Seeing as this year’s graduates are about to showcase their final collections and leave behind the comfort of university, we’ve caught up with the graduates of 2014. They discuss their experiences, achievements, hopes and losses since graduating with us.
Kingston – illustration – – 
Working as a technical fellow at Kingston University after her graduation means Alice Stewart has had the time to focus on learning skills. She’s experimented in digital cross-stitching and has invented the concept of ‘digital immigrants’ (aka computer-illiterate grandparents).
Volt Café: Sum up what you do in one sentence
Alice Stewart: I’m a technical fellow at Kingston University’s Hackspace, where I’m learning how to do electronics, programming and 3D printing in order to help students make experimental and interactive projects.
VC: You’ve taken up a technical fellowship at Kingston University, based at Hackspace. Do you think practising with different interactive technologies (such as 3D printing) will help you progress further in your career than just developing ideas?
AS: For me, the best thing about the fellowship is that I’ve been given the time to learn actual skills rather than just thinking and idea generation. If I don’t learn fast, then I can’t really be of use to anyone, so it’s really pushed me to become better at a bunch of new and quite random skills. Learning new things is refreshing and unlocks new ways of thinking up ideas too, so it’s a win-win situation! As I work fairly digitally, it does really help to understand basic electronics as the backbone of technology, so it’s provided me with some perspective on where I fit within the industry.
google tapestry
VC: You’ve done an internship at a digital ad agency; do you think you’d want to work in digital advertising?
AS: One day I would love to give digital advertising a proper shot, but it really depends as it’s such a huge industry. I still see digital advertising as a grey area because on one hand it’s annoying pop-ups and gimmicks, but on the other hand people are doing really amazing and innovative things with technology, and working alongside large brands allows for a good amount of money to filter into quite meaningful projects. It would be fun to work on my own stuff but have that fit into the advertising world somehow, which would be ideal.
VC: Where did the idea for your digital cross-stitch project come from?
AS: I read an essay at the beginning of the project by Marc Prensky called Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. It was a real catalyst for the project as it pretty much outlined an audience for me to try and communicate to. I decided to introduce true ‘digital immigrants’, basically a typical digitally illiterate grandparent, to the Internet, but through a familiar, nostalgic and tactile medium. I wanted to draw upon the similarities between pixels and stitches as craft forms, as well as play with around with iconography, and that’s how the project amalgamated into what it is now.
VC: What made you decide to pursue digital art over physical mediums?
AS: Towards the end of my degree my tutor turned to me and said ‘you are a digital illustrator’ and it surprised me because I really appreciate physical craft and things that are tactile. I still really value craft and feel like a running theme or goal in my research is to use the digital to enhance or question crafts that already exist. For some reason my work is forever trying to figure out what makes physicality so special in comparison to the digital. This is an on-going challenge for me – so whenever I work in digital mediums it’s sort of done with a hyper-awareness of the physical.
VC: What music artists do you think have the biggest impact on the fashion industry in terms of style and artistic inspiration?
AS: This is possibly the most cliché answer but David Bowie has and will be an impact. He’s managed to cover enough ground to be an inspiration to everyone at some point.
VC: If you had to pick one designer to wear for the rest of your life, who would it be and why?
AS: I’d definitely choose Pierre Cardin’s retro-futuristic collections of the 60s. If I had to look like a trekkie for the rest of my life, I’d consider that a good deal.

Words by Annie Lunnon and Danielle Westwood


3D, Alice Stewart, Craft, cross-stitching, Digital Immigrants, Hackspace, Illustration, Kingston, Pierre Cardin, Technology,