Betty Smithers Design Collection at Staffordshire University

Today I visited the Betty Smithers Design Collection in Staffordshire University’s library. The collection is made up of everything from telephones to textiles. Students are allowed to not only view the collection, but also handle the items to really get a feel for the product. You are even allowed to take items out on loan if you wanted to use it for a fashion shoot or a film.

Here is Betty’s daughter being interviewed about the collection. I have also found this interview by Betty herself in The Guardian from 2006. Betty taught fashion at Canterbury college and Stoke-on-Trent college for 20 years and collected vintage clothes that were donated to Staffordshire University.


As I am in the process of launching a childrenswear business I was very interested to see the children’s clothing in the collection, and I wasn’t disappointed. Below are a few of the images I took of some the wonderful items:

Cream Layered Dress (Silk, Edwardian).

Green Dungarees, utilitywear from WWII. Label “British Healthwear”.

Gold Pyjama Top, age 8 (fabric and date unknown).

Nylon Christening Dress (date unknown).


WEEK 17: One week before hand in

Phew, I have finally completed my project proposal. I have finished it a week before it’s due to be handy and so I still have time to tweak it if needs be. I have a dyslexia meeting on Wednesday so after that meeting I can make any last minute changes.
The rest of this week I can now focus on completing my CAD boards I have the general layout, as discussed in previous posts, so hopefully it is just a case of selecting which images I want my boards. I also need to do my fashion illustrations and complete any final prints I want to submit.

WEEK 16: Project proposal, People Per Hour, and High House

WEEK 16: This week I have mostly been working on my project proposal. I really need to focus on getting my project proposal completed by the end of this week so that next week I can concentrate on finalising my CAD boards and getting everything printed ready for the hand in date.

I am going into the Staffordshire University library this weekend (there is a secret bit that I recently discovered that has lovely old chesterfield sofas and not many people know it’s there, so I’m going to sit there with my laptop and finish my proposal).

This week I have continued to help out with High House. I now do most of the social media channels; I run the Instagram account, the Pinterest account, and now the Facebook account. We are currently in the process of getting ready to run a competition to win three rolls of wallpaper. So I am helping to build the social media presence currently.

A continuous thought on the back of my head is how my going to generate some income whilst on my masters, that is creative and ideally fits in with my masters. I have been thinking a lot about this blog and about how I could potentially generate some income from the blog in the future. I have also signed up two people per hour this week and I have been looking at what types of creative services other people offer. Which has made me realise that I could offer similar services such as creating logos.

WEEK 14: It’s Christmas….

So this week has been Christmas, and I can’t lie……doing uni work and having Christmas with a four-year-old it has been hard to get things done.

What I have been doing this past week it lots of printing:


I have also experimented with fabric crayons:


I also made myself and my son some hand printed leggings:



I have also been trying to finalise my project proposal, but I am really struggling with this. I am not great at writing essays and I find it really difficult with my dyslexic brain; I feel like I have all of the information to go into my proposal, but I just don’t know how to put it all together. So I am going to be working on this all of next week.


WEEK 12: Tutorial, High House, and Printing at Home

This week I had a tutorial where we discussed my project proposal. I also had further feedback about my presentation from last week, as I’d mentioned in my previous post about my presentation, I had not gone into enough detail in my literature review section. It was suggested to me that as I have done lots of research but didn’t show this in my presentation, that I could have displayed it in a table format which would have shown my different research sources. During the tutorial I was giving advice on how to put together my project proposal. It is now just a case of actually reading through the rest of my research, processing it, and writing it up.
I have been feeling unwell this week and missed the evening session on Tuesday. We also had a high house meeting planned but unfortunately due to being ill I missed this too. The high house meeting was to continue to plan the upcoming Kickstarter campaign. I have been working on high house Pinterest account and have created lots of new boards, and because I love social media and actively use it I have asked if I can help with the high house Instagram account too, which I have been given the log on detail and have just started to post on.
This week I have also been organising setting up a small studio space at home so that I can print at home. I have brought a silkscreen which I will get my image exposed on to university and will then take it home and have the freedom to print at home. Which will give me a lot of flexibility with no restrictions of timetables or free spaces.