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Graduates in the running to be the next Rising Star 2020

Five emerging designer makers from crafts and applied art courses at the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) will exhibit their work at the Rising Stars 2020 exhibition, competing against 20 others for the coveted title.

Rising Stars, which also has a cash prize of £500, takes place at the New Ashgate Gallery in the Craft Town of Farnham throughout March and April. The exhibitors include graduating students, recent graduates and industry newcomers.

© Hermione Thomson

Presence of Absence by Hermione Thomson 

The shortlisted designer makers were selected from a panel of judges, which included UCA Farnham’s Sharon Ting, Programme Director of Textiles and Debra Allman, Programme Director of Jewellery, Ceramics and Glass, as well as Outi Remes, Director of the New Ashgate Gallery.

“Many of the makers are at a crossroads; they have a full portfolio of fabulous ideas, but are yet to establish their business skills and a network of collectors,” explained Outi. “So, Rising Stars can be a starting point from which makers can establish a career and art collectors have the opportunity to support and collect new work by these future stars.”

© Beth Gates

Indigo Vessel by Beth Gates

The five shortlisted UCA graduates are Abeer Kayani, Hermione Thomas, Beth Gates, Hannah Staber, and Niamh Duddy.

“My collection is inspired by my upbringing in Derry and the division within communities,” explained Niamh, who graduated from UCA with a BA (Hons) Silver, Goldsmithing & Jewellery*. “I have used Jesmonite to create the shapes, which when working together find an equilibrium, working in unison to keep the ‘peace’ together.

“For me, making is a way of exploring my world and each piece is a conversation starter, from the material they’re made from, to the story of Derry.

© Niamh Duddy

Keeping The Piece, rectangle ring by Niamh Duddy

“I was so excited that my work had been selected for the exhibition. It’s an amazing opportunity to showcase my work alongside some truly amazing makers.”

Abeer, who graduated from BA (Hons) Textiles for Fashion & Interiors** is showcasing textile work that has been highly influenced by her South Asian cultural roots.

“I used colour as a tool to recreate experiences and fleeting moments, capturing this through the use of opulent colours and intricate patterns, which are then screen-printed onto linens and luscious wearable silks,” she said.

© Abeer Kayani

Optic Waves by Abeer Kayani

“This exhibition represents a pivotal moment in my career, showcasing and promoting my work to a wider audience – I look forward to the opportunities and conversations this may bring.” 

Rising Stars runs from 7 March to 18 April at the New Ashgate Gallery, Farnham.

To learn more about studying crafts and applied arts courses at UCA, visit the course pages.


*now BA (Hons) Jewellery & Silversmithing

** now BA (Hons) Textile Design


[Header image: Hannah Staber]