniel gave BA (Hons) Textile Design students a live demonstration of how he created screen printed 'Heronry' design. Students had a unique opportunity to witness the registration of screens and the technical expertise needed to align and print multiple colours, in addition to working with Daniel to pull the colours through. Daniel also gave a demo of his approach to block and half drop repeat pattern design, an industry standard for achieving aesthetically-pleasing patterns.
Daniel Heath’s ‘Heronry’ design
During his visit, Daniel Heath said, “It is rare to see such a wealth of facilities as you have in Arts University Plymouth. It is an incredible site.”
BA (Hons) Textiles student Ruthie Holmes said: “It was a fantastic workshop. Totally immersive and inclusive. Dan’s wealth of knowledge is immense and his kindness at sharing it freely with us is very much appreciated and respected. I have learned so much by being hands on. Dan is very approachable and I felt comfortable asking him questions about his work and practice.”
Daniel guiding students through his screen printing methods
Student Boo Crispin said: “Dan's presentation was interesting, useful and insightful and both inspired me and gave me a lot of hope. To see the variety of applications, how he has gone about placing his creations within the market and how he has forged a career for himself really made me think about the different pathways and routes to making a living out of screen printing. This is something that I have become incredibly passionate about since starting my degree at Arts University Plymouth. He was so engaging but also open to answering all the questions we had, even ones about pricing, materials, and methods most might consider trade secrets. His knowledge was invaluable.”
“Seeing Dan actually demonstrate how he works, talking us through everything step by step and us being able to ask questions as we went was a real positive for me. I felt I learnt and understood so much more of the design and screen printing process after the session.”
Students learning more about Daniel’s screen printing methods
Emma Gribble, Senior Lecturer & Course Leader for BA (Hons) Textile Design said: “It is crucial for students to interact with design specialists like Daniel Heath and have an understanding of how the design industry operates. To have industry professionals using our wonderful screen printing facilities, demonstrating industry standard techniques alongside our students is such a powerful learning tool. We champion a sustainable, artisanal approach to textiles, embedding this approach to every step of the design stage to have support from world renowned designers such as Daniel is such a boost to our course.”