Rebecca Gray

Textile Design BDes (Hons)

Gaining a deeper understanding of material properties and limitations through explorations of creative outcomes.


photograph of Rebecca Gray in black and white

Connecting with Materials

My project aims to support the learning of material handling in high school S1&2 Art and Design classes. Learning about the properties of materials and their limitations in a practical, hands-on manner is important because working with your hands promotes fine motor skills such as hand-eye coordination, which is essential in everyday life. In addition to creative thinking, learning through making helps develop pupils' critical thinking skills, allowing them to solve design problems and adapt to situations quickly when their designs do not work.

Throughout this project, I sourced inspiration from the structure of leaves and explored paper and plastic in-depth as they are easily accessible in schools and have different properties that pose their own challenges. My material sampling outcomes were inspired by words used as prompts. Paper designs were based on twist and repetition, while plastic samples were lace-like and irregular. Based on these words, I explored various structures and compositions to generate as many ideas as possible, highlighting the diversity of what pupils could achieve when they are left to explore their creativity freely.

My final designs are exemplars that show variety in how you can take a design in a whole new direction. I created cards that allow pupils to pick their material (paper or plastic), word, and shape to see how many innovative ideas they can generate. Every card features an example of how the word could be translated on paper and plastic.


Sample with plastic bags, creating ruffles across the square in a wooden box frame.


Paper curves with twisted paper over the top. Technique is repeated all over the square and sits in a wooden box frame.