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From textile graduate to entrepreneur: Meet Mirella Dry

Get inspired as we sit down with Mirella Dry to talk about her journey from AUP graduate to entrepreneur. Discover insights into her career in textiles and her role as Head Print Technician at Juice Studios. Learn about her small business, Mirella Designs, and her passion for screen printing.
<p dir="ltr">After graduating from our <a href="">BA (Hons) Textile Design</a> course in 2022, alumna <a href="">Mirella Dry</a> has carved out a niche for herself in the world of textiles as both the Head Print Technician at <a href="">Juice Studios</a> in Hull and the proud owner of <a href="">Mirella Designs</a>. </p> <p dir="ltr">Almost two years on from her degree, Mirella sat down with us to talk about her professional journey, the lessons she has learnt from industry to opening her own business, and how her time at Arts University Plymouth has played a pivotal role in her career development. <br /></p>
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Mirella Dry

<p dir="ltr"><strong>What’s your current role and its responsibilities?</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">After graduating from university, I worked as a Freelance Test Knitter for <a href="">Blacker Yarns</a> up until I got my current role as Head Print Technician at Juice Studios, in Hull as well as running my own business, Mirella Designs. </p> <p dir="ltr">My new role entails everything from teaching people to screen print and running print workshops to testing new materials and organising deliveries. This role not only shows others the joy of screen printing but also allows me to develop my practice and create products for my own small business. As owner of Mirella Designs, I create print designs which are then made into beautiful handcrafted garments and accessories including dungarees.<br /></p>
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Mirella Dry's Graduate Collection, 'Succulent Terraria', Modelled by Stacy Dube

<p dir="ltr"><strong>How has this experience contributed to your personal and professional growth so far?</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Although the role is fairly new to me, I started it in October, I’ve already learnt a lot about setting up a print studio and learning different pieces of equipment. The biggest thing I’ve learnt as a textiles screen-printer is learning paper screen printing and the different techniques it takes compared to what I was taught for fabric.</p> <p dir="ltr">My small business has been a completely different experience and has provided me with life skills, like doing my own accounts, money management and customer skills. My business is nearly a year old and I feel like I’ve learnt a lot about my customer base, including what sells and doesn’t sell, what people love about my art but mainly I’ve learnt to believe in myself.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>What methods, materials, or techniques do you particularly favour and enjoy incorporating into your creative process at Mirella Designs? </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Screen printing will always be my favourite method whether that’s in my job as a screen print technician or as a small business owner that loves creating special handmade items. Whilst I was studying my degree, I acquired skills in screen-printing and used the <a href="">Textile Studio</a> facilities, especially the screen printing room. </p> <p dir="ltr">In my business I use a lot of digital printing and software which is completely different but I think the mix between the heritage craft and the new is a lovely way to let both methods co-exist together.<br /></p>
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Graduate Summer Showcase, Mirella's 'Succulent Terraria' collection

<p dir="ltr"><strong>Why did you choose to study at Arts University Plymouth, and how did you find your course? What is your favourite thing about the university?</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Originally from East Yorkshire, I chose to study at Arts University Plymouth because it has the most amazing creative community, which accepts you for who you are; letting you flourish as a creative designer. I chose to study in Plymouth because of the amazing atmosphere, facilities and tutors.</p> <p dir="ltr">As well as the campus itself, I thought my course was honestly amazing! The tutors are really lovely people and really encourage you to become your own unique designer. The facilities on the Textile Design course are brilliant, it equips you with all of the tools necessary to learn everything you ever needed to know- from the screen printing room to the dyeing facilities and even a dedicated Mac Suite so you can design, create and make. </p> <p dir="ltr">In my final year, our year group decided to go to New Designers and it was a once in a lifetime opportunity for us all. Without the help of our amazing tutors we wouldn’t have been able to have these opportunities.<br /></p>
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Mirella Dry's final collection, digital print

<p dir="ltr"><strong>What aspirations do you have for the future, both in your role as Head Print Technician at Juice Studios and as the Owner of Mirella Designs?</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">I plan to continue teaching new people to screen print so that this wonderful heritage craft stays alive for generations to come. I want to continue my small business, attend more markets and create new exciting print designs. My new goal for this year is to accept some freelance work and build a small body of clients.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>What guidance would you offer to aspiring students aiming to enter the Textile/Print industry?</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Never give up on your dreams, no matter how far out of reach they are! Be creative, try not to compare yourself to others, let go and just be you. And most importantly, listen to your tutors. They know what they are on about and they’re there to help you.</p> <p dir="ltr">Are you interested in textile design and would like to study a creative degree? Find out more about our BA (Hons) Textile Design degree by coming along to our <a href="">Open Day</a> on Saturday 23 March where you can tour our studios and meet our lecturers.<br /></p>