October 2005: Launch of Context
An exciting new company to promote and develop applied art and textiles has been launched by Catherine Lewis, textile designer maker and visiting tutor at Cardiff School of Art and Design and Swansea Institute of Higher Education.
Context aims to promote and strengthen the links between the design, manufacturing and education sectors and to strengthen the image of the Welsh garment and textile industry.
The Context Gallery at 1 Mount Stuart Arcade, Cardiff Bay will showcase work of talented graduates from Welsh textile courses, as well as established artists, but what makes Context unique is that it also offers a surface pattern design agency and a mentoring service for its exhibitors.
Catherine believes tremendous opportunities exist for talented young designers in Wales, particularly in areas such as technical textiles, design-led products, small-production dyeing and finishing, branded clothing, capital intensive manufacturing and high value niche markets.
“Context will work with the huge wealth of creative talent that exists in Wales, whilst selling into a global marketplace.”
The surface pattern and textile design agency of Context sells textile samples, hand-produced small run textiles and design concepts to designers, manufacturers and retailers in the apparel and interiors industry – the agency represents designers for sales within the UK and export to Europe, Asia and the Americas.
Context also offers a bespoke textile print facility – both digital and traditional – with no minimum run. The emphasis is on a specialist, hand-printed service for designers and manufacturers’ prototypes, samples and exhibition pieces. Private clients who are looking for a one-off design on wallpaper, cushions, or blinds, for instance, can also come to Context for something unique and made in Wales.
With her experience of working in the sector, Catherine can also provide a consultancy service, specialising in commissioned design work for textile products, design and product development and trend predictions.
Catherine has set up Context with the help of the Wales Spinout Programme, which aims to stimulate and support the creation of new businesses originating from the Higher Education Sector.