Goldsmiths Graduate Design Scheme: Dorota Bojanowska turns women’s stories into unique printed garments

The Graduate Design Scheme is an opportunity for Goldsmiths Design graduates to return on campus and work on their own projects: for a fee, they can use a studio space, the workshops, and book machinery. This year, the Design department awarded two bursary places on the scheme to 2018 graduates. One of the winners is Dorota Bojanowska:

What was the idea and process behind your graduation project?

“Girl Girl Girl” is an ongoing design project that has been created to present the beauty of individualism and values that cannot be found within the materialism of the digital culture. The process involves receiving direct responses from women with different stories and experiences (presented in a form of a letter) and then transforming them into a symbolic print. The woman decides which story to share. Each of the letters is handwritten and with unique personal language. The boiler suit that becomes the final form is an un-gendered, multi-use mono garment for everyday wear, representing one of a kind empowerment and beauty.

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The project opens up another possibility for women to articulate their opinions and views. It becomes a discussion starter for other viewers when presented in public. What is their reaction? What’s their opinion? How is this message being communicated to the world?

How are you planning to use your time and space in the Graduate Design Scheme?

Throughout my whole final year, I have been using the textiles workshops almost every day to try and improve my screen printing, as well as for experimenting with new ideas. Having been offered the GDS, I aim to not only continue to do that but also to learn more about other printing facilities we have, and most importantly to explore sewing and garment making techniques.

What kind of work will you be developing?

I’m planning on continuing my third year project in a broader conceptual and technical sense. As part of it, I have created a unique symbolist language that is a combination of Renaissance and Gothic drawings (for example different representations of women’s bodies) and words that have been used by women in their letters. I am hoping to expand this as much as possible by collecting more stories and thus add new symbols and their definitions so that everyone will be able to interpret it their own way. Each of the boiler suits have become a personal manifestation for women that have decided to take part in “Girl Girl Girl”, and an inspiration for me to create an archive of women’s prints that can be admired publicly.

I also plan on experimenting with my drawings and the screen printing technique. I believe that every line that an artist has created represents a one of a kind beauty/story and should never be erased. There is something beautiful in mistakes that we make in different processes, and that makes art an experience, not just contemplation. Every artistic activity should have a strong message for the public. We live in times in which beauty has been reduced to a two – dimensional reality, when it truly can be infinite. Values such as patience and authenticity have been diminished to instantly fabricated perfection. Do people appreciate moral or physical values more? How has the Internet and its accessible culture and aesthetics affected our ideals of beauty? My project is a study of whether modern society is capable of reading and understanding, as well as becoming interested in, symbolism and allegorical visuals that communicate modern stories of feminism.

What did you think of your time on the course? How did your approach to design change or develop during your studies?

Before I came to Goldsmiths I looked at design in the very traditional way. I could only see separate fields that never get mixed. As I come from a fine art background my main tools were illustration and printmaking, and I found it very hard to switch my thinking into something that I had never experienced before. First year at Goldsmiths is crucial for understanding whether you want to take the risk and explore the unknown, as this is not a product design or graphic design course nor it ever will. It forces you to develop your critical and abstract thinking. Ideas are above anything else on this course. Staff support is irreplaceable, but it’s your decision how hard you want to work. After three years of studying I have never been more happy and glad that I got into design at Goldsmiths. While being here I have always felt free in the decisions I made. For me, the most important thing I’ve learnt here is that the future of creative work is not about making it unified, but about experimenting as much as possible, as it always gives new solutions and opens your mind. It’s about not letting the boundaries take over your individuality.

Don’t forget to also read our article on Ash Baigent, the other bursary recipient of the 2018 Graduate Design Scheme.