Jade has designs on an English institution
Released: Wednesday 4th July 2012 at 16:57
A young North East student is hoping put new life into one of England’s most established organisations – by designing a 21st century makeover for the Women’s Institute.
The Women’s Institute (WI) would seem an odd source of inspiration for a 21 year old student, but, says Jade Scott, when she started looking into a project for her final degree show exhibition, the WI occurred to her immediately – and to her surprise it was not the staid, middle aged, middle class institution she had expected.
“I wrote my dissertation on the revival of craft and handmade art,” said Jade, who graduates from her BA Illustration and Design degree next week. “Crafts like sewing and cross stitch are becoming very popular hobbies, but also are being used more and more in contemporary art, particularly illustration. I looked into the work of the WI as part of my research, so when it came to doing my final exhibition it seemed like the obvious next step to dig a bit deeper.”
Jade, from Thornaby, spent the next few months researching the WI, and was surprised to find that it was much more than a meeting place for women. She discovered that the Institutes were spearheading important campaigns nationally, and working hard in their local communities.
“My local WI, at Thornaby and Ingleby Barwick, invited me along. It was quite nerve racking, but they were lovely and very open to my ideas. There were some older people, but I was surprised to find there was a big cross section of ages and backgrounds.
“I came away with a very clear aim to show what they are all about. Their website didn’t really put across what they do as a group, and for the wider community. Everyone thinks it is for old people, but it isn’t – in Brighton University, for instance, they have a WI. Obviously the Women’s Institute want to be contemporary and appeal to a wider audience, and that’s what I wanted to reflect in my designs.”
Jade created several campaign leaflets and a new Handbook for the Women’s Institute, which she is planning to show the members of the Thornaby and Ingleby Barwick WI at their next meeting in July.
“They really are ‘Women’s Institute, aimed at all women from 18 to 80,” says Jade, “and I hope I’ve reflected that in my work. They were really open to my ideas, and it was a lot of fun, and I’ve tried my best to bring that sense over in my work.”