Meet the Artist – Fabric Nation
What type of art work you do? I work with vintage fabrics from the 1950s, 60s and 70s, reworking them into accessories and homewares, including purses, brooches, fascinators, dogs, birds, cats and bags. I will also have a Halloween range using some of my contemporary US designer’s fabrics, including some scary bunting and spooky jewellery!
What inspires you / influences your work? I love print and pattern, particularly simple printing techniques. My favourites at the moment are souvenir fabrics with simple screen printed seaside scenes, often just two or three colours, on vintage linens. They evoke bright, sunny holidays with the simplest of images.
How did you come to be doing this type of work? Since my teens I have been unable to walk past a pair of curtains without wanting to snip and stitch them into something to wear or use. I enjoy taking something old and unused and upcycling it into something with a new life.
Where did you train / develop your work? I am self taught, taking my inspiration from vintage pattern and craft books and the DIY ethos I grew up from the post-punk years when I first had market stall as a teenager and was also running a record label. I grew up with people my age all making things themselves, from music to art to clothes and love the current resurgence in crafts seen in the neo-crafting movement.
Why are you taking part in Wandsworth Artists Open House? I have been taking part in open houses in Wandsworth, Dulwich and Brighton and love the opportunity to meet local people who share my delight in vintage fabrics. Through open houses I have met many inspiring local artists, and I am very excited about this year as some of these local artists are joining me in this years’ open house.
What can visitors to your open house look forward to? We will have a feast for the eyes, with lots of vintage fabric creations from me, but also jewellery from Louise Williams, Amelia Critchlow’s textile narratives, fused glass from Mandy Treptow and contemporary cushions and accessories from Chocolate Creative. Homemade cakes and cups of tea will be available as well as a chance to join in our bunting and brooch making workshops on each afternoon of the open house. We have lucky bags for the first 20 visitors to our house!
Whose work are you looking forward to seeing in the Wandsworth Artists Open House? Looking at the other Meet the Artist interviews I am overwhelmed by the creativity and talent that exists among my neighbours and can’t wait to see some of this work for real.
What do you like about being an artist living or working in Tooting? I have lovely creative neighbours I have met as a result of the Open House and enjoy the diversity on Tooting’s streets. I feel very lucky to be living in London, with people from all over the world making this one of the most wonderful cities in the world. Beautiful green spaces are a short walk away, including the fabulous lido, the best swim in town. And of course some fantastic fabric shops!
Who is favourite artist / art work and why? My current faves include contemporary textile designers who’s work is influenced by C20 design, including Jane Foster, Lucie Summers and the work from St Judes. I also like paper cut artists Nikki Mcclure and Rob Ryan and have a weakness for etchings and other printmaking techniques. I am also lucky to be part of Folksy, a UK handmade online shopping site, full of lots of contemporary UK talented designers, makers and artists. Their work is a constant inspiration.
What new projects do you have planned next? I am working on a fabric nation textile, creating a map of the UK using my vintage fabrics for each county. I am also looking forward to my fabric Christmas decorations, based on old fashioned baubles and trees.
And finally, do you have any exhibitions planned? I have a folksy shop and a busy few months ahead and will be taking part in the Got Craft, Crafty Pint Christmas Workshops, Handmade in Tooting and a few more!