Rugby student's dress made from Harry Potter pages wows visitors to art exhibition - The Rugby Observer

Rugby student's dress made from Harry Potter pages wows visitors to art exhibition

Rugby Editorial 31st Jan, 2023   0

A DRESS featuring pages from Harry Potter books earned a Rugby College student a top award after wowing visitors to an art exhibition.

Ella Humphrey’s passion for turning pages of JK Rowling’s novels is turning heads at the Rugby Open exhibition at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum.

Ella, 17, saw her work initially featured in Rugby College School of Art’s Floor One exhibition at the gallery.

Impressed gallery workers decided that five of the students’ exhibits, including Ella’s, would remain on site and feature in the Rugby Open exhibition, which welcomes submissions from amateur and professional artists alike.




Three of the Level 3 students then received further acclaim for their masterpieces by picking up awards at the start of the exhibition, which runs until Saturday (February 4).

Second year Level 3 Art and Design student Emily Kay won the Caroline Hansberry Award for her skull creation, and first year student Jack Pendleton received the Mayoral prize for his ‘sneakers’ submission.


Ella picked up a ‘highly commended’ accolade – but even better was to follow when her alternative self-portrait themed creation won the Rugby Open exhibition’s Peoples’ Choice award, voted for by visitors to the exhibition.

Ella, who won £150 in prize money, said: “I went into the gallery to see if there had been any information on the vote and they told me I’d won, I was so happy.

“I love reading and Harry Potter really started that passion. The dress is in complete chronological order, so it could be disassembled and the books put back together. The dress is completely wearable and was originally titled ‘Lost in the Pages’.”

The achievements marked a triumphant return for Rugby College’s School of Art Floor One show, which took a two-year break due to the pandemic.

Roy Job, Head of Department for Visual and Performing Arts at Rugby College, was delighted for the young artists.

He said: “The Floor One exhibition is one we run and is completely separate to the Rugby Open – which invites people from Rugby and the local area to submit work.

“One of the gallery employees saw the quality of the students’ work and said we should consider submitting some of the students’ pieces for the Rugby Open – and we were delighted to learn that five of the six we entered were successful.

“I went to the opening night and there were professional artists there winning awards. Then three of our students won in the youth category.

“The judging panel was completely independent to the college so it was a tremendous confidence booster for them to receive these accolades. Then for Ella to go on and win the Peoples’ Choice award was just incredible.

“It’s not just about the awards, it’s about seeing your artwork on public display and the comments our students were getting from professional artists. It really can be a transformative experience.

“Moving forward we want this to be a regular thing and we will be encouraging more students to submit entries into the Rugby Open exhibition.”

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