THE winner of the Whitchurch Silk Mill’s textile design competition on Jane Austen has been announced.

The competition, held in partnership with Winchester School of Art, was to produce a textile design to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death.

The students were asked to produce a design which reflected Jane Austen’s enduring influence for a modern-day audience, and offered the winning student the chance to produce their fabric on the handloom in the Mill’s café.

The winner was one of the students, Nicole Calliste, who made a design that was inspired by the character of Catherine Moreland from Austen’s Northanger Abbey.

Even though she is not one of Austen’s more well-known characters, Nicole believed that the imagination and inquisitive nature of the character marks her out as a heroine who would resonate with the youth of today.

Mill director, Sue Tapliss, said: “Nicole’s design leapt out from the page with its strong use of colour of embellishments. This is the sort of fabric a young woman of great imagination and creativity may have chosen today.”

As a part of the competition, the students were also tasked to come up with ideas for gifts that would then be produced and made available from the Silk Mill’s shop.

Nicole has suggested a pencil case, which the Silk Mill liked as it would appeal to families, one of the main aims of the Mill.

Nicole will be weaving her design in the Easter period, and the pencil cases and other items will be available from the Silk Mill from June onwards.

This competition is one of the events happening all over Basingstoke and the surrounding areas this year to commemorate the Steventon-born author’s death 200 years ago. The Silk Mill will soon be revealing their summer programme titles ‘Austen Undressed’, which includes the historic mill being used as a venue that will host one of the book benches in the ‘Sitting with Jane’ sculpture trail.

Other events planned for the anniversary year include a statue of the Pride and Prejudice writer being made to be placed in the town centre later on this year.