A SURFACE designer has been revisiting her roots around a town, paying homage to her former sixth form college, while calling for greater diversity in the design industry.

Former Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College student and award-winning surface designer Kirath Ghundoo has used lockdown to rediscover Claremont and work she did during her A Level and art foundation courses there.

Ms Ghundoo, who holds the college "close to her heart", said: "It's been nice to have time to revisit other ways of working. I'm not thinking about commercialising a product so creating original one off pieces of artwork has been a therapeutic process.

"My wallpapers and furnishing fabrics are digital and love working in this way, however exploring paint and getting messy is just something I've loved getting back into... it gives me a real sense of creative freedom."

After graduating in 2002, the British Indian designer moved to Leeds for university and stayed there for ten years before moving then back to Darlington.

The 37-year-old is also celebrating her inclusion the latest edition of ELLE Decoration, a major title in the industry that is shining a light on diversity in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, and is urging BAME designers to "go for it".

Ms Ghundoo said: "My culture being Indian has influenced some of my wallpaper collections and designs. India is an amazing place to pick up inspiration for pattern and colour.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

"I would love to see more BAME designers. At trade shows and events I hardly come across other designers from an Indian background, it's not our traditional route, but let's shake that up."

The London Magazine 'Rising Star of 2013' winner left a full-time job to start her business ten years ago and is "so glad she did it".

She added: "It was extremely daunting at the time but I've learned you must conquer things outside your comfort zone.

"To Queen Elizabeth students today, work hard and make sure you enjoy what you are studying.

"For BAME students specifically wanting to study design, go for it, be passionate and showcase your talent. Together lets change diversity in design, you are the next generation of designers who can make a positive change."

Darlington and Stockton Times:

The October edition of ELLE Decoration is Ms Ghundoo's 17th feature in the magazine across its international editions.

Ben Spriggs, ELLE Decoration editor, said: “In the light of the recent BLM protests, in this month’s ELLE Decoration I felt it was crucial to shine a light on the important initiatives championing diversity in the design industry. For such a key sector, it’s vital that we help improve access and attract new talent from wider backgrounds, to enable us all to enjoy the benefits of great design at home and beyond.

“I’ve known Kirath Ghundoo’s work for many years and we’ve proudly featured her in the magazine before. I’ve always been impressed by her graphic patterns and contemporary use of colour so was delighted she was chosen by one of the people we spoke to for our October issue.”