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Bethany Voak

Bethany Voak is a textile designer born and raised in Jersey, Channel Islands. Working as a colour alchemist she brings together modern design with sustainable practices. She has a strong interest in researching and discovering new processes to find innovative solutions for current sustainable issues.

After gaining a distinction for foundation in art and design from Plymouth University she qualified with a first class honours degree from Norwich University of the Arts specialising in repeat screen printing. Bethany has recently completed her Master’s in Textiles at the Royal College of Art. 

She has exhibited her work in locations including London, Norwich and most recently Jersey for the Skipton Big Ideas Wearable Art Exhibition.

Bethany has professional experience working with several international design companies including Vivienne Westwood within the Gold Label Studio, Alexander McQueen as a Special Projects Freelancer and most recently PriestmanGoode within their Colour, Material and Finish Department.

Through these experiences she has developed a unique understanding of the recent innovations in the textile industry which she draws on for her current work.


Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation Award – Winner 2022

BP Sparkling Challenge – Finalist 2022

PriestmanGoode x RCA Colour Material Finish Designer - Winner 2021

Show Location: Battersea campus: Studio Building, Third floor

Bethany Voak-statement

Voak’s work aims to tackle the issue of waste materials that are currently polluting the environment. She is specialising in the development of new materials that find potential in unwanted waste objects. 

Voak’s personal experience has shaped the reasoning behind her project. Having grown up on Jersey, a small island in the Atlantic Ocean, she has directly witnessed the increase in pollution, particularly plastic found around the island’s coastline.

These incongruous objects are becoming more commonplace in the coastal landscape, and begs the question whether future generations will be collecting synthetic materials from the landscape for years to come.

During the Covid-19 lockdown in January 2021 Voak began using waste materials that she found around her home. This sparked an interest in transformative design processes, changing the physicality of the materials through textures, colours and shapes. In a time of uncertainty, this project gives hope that these unwanted objects can become something that are beautiful and valued and she hopes this will illuminate the sustainable issues we are facing today.

Using nature as her guide, she has curated a unique tool kit which she uses to test, compare and develop new materials to change perceptions of their value in society.

Her knowledge of dye processes and the extraction of colour enables her to apply this knowledge to unexpected materials and surfaces. This usually involves risk taking and embracing the unknown.

By continuing to develop these materials Voak hopes to show that these wasted objects can be so much more than simply a ‘throw away’ product.

Transformative Materials
Plastic packaging found on a beach in Jersey
Plastic packaging found on a beach in Jersey This piece was found on a bed of seaweed laying next to a cuttle fish bone, a common object of sea debris. Both were washed up together on this beach. At a glance these objects look like they could be one and the same, however the difference in their origin and the life they have lead could not be more contrasting. These photographs show the similarity between natural and now commonly found synthetic materials that are contaminating our environments.
Colour investigations and natural dye extraction.
Colour investigations and natural dye extraction.
Colour investigations and natural dye extraction.
Colour investigations and natural dye extraction.
La Rocque natural dye colour palette samples.
La Rocque natural dye colour palette samples.
Glossy Matt Droplets Shiny Smooth Bubbling Glazed Undulating
La Rocque surfaces and textures.
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La Rocque is a material made from waste expanded polystyrene and dyed using natural dyes. It has developed from an ongoing project focusing on re-thinking expanded polystyrene as a single use plastic, increasing its life span and potential uses. 

With more people ordering online due to the coronavirus, there could also be a greater abundance of polystyrene packaging than ever before. 

One of the reasons why Voak chose to focus on expanded polystyrene in particular is its concerning similarity to other organic objects. Once in the ocean this material quickly disintegrates into micro plastics that can be ingested by wildlife, highlighting the importance in preventing this material entering the water cycle.

The problem with discarding expanded polystyrene into landfills is that it is bulky. This means it can fill up landfills and other storage quickly which is costly both to the environment and the economy. It is also incredibly lightweight so can travel far on the winds and currents.

Featured in:

Fast Company

Metropolis Mag

Runway Girl

London Design Festival 2021


Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation

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Resting reef is a Terra Carta design project created by Louise Skajem and Aura Murillo. It serves to tackle two main important issues: The high levels of pollution created in the death industry and to regenerate marine biodiversity. Resting reef focuses on changing how we experience and perceive death, and aims to do this by creating a coastal cemetery using concrete reefs made from oyster shells.

Voak’s role in this collaboration is as a colour and material designer. Voak's specialist skills were used to test out natural dyes with their concrete and oyster shell mixture.

Biomaterials, media item 1
Biomaterials, media item 2

Taking inspiration from the Resting Reef collaboration and her own material investigations Voak has developed a series of biomaterials that are created from natural ingredients and dyed using natural dyes. 

Ameea Scholarship