Karra Allen (2009-2010)



My name is Karra Allen, I’m 22 and have recently graduated from Cleveland College of Art and Design; where I studied FdA Contemporary Textiles Practice and BA (Hons) Textiles and Surface Design.

Textiles and design has always been an interest of mine and it hasn’t always been an easy route to follow. When I was in high school there was a lack of students wanting to study textiles so when TICE came into our school for its pilot year, I was keen to get involved. I didn’t know much about the industry or the careers it had to offer – I just knew it was something I was good at and really enjoyed. After our first session I knew I wanted to learn more!

TICE opened my eyes to all the things you can do within fashion and textiles. It doesn’t have to be all about making dresses or garments. There’s so much more to it. I was able to explore different techniques and processes that I didn’t even know were possible at the time. It wasn’t just about learning certain criteria and so it gave me a chance to see what was out there for when I finished school. I was able to visit colleges where I could see what it would be like to be a design student. Most importantly, TICE helped me grow up and build my self-confidence. By the time I reached the Gold Stage there was only me and one other student from my school. Doing something like TICE on my own was a big achievement for me and since then if there has been something I wanted to do, doing it on my own hasn’t held me back.

Being part of TICE as a student cemented my ideas that textiles was definitely the industry for me. However, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do within textiles. It wasn’t until I was offered work experience with TICE through my University that I started to realise what I wanted to do with it. Coming back to TICE and already knowing some of the mentors made it really easy to talk to them about what I was thinking and I enjoyed working with everyone so much that I’m still working with them four years after. TICE gave me the opportunity to teach small elements of the programme and assist with delivering the sessions, this has led me to decide that teaching is something I would like to continue with as a career.

Being able to talk about TICE in my personal statement and at interviews was like an ice breaker. I enjoyed being part of it so much that I was happy to talk about what I had learned from the experience. I have gained a lot from TICE, not just as a student but also from the work experience. It is definitely something I would recommend to students who are considering a creative career. The mentors are friendly and always happy to offer advice. I have been able to see how TICE has developed and it is getting better every year.

My advice to anyone who is considering taking part in TICE is to give it everything. The more you put into it, the more you get from it. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the industry because that’s what the mentors are there for. If they can’t help you with the answers they probably know someone who can. If you’re not sure if the creative industries are for you but it’s something you’re interested in TICE is a great way to find out if it is for you and have fun doing so.