According to the charity Anxiety UK, one in six young people will experience an anxiety-related condition at some point in their lives.
Twenty-year-old textile designer Paige Strugnell form Mold, North Wales, is one of them. But through art, she learnt to contain and overcome her apprehensions. Even better, the third-year student at Cardiff Metropolitan University School of Art and Design (CSAD) channels any negative feelings as an inspiration to create positive material.
At the recent CSAD Summer Show, Paige showcased her final year project ‘Tied by my anxiety’ - a smartphone app that raises awareness of anxiety issues - featuring beautiful and brightly coloured jackets, bags, purses and notebooks, each featuring a QR code.
Paige explains: “When scanned with a smartphone, the QR code leads to a relaxing stop motion video, showing colourful patterns and playing up-beat music. These clothes and accessories can help people with frequent anxiety to calm down, wherever they may be.
“The process of becoming an adult is a tough one, and I want young people to feel supported, to know they are not alone.”
As Paige points out, the time spent in school and university is a time of big transformation and personal development:
“For me personally the second year of university was the most challenging, having to deal with anxiety and pressure to do well. But by third year, all came into place and seeing my project materialise has been extremely rewarding.
“I chose to come to Cardiff Met specifically for the opportunities that the university offers in textile design, but have also largely benefited from its global creative environment. The wide range of workshops provided enable students to bring new influences to their practice, and to elevate it.”
Dr Keireine Canavan, Programme Director for Textiles said “Paige has included digital and traditional textile applications combined with her personal experience of anxiety to create an innovative creative tool.”
A busy summer awaits the designer, who will spend eight weeks working as an intern for the company International Greetings, famous for its quality greeting cards and gift-wraps. She will also participate in the exciting “New Designer” exhibition, taking place in London in late June and early July 2017.