Faye Bentley Image courtesy of Anna Gravelle3

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Textiles graduate joins luxury fashion brand Mulberry

Graduate Faye Bentley works as a Craftsperson/Stitcher for the internationally-renowned brand

Faye Lillian Bentley, a First Class BA (Hons) Textile Practices graduate from Arts University Plymouth, is now working at luxury fashion brand Mulberry. Alongside working as a Craftsperson for the fashion company, Faye also works as a studio assistant for Anna Gravelle Textiles.

At Mulberry, Faye's craftsmanship shines as she constructs high-end luxury bags, showcasing her commitment to quality and precision. Working alongside Anna Gravelle, Faye explores her passion for tufting and embroidery, creating intricate and unique artworks using a unique tufting sewing machine.

Faye Bentley Image courtesy of Anna Gravelle6

Faye Bentley - Image courtesy of Anna Gravelle

22-year-old Faye said, “Most of the week I’m working as a Craftsperson/Stitcher at The Willows Factory, Mulberry. This involves working with and stitching leather to create high end luxury bags for the world renowned brand. From the way you handle the leather to the final touches, each stage is followed through to the utmost quality and precision. For the second part of my week, I’m a studio assistant to textile designer Anna Gravelle. When commission pieces are in full swing, I assist in making the embroidery tufted artworks, stitching on a unique tufting sewing machine. This has not only taught me so much more about my favourite technique but it’s been such a privilege to work for a designer I really admire.”

Faye Bentley Image courtesy of Anna Gravelle7

Image courtesy of Anna Gravelle

“I’ve gained a lot of knowledge from both jobs on the finishing of textile products and what goes into making them fit for the client, whether it’s refining tufted shapes on the textile murmaration’s with Anna Gravelle or whether it’s perfecting the methods to product a final project for Mulberry’s handmade bags. I have been able to transition those skills into my own practice, too. It’s helped me piece together templates and ideas for my own tufted collection from processes learnt at Mulberry. The best experience has been the joy of working with Anna Gravelle as well as using the tufting sewing machine, such a unique and new method of tufting for me.”

Faye Bentley Image courtesy of Anna Gravelle1

Image courtesy of Anna Gravelle

Born and raised in the town of Street in Somerset, Faye’s passion for textiles ignited during her time at Arts University Plymouth. During her studies, Faye’s design ‘Have a Holly Jolly Christmas’ was chosen for Tate’s annual Christmas Card design competition, with winners selling their realised designs on the Tate website. Faye was also featured in Art University Plymouth’s Class of 2022’s ‘Ones to Watch’, where some of the freshest and most exciting new creatives were given a spotlight.

Faye said, “I studied Textile Practices with a small cohort of like-minded creatives, supported by an amazing team of lecturers. The resources and equipment were unbeatable with several print tables, a spacious dye lab which included natural dyes and a tufting gun, with definitely the best studio space of the whole campus, complete with sea view.”

Faye Bentley Image courtesy of Anna Gravelle4

Image courtesy of Anna Gravelle

“I loved every bit of my time there. The first year was primarily about experimentation and learning all things textiles and surface patterns. I was able to explore what textiles meant to me and discover the style of work I wanted to venture into. Second and third year was where my love for colour and dye really became apparent, spending lots of time perfecting recipes and samples. With access to the tufting studios, allowing me to punch my dyed yarns to create my final graduate piece with industry standard equipment, it allowed me to push my work onto a bigger scale.”

Faye has a passion for colour and texture, specialising in tufting and punch needle, using preparatory work such as painting and collage to create a foundation for her final outcomes. These become artworks in themselves, and show her methodical way of working and enjoyment of the design process.

Faye Bentley Image courtesy of Anna Gravelle3

Image courtesy of Anna Gravelle

Faye said, “I’m inspired by what’s around me and what I can see. Things that visually grasp my attention tend to end up painted or collaged with the intention to become a tactile piece. As I’m surrounded by the outdoors, the beauty of the natural world heavily informs my work. I’m intrigued by gorgeous colours and unusual shapes, which is the basis of my collections, informing both my dyeing and designs. After a recent trip interrailing through Europe, I gathered an abundance of inspiration that I can’t wait to translate into my artworks.”

Faye recently exhibited her work at New Ashgate Gallery for Rising Stars 2023, a curated national platform fostering and championing new talent, early career makers, students and graduates from BA and MA crafts, design and applied arts programmes across the UK. Faye showcased her tufted wall hanging piece ‘A Portal to The Promised Land’ as well as some of her smaller tactile pieces.

Faye Bentley Image courtesy of Anna Gravelle2

Image courtesy of Anna Gravelle

On what students and graduates should do to get into the textile industry, Faye said, “Put together a strong portfolio, keep adding to it and adapting it. Work hard and grab every opportunity that comes your way. If an opportunity arises that isn’t right for you at that time, maintain that relationship as something may come up in the future. Don’t be discouraged by having to work your way up to your dream job, things take time so no need to rush! This is also advice to myself as I’m still very much at the beginning of my career within the industry!”