Those of us with degrees which had no practical component rarely consider the additional costs paid by those studying textiles or fine art. But talk to those students and the price of materials can be shocking. Over three years it can add up to hundreds, if not thousands of pounds – expenses that peak with the final year project. Catherine Carson is in her final year at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design (DJCAD), and advises students to look carefully at what is included in a degree. “A well equipped college is vital. We have free dyes, printing tables and a laser cutter – and our technicians are amazing. There is a subsidised shop where we run an account for our materials. But that account gets bigger every year – for my final project I needed twills, silk and cashmere – I think my bill for materials alone will be around £800.” [embed]https://www.instagram.com/p/BGq39DuhJsM/?taken-by=chelseaual[/embed] And do students ever discuss their rising costs? “Most of us can’t bear to think about it. It’s dangerous, if we begin to worry about money it could affect a project and our grades. We try to forget because what can we do? You can’t substitute cheap acrylic yarn if your project needs silk or cashmere.” She’s right, textiles are designed for a purpose and their beauty and tactility are key components – but how does that work if you are a student for whom fine yarns simply aren’t a financial option? Follow this system to its conclusion and you begin to wonder if a first class degree in textiles depends on funds and whether those with unlimited resources can bump up their grade. For Catherine it’s an unwelcome thought. “On my course we’re all in a similar situation but I suppose if you have unlimited money to make a project look flashy you could have an unfair advantage. But the tutors say we’re not marked on products or props and I’d like to think that’s true.” We’d all like to think tutors are immune to displays of wealth but why put them to the test? Couldn’t the system be changed to ensure money is not a factor? A budget for final shows perhaps? Allocate a fixed sum, request receipts and ask for accounts – all valuable ‘real world’ experience. This is an extract from Beth Smith's article in the Folklore (July/August 2014) issue of Selvedge. Make sure to catch some of the many degree shows on display over the next week or so. Here are a couple that we're particularly excited to see this year: Central Saint Martins 22 - 26 June Glasgow School of Art 19 - 25 June Chelsea College of Arts 17 - 25 June Royal College of Art 26 June - 3 July Images from Kiren Passi's final Royal College of Art collection.