1. Who taught you how to design/embroider/cross stitch/knit/crochet?
My parents are both pretty creative and I was really not an outdoors girl so I was brought up on weekends and summer holidays of drawing and making things. I think I always wanted to be some kind of artist or designer but fashion didn’t come until later and embroidery much more recently. As the end of school approached and everyone was applying to University, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, so I did an Art and Design Foundation course, and an inspiring tutor led me towards fashion. After my BA Fashion and a lot industry experience, I’d started realising my main interest was more textile based. I did a week intensive course in Couture Embellishment at LCF a few summers ago and that changed everything. In one week I learned so many techniques and was so inspired that I studied for an MA in Fashion, and concentrated all my work on embroidery and embellishment. I learnt as I went and gradually started breaking down and playing with the boundaries of couture and luxury through messing with traditional embroidery techniques.
That one-week course I did was a huge turning point for me. I’d never had any teaching with embroidery but in that one week I was introduced to so many techniques and I realised that’s all you need to start creating your own ideas and combinations. It just completely opened my mind to the possibilities – suddenly it felt like there were no limits in what you could do. The tutor on that course, Nadia, was a huge inspiration – I have a lot to thank her for.
I’m always someone who has been a perfectionist, and I think at first I liked the element of slowness and control you could have over every stitch. Strangely, throughout my MA, my work actually became about embracing mistakes that come with the work of the human hand. I worked a lot from one side of the fabric and flipped it over half way through, showing all the knots and imperfections, which I found really beautiful… so it actually became something much more carefree for me, where I was letting go of the
element of control and embracing imperfections.
your talents down? If so, to who?
I’m a lecturer on the BA Fashion Textiles course at Middlesex University so I’m passing bits on there and am always encouraging my students to add hand craft into their work. When I was doing my MA, that summer some of the new graduate BA students came to help me with my collection, which was amazing – they were such a great bunch of girls, and some of them have continued with the embroidery techniques I’d tortured them with all that summer, which makes me happy to know!
As everything gets faster and more digital, I think it’s important to keep a sense of handcraft. I love taking time to sit and create something really slowly, it’s good for my brain when the rest of my life feels like it’s going at a million miles an hour. It’s good to do something that purposely slows you down.
Favourite colours change all the time with me – but I’ve just started something using 995 and 820, which are dark and bright cobalt blues, such a good combination. Stitch wise, I always love combining loads of different ones, but I always love French knots – they make such a great texture when they’re all piled up next to each other.
7. Where do you find inspiration?
Anywhere really. I’m always looking at colours and textures, and that cancome from anywhere – art, fashion, film, people, places... I like making juxtapositions with different materials, with old and new, feminine and masculine. I’m doing some work at the moment inspired by the old couture masters; Dior, Chanel etc., but applying it to men’s sportswear.
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