UWTSD’s Swansea College of Art Surface Pattern Design and Textiles students work with artist Jan Koen Lomans.


A selection of students and graduates from the BA Surface Pattern Design and Textiles course at The University of Wales Trinity Saint David Swansea College of Art has been approached by Dutch artist and the University’s Professor of Practice Jan Koen Lomans to engage in an artist collaboration, reworking his archive of woven tapestries and to create an exhibition.

The project ‘Dirwedd’ inspired by the local seafront of Caswell Bay manifested into a collection of tapestries. This includes one large piece depicting a scene of waves crashing against barnacle engulfed rocks and mountainous lands cascading in the background, and four complimentary tapestries inspired by the water and waves alone, carefully handcrafted from handmade fringing, screen printed and foiled drawings and hand stitch.

Emily Kavanagh, a third year student said:  “This excellent opportunity by Jan Koen Lomans allowed us to work as a team where we created a stunning tapestry piece. The natural elements came through with the beauty of the Welsh landscape. We came across challenges with stitching the fabric from its weight and thickness. However, by working through the layers of fabric and persevering through these obstacles we successfully created a beautiful piece. The fabric inhabited gold wire and thread which enabled our creativity to thrive when it came to reconstructing the fabrics.”

Gemma Yeomans, a student in her final year added: “When exploring the fabrics, we discovered that the materials lent themselves perfectly to a coastal palette which led us to decide on creating a series of textile pieces celebrating our local Caswell Bay. Through various processes of stitch, fabric manipulation and print, we created work that captured moments from the seascape such as the waves crashing against the barnacle engulfed rocks and the traces of seafoam left across the shore. This has been a fantastic opportunity that I have been honoured to be a part of. It was both exciting and challenging to work with unfamiliar materials, it was especially interesting when deconstructing the weaves and finding hidden layers of colour beneath the surface. I also really enjoyed working closely with peers, SPT graduates and Jan Koen Lomans because I was able to learn a lot by being surrounded by so many creative minds!”

After the team created the exhibition, three members of the group had the opportunity to travel to the Netherlands to help set up and view the final exhibition which took place at RE_NATURE art and nature festival in Hertogenbosch. It was a fantastic experience for them, and they were delighted to be shown and be a part of a new way of working.  The exhibition will also be shown at Jan’s Open Studio event in Utrecht in the upcoming month, and at Rademakers Gallery Amsterdam in the future.

Alanis Bailey, a current 4th year student explained: “This opportunity gave me the chance to work on a collaborative project on a broader scale that allowed me to work internationally. Which opens up new possibilities for me to contact possible collaborators to work with virtually in the future. It also helped me realise that I can repurpose and recycle old artwork and create something completely different. I loved the opportunity to bring a bit of Wales to the Netherlands too in our pieces inspired by Caswell Bay.

Freya Booth, another third year student mentioned: “I was so happy to be asked to be involved in such a new opportunity, collaborating with an established artist. Although the materials were new to me, I was excited by the challenge of working in a whole new style than my own personal work while also working with people I haven’t worked with previously. I loved pitching my ideas and composing such an intricate piece that reflected a local and stunning scenery. It was also amazing to see the completed tapestry hung up in the gallery space with the complementary pieces surrounding it as I felt a strong sense of pride and honour.”

Emma Vaughan, a Surface Pattern Design graduate said: “Recently I have learnt that collaborating can open up so many possibilities, taking my work to another level. Not only have I learnt new skills in something that I wouldn't normally have done but I have learnt to listen to other opinions. This collaboration took me on a trip to the Netherlands where I was able to exhibit a body of work which a group of us had worked on over a period of 4 weeks. I was able to see first hand the challenges of setting up an exhibition, there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes. This experience has driven me to start planning my own exhibition in the near future.”

The staff at UWTSD Swansea College of Art recognises this as a golden opportunity for current students and graduates.  Georgia McKie, Head of BA(Hons) Surface Pattern and Textiles added: “We are so lucky to be able to call Jan Koen Lomans our Professor of Practice, he represents all that we hope to instil in our students; tremendous energy, creative courage, a commitment to collaboration and an acute appreciation of the importance of nurturing new talent. Every time we have enabled students to collaborate directly with Jan it has been a true eye-opener for them. Students gain a real sense of the challenges and thrills that go into the work and installation of the major design shows and events that they take part in together.

This group of students and graduates have impressed us enormously; learning from each other, working together, borrowing from each other’s experience, and working directly with Jan. They have embraced technology to navigate an international live brief located between two studio locations – another first for us! It has been a pleasure to stand back and watch them flourish.”

Naomi Seaward, an artist in residence at UWTSD shared: “Working together as a collaborator with Jan Koen Lomans has been an enriching and valuable experience for me as a designer. I have had the privilege to exhibit work internationally to a diverse audience, but also the opportunity to work collectively, sharing ideas and concepts from very different backgrounds and specialisms. It has fuelled my own design process, and I am excited to continue to exhibit in the public space in the future with not only my own work but also with others.”

Further Information

Lowri Thomas, Principal Communications and PR Officer

07449 998476