A GROUP of art and design students studying the Level Three Cambridge Technical course at Queen Mary’s College have been participating in an upcycle bag project this year with Open Studios artist Valentina Tikhonova.

Armed with hundreds of personalised tote bags that were surplus to requirements, Open Studios asked QMC students to design and repurpose the fabric into something new and innovative, using Basingstoke as the theme.

They accepted the challenge, developed their ideas and executed them to show awareness of the human impact on the environment.

The project linked with the upcycling and textiles elements of the full time course that also covers a wide range of other units including ceramics, graphics, fine art, sculpture and print making.

The final pieces are being displayed as part of the ‘Inspire’ exhibition at the Willis Museum until May 25 for members of the public to enjoy.

Valentina said: “During the Upcycle OS18 Bag project students from QMC demonstrated very good skills and willingness to learn.”

Grace Fincham, teacher of textiles at the college added: “The project was a fantastic opportunity for the students to put into practice the skills they have learnt as part of the upcycling unit of their course.

“They really enjoyed the opportunity to apply those skills in a real scenario and to exhibit their work in the Willis Museum.”

Emilia Biddiscombe won an overall prize for her upcycled jacket and was presented with a congratulatory certificate while all of the students who took part were presented with printed silk scarves that had been designed, hand-printed and stitched by Valentina.