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Sew Hip The ultimate crafty weekend in London

2011

P ORT FOLI O SH OWCA S E

Cloth magazine Tuned in with Alice & Ginny

Photography by Ginny Farquhar & Clare Kelly Words Clare Kelly Best friends Alice and Ginny enjoy their work

Tuned in with

ALICE & GINNY

Clare Kelly spends time with the crafty duo and discovers that their passion for fabric and local radio is contagious – so don’t adjust your dial, read on...

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orking from Ginny’s studio, Alice Butcher and Ginny Farquhar have been friends for 30 years and have got communication down to a fine art, often finishing each other’s sentences. When I turned up to interview them, it was clear that they were as interested in finding out about me as I was about them. And that’s the beauty of their creative partnership – there’s an ease that comes across, whether they are making tea for one another or helping a student (like me) to fashion a folder from fabric. Discovered by their publisher David & Charles at the Country Living fair, they bring a range of skills and experience to the sewing table. Alice headed up the Liberty Sewing School in London after attending

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Somerset College of Art, and Ginny attended Wimbledon School of Art to study costume, before embarking on a successful career as a costume maker. After having children, they founded the popular Folkydokee Handmade using predominately recycled fabrics, long before it became popular. Today, they spend most of their time developing craft courses for children and adults of all abilities and their Monthly Make night at the West End Centre in Aldershot is always packed to bursting. Here’s your chance to meet them... If you had to pick one piece of fabric with its own story, which would it be and why? We have such a huge collection of fabrics that it is hard to pick out any one

piece. They all tell a story – where we got it from, was it from a charity shop, was it a bargain, did someone give it to us, was it a piece that held sentimental value? It goes on! We both have great memories for every piece of fabric that we have. Our favourite fabrics get used and used and used until only the tiny scraps remain, and even then they are used sparingly for very special projects! Why do you think that the two of you work so well together? We often describe ourselves as the yin and yang of each other, as we are such different personalities. Alice loves bold clashing colour and print, and Ginny loves more subtle colours that compliment each other. Ginny will do lots of research and work away at a design until she is really happy with

Cloth magazine Tuned in with Alice & Ginny

*

ALICE & GINNY

Find out how to make this sewing notebook on page 26

so was only heard by about 10 people. Whenever we are working to deadline, things tend to get slightly hysterical!

Alice and Ginny create gorgeous projects, like this handy sewing notebook it, whereas Alice tends to work more spontaneously. We fit well because we have enormous respect for one another, and are good at compromising if one of us feels strongly about her ideas. At the end of the day, we’ve known each other forever, and have learnt to read each other very well. We seldom argue, and if we do it is quickly resolved! When you’re working together, what are your essential must-haves? It’s a standing joke that Alice loves listening to local radio – hearing about delays due to traffic lights is the highlight and a great source of amusement! We have endless cups of tea and biscuits when Alice isn’t dieting, and usually a bowl of homemade soup for lunch. All very gentle stuff. Do you have plans for a third book? Yep, but we’re not telling! Got to get a

synopsis together for our editor but we are really excited about our idea. What has been your funniest moment together? There have been so many but those that stand out are dancing around the studio to Copacabana after requesting it on local radio, and then running out of puff half way through as we forgot how long it went on for! The other classic moment was being invited onto a regional radio station and discussing with the researcher over the phone the sort of things that we make and our philosophy. Alice casually said that we were a bit like modern day Wombles and to her horror, the presenter announced her as a latter day Womble! It completely threw her at the start of the interview and, of course, wasn’t really a great way to raise our profile or how we wanted people to remember us. Luckily, it was local radio

Do you feel as though you have your own language and way of communicating? We’ve known each other for so long that we can now read each other very well. We tend to finish sentences for each other, and when working through an idea, we usually pick up on each others train of thought really quickly.

Cloth reader offer

Readers can order Home Sweet Sewn for the special price of £9.99 (rrp £14.99) with free p&p (UK only). To order call RUCraft on 0844 8805851 or visit www.rucraft.co.uk and quote code R11184. Home Sweet Sewn by Alice Butcher and Ginny Farquhar is published by David & Charles and is available from www.rucraft.co.uk

CLOTH ISSUE 4 ✼ SUMMER 2010 25

Cloth magazine Tuned in with Alice & Ginny

SEWING NOTES

How to make Alice and Ginny’s fabric ring binder cover

This simple project is a fun way to jazz up a tatty old ring binder and a great opportunity to use an image from your own photograph collection

How to create the main image To fit a standard ring binder 31.5x24x4.5cm

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Select a photograph on your computer, open in your photo program and resize to 10x15cm. Print a sample onto paper to check the positioning and quality. Trim your calico so it is slightly smaller than your freezer paper on all sides. Ensure that it is free from any frayed strands that could get caught in your printer. Press the waxy side of the freezer paper onto the back of the calico. Now feed this into your

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printer in the usual way and print at photo quality. Set aside to dry, then peel off the freezer paper. Press a 20x15cm piece of Bondaweb onto the reverse of the image. Trim the image with pinking shears. Next, chose a font and size and type in your chosen words, using your basic word processing program. Print a test onto paper as before, then print and prepare using the same method as for the

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Project notes ✿ When fusing Bondaweb, always press under a cloth to protect your iron from any glue residue.

✿ You can use re-use the sheet of freezer paper for the wording on this project. ✿ This pattern has a 1cm seam allowance.

✿ Abbreviations: w/s stands for wrong side of 26 CLOTH ISSUE 4 ✼ SUMMER 2010

fabric, and r/s stands for right side of fabric.

✿ If you don’t want to print the title of the album, you can embroider or stamp one instead.

✿ If you wish a printed image to be washable, then you will need to either pre-treat your fabric with Bubblejet solution or buy some pre-treated fabric.

photograph (step 1), except this time print directly from your word processing program. Peel off the Bondaweb paper and fuse the wording and the image onto a scrap of contrast cloth. Trim back leaving a 1.5cm border and fray the edges. Machine stitch the image and wording to hold securely in place.

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3 Use fabric leftovers on this handy project

What you nee d

An ink jet prin jet printer is ter (a laser this project) not suitable for 1 sheet of free zer paper 2 pieces of med calico/plain co ium weight freezer paper tton to fit 29x22.5cm Double-sided fu webbing (Bon sible daweb) approx 20x25cm Scrap of fabric wording back for the ground Fabric for the background 17photo x11.5cm

Cloth magazine Tuned in with Alice & Ginny

eed What you n ium weight

Main cover: med (cut 1) cotton 102x37cm et: Front tool pockht weight lig g in contrast (cut 2) cotton 19x17cm lt/wool Needle patch: fe ut 1) (c cm scrap 11x9 ntrasting Back pocket: cotton 22x20cm co t gh ei light w (cut 2) : Back pocket flap weight ht lig g in st contra ut 1) (c m 2c cotton 20x2 pe ta or Strip of ribbon 20x2cm

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How to prepare the cover Cut out all the pieces you need for the cover. Machine stitch a neat zigzag around all four edges of the fabric for the main cover. Press the two short ends 1cm in on the w/s, then topstitch into position. Press the long ends 1cm in on the w/s. Set to one side.

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Take the two front tool pocket pieces and, with r/s together, stitch all four sides leaving a gap of 8cm along the bottom edge. Clip the corners, turn through and press. Take the two back pocket pieces and repeat the process for the front tool pocket (step 2).

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How to construct the cover

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Lay the main cover with w/s facing you onto a table. Open your ring binder and lay the cover on top, in the centre. Fold in the front and back flaps equally. Pin the pocket pieces in place. Turn over so the r/s is facing. Arrange the image and wording panels as shown, then pin in place. Open the ring binder, then topstitch the front tool pocket in place; leave the top

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Brilliant gift idea! Make a gardening-themed notebook for friends who have allotments.

SEWING NOTES

edge open and straight stitch down the centre to make two pockets. Next, hand stitch the needle patch, image and wording in place, using a running stitch and some embroidery thread. On the back pocket, sew the top flap down first, covering the raw edge with a length of ribbon. Position the pocket in place, then topstitch, leaving the top open. Finish with a button.

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Take the back pocket flap piece and fold it in half with r/s together, so that the two shorter edges meet. Stitch the side seams. Turn through and press. Create a buttonhole 3cm up from the folded edge, following the instructions given for your sewing machine.

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Press well. To stitch together repeat the first part of step 1, and pin the top and bottom edges. Remove the ring binder and topstitch 1cm from each edge. Give a final light press (under a pressing cloth). Now insert the ring binder and you’re done!

Find out more ✿ For more fab Alice and Ginny news and projects, visit aliceandginny.co.uk

✿ Read Ginny’s photography and

inspiration blog at www.sweetmyrtle. typepad.com

✿ Alice and Ginny run a range of sewing courses and workshops (including the Monthly Make) at The West End Centre in Aldershot, Hants. Log on to www3.hants.gov.uk/ westendcentre.htm for more details.

✿ Home Sweet Sewn by Alice Butcher and Ginny Farquhar is published by David & Charles and is available from www.rucraft.co.uk

CLOTH ISSUE 4 ✼ SUMMER 2010 27

Fair Cake Press release

Fair Cake

The secret We’ve all seen the latest batch of cupcake entrepreneurs and thought ‘I could do that.’ Well, now you can. Fair Cake is a successful Londonbased business and baking school run by Shikhita Singh. Using the finest quality fairtrade ingredients, Fair Cake cupcakes are delicious and have inspired many students to start their own businesses. This year, Shikhita is delighted to share her know-how with the Tricks of the Trade course – for those who’d like to run their own successful home baking business – be it for a bit of extra cash or full time employment. Fair Cake’s classes are all suitable for beginners and in addition to London,

run in Manchester, Bristol and Glasgow. They offer the package you need to make your dream a reality – with Shikhita on hand to provide extensive support. Tara Thompson who set up her own cupcake business says: “I attended the Tricks of the Trade class and that’s when this adventure began. I know I can look forward to reaching out to lots of other women who are hoping to bring that extra bit of magic, and fun into their kitchens.” Now you know the secret ingredient, all you need is a sprinkling of enthusiasm and you’ve got the recipe for a successful baking business where you can set your own hours and enjoy the sweeter things in life.

Press release

Feature an exclusive recipe in your magazine Fair Cake is known for delicious cupcakes – would you like to try one? If so, you and your rea ders could make them at home with a yummy , exclusive recipe. If you’re interested in running this special feature in your magazine, contac t Shikhita Singh at ss@faircake.co.uk wh o will be happy to supply a no-fail recipe and a selection of hi-res images.

Notes to editors Shikhita Singh has been running London-based Fair Cake for almost 3 years and has taught more than 700 students how to bake perfect cakes. With many students from the UK and around the world, Shikhita’s honest approach ensures many return for another class.

In addition to Tricks of the Trade, classes include Cupcake Basics and The Secret Garden Cake Workshop. Visit www.faircake.co.uk to learn more and to book your class. For further information, recipes and images, please email: hello@faircake.co.uk or call 0752 880 1718.

Illustrated Living Press release

s es pr a le re se

Illustration for the nation B

anish the banal and dismiss the downright dowdy – your home needs you!

From prints and patterns to Scandi style and decadent designs, Illustrated Living is a handpicked collection of some of the prettiest products around – including the iconic Scandiphone and new classics – Sagaform Retro. And with jingle bells just within earshot, why not visit Illustrated Living for some inspired gift ideas? The super-cute Gruffalo milk-and-biscuit set (pictured) is perfect for little hands or how about a Charles and Ray Eames mug to make days at the office seem a little less grey? Rosie and Chris Houghton are the team behind Illustrated Living and only stock things that they really, really love and would have in their own home in beautiful Cornwall.

And though it’s what’s on the inside that counts, Rosie and Chris take pride in their gift wrapping service offering coloured tissue paper and retro-inspired wrap – finished off with contrasting ribbon and a handwritten tag. New in, is the Orla Kiely home range of bed linen and bath towels, sure to be a hit with the style-savvy and for cheeky chaps, how about Isak’s Swedish-designed, Blossom and Bill tray? With a handy gift finder facility including Gifts for Him and Housewarming Gifts, you’ll find something to suit the recipient – whether your budget is £5 or £50. You can also search by colour, room or brand and if you need any extra help, then give Illustrated Living a call on 0843 060 0032 and one of the team will be happy to advise you. Whether it’s for yourself or a gift, a visit to Illustrated Living is fun. I mean, who else do you know with a goat in a coat for a mascot?

www.illustratedliving.co.uk

Notes to editors: • Gift wrapping service (with a choice of six designs) costs £2.95 and includes contrasting ribbon and handwritten gift card • The standard shipping rate for addresses within the UK is £3.95 • For more details and high res images, please contact Rosie or Chris Houghton on 01872 270 883 or email press@illustratedliving.co.uk

Illustrated Living, Pendower, Kenwyn Road, Truro, Cornwall, TR1 3SH 0843 060 0032

Making Making it work for you

making

FEATURE

Making it work for you Photograph: © Snowden Flood

It’s not just possible to make a living from craft, it’s possible to make a great living, discovers Clare Kelly

Photograph: © Katya de Grunwald

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Top: Snowden Flood; Above: Kay Mawer, Clothkits *Making Value: Craft & the economic and social value of making

ccording to a recent report by the Crafts Council, the craft sector ‘now makes a £3 billion contribution to the UK economy, and represents 13% of those employed in the UK’s creative industries*.’ When you consider those figures, it’s no wonder that so many makers have given up the long commutes and office politics of a day job, and decided to sell their wares. But if you’re thinking of taking a slice of this creative pie, what might you need to know before you tuck in? One of the best ways to learn about the making business is to talk to those who are already established about what they have done and how they did it. Most will have made the odd mistake too, and from that can come the most amazing results. Snowden Flood is an interior accessories designer who lives with her family in south London. Her iconic landmark plates and textiles can be found in some of the finest stores (including Fortnum & Mason) and barely a week goes by without her work being featured in a glossy interiors magazine. As a starting point, she suggests: ‘Don’t feel like you have to know everything about being in business. Most people running small businesses are learning all the time, and mistakes are inevitable (while not necessarily pleasant).’ Kay Mawer, managing director of sew-at-home clothing kit company Clothkits is currently planning the launch of her first shop and couldn’t be happier, however, she too would insist that those in a craft business are learning all the time. Kay says: ‘Three weeks before we launched, I was awaiting the first print run of our new collection but when it arrived, the lines were wonky and I couldn’t use any of it. The people who had printed it for us thought they could do it but hadn’t worked on that scale before. However, it was through this that I met a wonderful lady who was able to print our kits in exactly the way I wanted – we’ve been working together ever since.’ Delivering the best quality products is the essence of any making business but how do you know what people want and crucially, how much they are willing to pay for it?

Photographs: © Clothkits; © Thor Haley

Photographs: © Andy Tuohy

Photographs: © Andrew Williams; ©Johanna McTiernan

Making Making it work for you

Top L-R: Dan & Johanna McTiernan, The Handmade Bakery; Walnut and Honey Wholemeal; Middle L-R: Towner Gallery, Eastbourne by Andy Tuohy; Animal Alphabet by Andy Tuohy & Olivia Wilkes; Bottom: Cushions and textiles from Clothkits

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www.makingmagazine.com

Making Making it work for you

FEATURE

Photographs: © Ella Doran/Habitat

making

‘Sometimes, we are just looking for a new feel, sometimes we don’t even know what we are looking for until we see it’ Above: ‘Joanie’ cushion, melamine tray, teacup and saucer all by Ella Doran for Habitat Dan McTiernan, who founded The Handmade Bakery cooperative in west Yorkshire, found his own way to reach those who would become his customers and advises those who are thinking of ‘setting up shop’ to ‘engage your client base straight away – speak to them, ask them what they want and how much they are willing to pay.’ Basing The Handmade Bakery on a farming model called community supported agriculture, the couple began baking for friends and invited local people to take the plunge by committing to buying loaves on a regular basis. ‘The great thing about this is we didn’t have to get into debt in order to start our business. We began using our oven at home and then as we grew, we started to bake twice a week during the day at our local Italian restaurant. Customers would come and pick bread up or we’d drop it off at the pub for them to collect.’ Working on a small scale locally can be key for makers in all disciplines and is something that is within easy reach – whether it be knocking on neighbours’ doors asking them if they would buy a freshly made loaf or selling your hand knitted scarves at the school fete. Andy Tuohy, an artist and designer living and working in Folkestone creates bold graphic prints inspired by his love of pre-war architecture. His depiction of the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill is among his most popular, however, this has not stopped him from collaborating with partner Olivia Wilkes on an entirely different range of prints. ‘We wanted to create an educational poster for children and Animal Alphabet is our first work together. Olivia has the ability to soften my work, she was able to give this poster a more colourful, stylistic appearance,’ explains Andy. Like The Handmade Bakery, Andy began business locally and sold his first print of a seaside shelter to a woman who lived

in his town, but it was through his work with Olivia that he caught the eye of a prestigious national retailer. Here, Andy reveals how a proactive approach has allowed him to reach out to a new client base: ‘We approached the company with a sample we had already printed of Animal Alphabet after having seen their children’s department in our local store. We didn’t realise at that point that they had a specific children’s department. Sometimes it is purely a matter of stumbling across a retailer whose brand values might fit your own and we already had the right product to send them.’ It might sound simple but if you’re a little lacking in confidence, it is worth knowing what retailers are looking for beforehand, to avoid the disappointment of a rejection letter – or worse – never hearing from them again. Philippa Prinsloo, design manager for Habitat, is probably on the target list for many creatives looking to sell their work nationally, but what does she look for in new work? ‘I am always interested in working with new designers. They bring a fresh approach and challenge to the way we work in the studio – pushing the suppliers to try new techniques, and this in turn adds new depth to the collection. We look for handwriting that we don’t have in the studio, something fresh and surprising.’ Currently, Philippa is working with established pattern designer, Ella Doran, and reveals how the Habitat team worked with Ella leading up to the launch. ‘Ella is based very locally to the design studio so the period we worked together to develop the range was very organic – visits to each others’ studio and many a drop off at Ella’s shop. We were excited to see this design in Ella’s portfolio and it worked really well with the summer feeling we were hoping to evoke through the collection.’ Is Philippa looking for anything in particular? ‘Sometimes, we are just looking for a new feel, sometimes we don’t even know what we are looking for until we see it.’

www.makingmagazine.com

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Making Making it work for you

Above left: Battersea Embroidery and Battersea Toile plates; Top right: Taj Fez plate; Bottom right: A set of 4 Fairground mugs, all by Snowden Flood This should come as celebratory news for those of you thinking of taking the plunge but it is crucial to maintain your own creative style however much you want to be commercial. The temptation to ‘do it all’ and ‘do it now’ is something that must be kept in check in order to establish a clear vision of your brand and Kay Mawer can recommend: ‘Look at developing your business with just a small core line to begin with. Do just a few products but do them really well, don’t water down your offer.’ Developing a style that is uniquely recognisable is something many makers strive for, and Snowden Flood is a great example of this, with collectors around the world buying her work as an investment. ‘At times it can feel like I spend too much effort on the everyday trivia of running my own business,’ reveals Snowden, ‘but then I just imagine my designs as future heirlooms and it inspires me to make more.’ Her latest collection, inspired by the fairground, has been two years in the making so if you’re serious about this type of business, you need to be committed to spending a great amount of time on your work from conception through to fruition. Snowden says: ‘I began by looking at photos in books, at auction catalogues; even buying things I liked the look of on eBay. I spent months scouring the National Fairground Archive in Sheffield for ideas and many happy hours in Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre in Devon. It is only then when I had a proper feel for the theme that I was able to actually begin drawing up the final designs.’ Patience is essential when starting your own business and it certainly helps if you’ve set aside some cash to help you along

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the way. Money might talk but it’s not something we often talk about and those in craft must surely feel the divide between the creative and commercial. Someone who knows this all too well is Kay, who was inspired to set up her business after the birth of her daughter: ‘I was looking for a project to earn a living from, but had seen so many wonderful creative people fail to make a living from their love.’ The Handmade Bakery’s approach may well be something that has its roots in an agricultural model, though the premise of being supported by one’s community is definitely worth aspiring to. In this way, the financial burden of a new business can be lessened. You might also be surprised at the amount of financial help that is available to new businesses – it’s just knowing where to look for it. Your first port of call should definitely be the Crafts Council whose comprehensive Craft Directory features details of funding and awards open to makers. They are also able to offer advice to help you price your work to enable you to make a decent living. Once you begin your journey in the business of craft, you’ll discover that there is plenty of pie to go around – with an honest crust to be made by all who dare to dream that there’s more to life than the 9-5. To find out more, visit www.clothkits.co.uk; www.snowdenflood. com; www.andytuohy.co.uk and www.thehandmadebakery.coop For further funding opportunities and advice, try www.craftscouncil.org.uk and www.artscouncil.org.uk.

Cloth magazine Let it snow

Let it snow

ROSE SHARP STENCILLING TUTORIAL

Clare Kelly visits textile designer Rose Sharp Jones to learn how to crochet the perfect winter snowflake

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ike many of us, Rose Sharp Jones will be glad of a break this Christmas. After graduating from Chelsea College of Art and Design with an MA in Textile Design, Rose set up her own business creating knitted, sustainable garments just last year, and she hasn’t had a quiet moment since. Not one for taking it easy, the London-based textile designer has managed to squeeze in a lot over the past few months, including contributing to two beautiful craft books – The Needlecraft Book from Dorling Kindersley and Purls of Wisdom by Jenny Lord; creating samples for a very hip knitwear label and being among the chosen few to enter the prestigious Crafts Council Hothouse scheme (in association with Central Saint Martins and Palmer Hamilton Partnership). Rose has created this exclusive crocheted snowflake decoration as a special Christmas gift to Cloth readers – so why not make one for yourself or as a gift for someone you love?

Make your snowflake on the next page

CLOTH ISSUE 6 ✼ WINTER 2010/2011 27

Cloth magazine Let it snow

ROSE SHARP TUTORIAL

How to make the crochet snowflake Suitable for those with basic crochet skills

Centre circle:

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Make a slip knot.

Stitches used: Slipknot Chain Slip stitch Double crochet

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Make 6 chain and join with a slip stitch to form a ring.

You will need

✱ 1 x ball of R

owan Shimmer owan Cotton G lace ✱ 3.25mm croc het hook (yarns are used together throughout) ✱ 1 x ball of R

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Work 1 chain (to bring the work up to the correct height for the next round). Then, work 8 double crochet stitches into the centre of the ring created on the previous round (see the double crochet instructions on the opposite page for a step-by-step explanation of this technique). Join the last stitch of the round to the first with a slip stitch, to create a neat circle without gaps = 8 stitches in round.

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Work 1 chain, then work 2 double crochet stitches into each stitch of the previous round, making sure you work the stitches underneath both loops at the top of the stitch (that looks like a V from above). Join first and last stitches with a slip stitch = 16 stitches.

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Repeat previous round = 32 stitches.

When wo rking circular crochet ea c row is call h ed a round 28 CLOTH ISSUE 6 ✼ WINTER 2010/2011

Cloth magazine Let it snow

ROSE SHARP TUTORIAL

Outer loops:

6

Work 6 chain. Join this, with a slip stitch, to the fourth stitch from the hook on the previous round. Repeat across round, slip stitching the last stitch into the same place as the first = 8 loops.

How to double crochet

Insert the hook underneath the chain ring created in the previous round. Next, catch a loop of yarn in the hook and pull this loop underneath the ring, bringing it to the front of the work. You should now have two loops on your hook, the first being the last completed stitch, and the second the new loop just made. Next, wrap another loop around the hook and pull this loop through both existing loops on the hook. This completes the double crochet stitch.

On the following rounds follow the same instructions, but work the stitches into the tops of the stitches created on the previous round.

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Work 1 chain. Then, working under the chain loops created in the previous round, repeat the following:

Resourcess ose’s work, log on to To see more of Rose’s w.rosesharpjones.co.u uk her website www.rosesharpjones.co.uk otonthehighstreet.co om/ or buy at www.notonthehighstreet.com/ rosesharpjones ocheted before, chec ck out If you haven’t crocheted check The Needlecraft Bookk, published by Dorling D Kindersley (www.dorlingkindersley-uk.co.uk). w.dorlingkindersley-u uk.co.uk). k) This is the perfect ct book to teach you the basics, and benefi fits from close-up pictures. picctures. www.coatscrafts.co.uk .co.ukk is a one-stop shop s for pliers and free patter rns. craft advice, suppliers patterns. 1st loop: work 6 double crochet into the loop. 2nd loop: work 2 double crochet, 2 chain, 1 double crochet, 2 chain, 2 double crochet into the loop (this creates the more square corners). Repeat across the round, alternating the pattern worked into each loop as above.

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Slip stitch the last stitch into the first, or as neatly as possible into another stitch to complete the circle.

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Fasten off the thread and sew in the ends. Add a ribbon or thread of your choice to hang the decoration. CLOTH ISSUE 6 ✼ WINTER 2010/2011 29

From Britain with Love Course notes – textured silver ring

From Britain with Love Course notes – mini clasp purse

Knitting magazine Knitting in the wings

feature

illustration by lee woodgate

s g n i w e h t n i g n i t t i n K

Whether they are backstage, on set or on air, knitting is a great way for those

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f, like me, you’ve ever been an extra for film or television, you’ll know that there is a lot of waiting around (I once spent eight hours in a pair of pyjamas with nothing but a trashy mag to pass the time) and boredom can quickly set in.

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in the entertainment industry to pass the time, discovers Clare Kelly

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Knitting magazine Knitting in the wings

feature

ABOVE: louise elliot knits for wales TOP RIGHT: aggie Mckenzie BOTTOM RIGHT: Jane asher and her teapot design

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get me some needles and wool and then every break, you’d find me sat with a cup of tea, knitting away.” Unlike a novel, where you can quickly lose your place, knitting can be put down the instant filming recommences and it doesn’t inhibit multi-tasking either: “When I put my knitting down to go back on set, the make-up

“i’ve been known to spend my spare time knitting, and i even knitted while we were live on air – my needles could often be heard click-clicking their way through many an interview,” supervisor would pick up where I left off and she enjoyed it so much, she barely wanted to give it back. It’s so therapeutic, you can still chat as you knit and be right in the middle of things as you do,” Tessa adds. And in the middle of things, on air, is where you’ll find Louise Elliott who has a weekday show on BBC Radio Wales. Louise recently organised a Rugby-themed knitting event and here she explains why: “We wanted

all they need to bake perfect cakes, she enjoys knitting while she is at rehearsals. Jane says: “I usually take some knitting to rehearsals, as if I read or do the crossword (one of my other addictions) it’s far too easy to miss an entrance cue. The joy of knitting is that it’s so very easy to carry around, you can chat or listen while you’re doing it, and if it’s a reasonably simple design I can pick it up and put it down without losing my place too easily.”

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Though, if you’re smart like many of those I spoke to in the entertainment industry, you’ll use this time constructively to do an activity you enjoy – such as knitting. Barely a day goes by without an ill-informed source telling us that knitting is cool just because a celebrity is spotted doing it (tell us something we don’t know) and today, you’re as likely to see a famous face casting on behind the scenes, as lighting up at the stage door. You might know her best for her portrayal as the long-suffering Raquel in Only Fools and Horses, but actress Tessa Peake-Jones is a knitter who doesn’t rely on Del Boy to provide yarn from off the back of a lorry. Tessa says, “I’ve just finished filming The Oaks* a supernatural drama centering around the lives of three families that spans different eras including the 60s, 80s and present day. My character Evelyn can be seen knitting in the show. The production team thought it would be nice to show the different characters wearing something she had obviously knitted, such as a waistcoat for her husband.” However, Tessa continued to knit even when she was backstage and explains: “When filming began I asked the crew if they would

to unite the whole of Wales to get behind the Wales rugby team in the Six Nations Championship 2010 and I came up with the idea of asking listeners of our radio show to join me in knitting a red scarf. Entire packs of Cubs, classes of schoolchildren, residents of nursing homes and hundreds of individuals from across Wales and beyond got involved. Knitting seemed to unite the people of Wales in a way I had never experienced before – grandmothers and mothers were knitting and teaching their children and grandchildren a new skill at the same time.” Louise’s own knitting journey began as a six-year-old child when her mum taught her to knit at home on the picturesque island of Anglesey. “I still remember her mantra, ‘in, over, down and off ’, and after making my Doctor Who scarf, the feeling of achievement when I progressed to making my first knitted rag doll was wonderful,” Louise admits. Keen listeners of Louise’s show may well have heard Louise knitting from time to time: “I’ve been known to spend my spare time knitting, and I even knitted while we were live on air – my needles could often be heard click-clicking their way through many an interview,” she laughs. Such is the portable nature of the craft, it’s no wonder that it can be enjoyed by so many at times when they otherwise wouldn’t be doing much at all. Jessie May is an actress currently starring in the lead role as Sophie in Mamma Mia at London’s Prince of Wales theatre. With a busy schedule of up to two performances a day, Jessie likes to relax by knitting. She says: “I first got into knitting when I was on the international tour of Mamma Mia. The entire cast was involved in a charity project knitting squares and a group of us decided to carry on doing it. I’d love to knit more but it can be hard to find the time.” Fellow actress and businesswoman Jane Asher is a true ambassador for craft of all kinds and in addition to providing cake makers with

Knitting magazine Knitting in the wings

feature

find out more

For everything you need to make and decorate beautiful cakes visit Jane Asher’s website www.janeasher.com Jessie May is currently starring as Sophie in Mamma Mia, running at the Prince of Wales theatre. To book tickets or for more information, visit http://www. mamma-mia.com/london.asp

You can listen to Louise Elliott on Jamie and Louise, weekdays 9am-12pm on BBC Radio Wales www.bbc.co.uk/ radiowales or 93.9FM & 882 MW. The Oaks* is scheduled to air in February. Visit www.itv.com to find out more. *Working title. Subject to change. Mamma Mia! Linzi Hately as ‘Donna’ and Jessie May as ‘Sophie’

There is one place, however, where knitting is out of the question for Jane: “I never knit by the side of the stage. Although I like to think of myself as a rational being, I’m always aware of the old theatrical superstition that knitting in the wings is incredibly unlucky (allegedly stemming from some ballerina years ago pirouetting off stage and being impaled on a pair of knitting needles).” That certainly sounds like a brutal end and brings new meaning to the term ‘break a leg’ but when the curtain falls and Jane is back at home, she enjoys nothing more than knitting for friends and family and mastering Fairisle. A triumphant Jane reveals, “I’m a reasonably fast knitter but certainly not expert. As with most mums, I’ve been most inspired by making things for my children, and one of the items I’m most proud of is a Fairisle beret that I knitted for my daughter Katie when she was about ten. It was the first time I’d used so many different coloured wools in a relatively complicated pattern and shape, and I was ridiculously pleased with myself.” This sense of pride is something that unites both knitters in the public eye and those of us who knit as we watch the programmes these famous knitters star in. It may come as no surprise then, that the super-clean and house-proud Aggie MacKenzie whom you will most certainly know from hit TV show How Clean is your

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House? indulges in a little knitting when she is not juggling her many projects including a new line of probiotic cleaning products. Growing up in the north of Scotland, where knitting was in the very fibre of her being, Aggie recounts how her granddad was a knitter himself and used to knit something rather special: “My granddad was a fisherman and would use 4ply to knit his own pants!” Aggie exclaims. While Aggie is not knitting her own knickers, she has inherited this love of knitting and although her interest had lain dormant for a while, she has recently taken up the craft with gusto and, like Jane, created clothing for her own family. At the moment, Aggie is making “a simple v-neck with ribbing at the base” for her son who thinks his mum’s efforts are, in his own words, “wicked.” Of course, this is high praise indeed, and Aggie says, “I hope he’ll treasure it and doesn’t lose it! Of course, it’s ended up more expensive than I’d originally thought but it’s such a beautiful thick wool and I love to pick it up when it’s really cold and I’ve got the fire on. In fact, I went to listen to a lecture the other day and did a few rows as I listened.” But whether you tune in or tune out to the TV or radio as you knit, listen out for the clicking of needles and don’t be surprised if you look up to see that a well-known personality is knitting right in front of your very eyes. l

llisten out for the clicking of needles and don’t be surprised if you look up to see that a well-known personality is knitting right in front of your very eyes. casting on call

l As a knitter, you’re in good company with these famous faces. l Christina Hendricks; Joan in Mad Men l Welsh talent Catherine Zeta Jones l Sarah Jessica Parker – best known as Carrie in Sex & the City l Keeley Hawes of Spooks and Life on Mars l Amanda Seyfried, famous for playing Sophie in the film Mamma Mia l Movie stars Scarlett Johansson and Uma Thurman l And last, but by no means least, Julia Roberts

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photograph by brinkhoff and Mogenburg

Aggie MacKenzie’s new cleaning range, Probiotic Clean and new book Ask Aggie is now available; visit www.aggiemackenzie.co.uk

Making Light up the room

making

FEATURE

Lighting up the room

Lighting designer Helen Rawlinson in her studio

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Making Light up the room

Clare Kelly chATs To LighTing dEsignER hELEn RAwLinson AboUT indiAn inspiRATion And why hER LAmpshAdEs ARE LikE LiTTLE pEopLE Light, unlike its shadowy nemesis The Dark, is something often associated with happiness. We use it to find our way in the dark (sometimes as much metaphorically as literally), and we describe effervescent people as having a smile that can ‘light up a room.’ In short, lighting is essential, and for talented lighting designer Helen Rawlinson, it’s the reason for her business. Based in The Chocolate Factory in north London, Helen hand screen prints paper and fabric to be fashioned into a range of shades perfect to brighten up dark corners of the home. Helen explains: ‘We are naturally drawn to the light source in a room so it’s worth making the most of it, choosing what you really like and showing off a bit of your personality.’

Got it in shades Photographs: © HelenRawlinson

Personality is something that Helen’s shades have plenty of – from the alphabet-adorned to the Moroccan-inspired, but it was a trip to India that really spiced things up. ‘I did a placement in India during my MA and fell in love with hand made paper having visited a factory there and seeing all these beautiful pages hanging out to dry in the sunshine. After that, I was hooked on paper and the way it changes when light passes through it, playing with colours and textures and picking out detail. I was obsessed with making paper and how I could use it with light.’

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Making Light up the room

making Closer to home, inspiration is found as the seasons change from one to another. Particularly, ‘spring in the early morning with a clear blue sky and in autumn towards the end of the day when the sun is low and everything glows,’ offers Helen.

Listen while you work It might sound like an idyllic existence but let’s not forget, Helen is a working mother who somehow manages to fit in: making shades to order (Heal’s, Designers Guild and The Conran Shop have all been stockists); teaching workshops; childcare and more. But Helen has found her groove and couldn’t work without her music, she confesses: ‘I listen to Radio 1. I know there are so many better things to listen to, but it’s just a bit of banter and background music while I work. I hate adverts and constant talking is too dull. If I’m working late, I do like to have a blast with something loud from my CD pile.’ I know it’s a cliche but I do wonder, is there a typical day? ‘Now that my son has started school, I’m finding a routine to my day. Mornings are always a mad dash to get out of the door on time. After that, it’s off to the studio. I catch up on emails and try not to get too distracted by the online world, then it’s printing, sewing, making, packing and posting, in no particular order. 3pm comes around so quickly and it’s time to switch off

FEATURE

and be mum for a while. I often catch up with things later in the evening: blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr. Before you know it, it’s bedtime. Oh, and I do go out every now and then.’

From past to present Helen’s rise to success, she believes, can be attributed to many things. Moving to London in 1990 after an HND, she then attended the Royal College of Art to undertake an MA which is where the seeds of her business were sown, as she explains: ‘I had such a brilliant time there and I made some lifelong friends. The Final Show got me some great leads. I started selling stuff through Designers Guild using their fabric range as cushions and lampshades, The Conran Shop ran my print and embroidered collage series for several years and I continued with the design work throughout this time.’ It was after this time that Heal’s approached Helen to design a range of printed lampshades. Were there any challenges working with such an established name? ‘I had to really simplify what I was doing in order to meet their price but then the first range sold so well that I brought out my own collection and paired them up with turned, wooden bases. I launched at the London trade fair, Top Drawer and it all went crazy after that!’

‘We are naturally drawn to the light source in a room so it’s worth making the most of it, choosing what you really like and showing off a bit of your personality’

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Making Light up the room

As a craftsperson, launching your own label must be really daunting but events like Top Drawer are often seen as the perfect launch pad. Of course, you might not wish to run a business of your own but you may well wish to create your own lampshade and Helen offers some tips (below), to get started.

Expert view If you fancy having a go at making your own shades, what should you expect? Helen admits ‘that’s a tricky question and depends on whether you want a simple drum shape or a more vintage curvy style and whether you choose fabric or paper. It is possible to buy the ring components and adhesive card to make your own shades, it’s just finding a method to hold it all together – that’s the difficult part.’ Putting the time in to create something unique to you has to be a plus, no matter how long it takes. And as a way to instantly update a room, it cannot be beaten. ‘Making a shade of your own from wallpaper or fabric that ties in with the rest of your home is definitely worth trying out,’ urges Helen. Lampshade-making kits do make the process a lot easier and you can find these in a range of locations including in Helen’s own online shop. Each kit contains all you need to create something you’d be proud to call your own work. Or you could just purchase one of Helen’s shades which, in stark contrast to the high street shades, will offer the spark of originality and that all important fun-factor. Helen says: ‘I like to think of my lamps as little people you can dot around your home. They add a bit of fun, individuality and warmth to the lighting world, not just another boring lampshade. I do print a lot of neutral colours, but it’s the hand printing and dotted detail that I hope makes them stand out from the rest.’ And stand out they do, like shining beacons among the boring mass-produced shades that have kept us in the dark for too long. Helen’s website can be found at www.helenrawlinson.com

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Making notes Tips and tricks Fancy having a go yourself? Turn over for a lampshade masterc lass. Embellish plain shades with buttons, ribbon or vinyl wall stickers. Easy stencil techniques can also transform a shade into something special. Try simple repeats or strip es.

Resources www.fredaldous.co.uk sells a sma ll range of lampshade materials inclu ding self adhesive PVC, ideal for covering old frames with new fabric. They also supply frames. You can now buy a kit to make an easy lampshade using wallpaper or decorative papers or, for a mor e professional version, with fabric and rolled edges. See my online shop: www.helenrawlinson.bigcartel.co m

Cloth magazine Time for tea towels

✽ Time for SUZIE STANFORD

tea towels

Melbourne-based designer Suzie Stanford talks to Clare Kelly about her love of all things regal – and tells us why tea towels aren’t just for washing up

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ith creative and crafty parents it was inevitable that Suzie Stanford would grow up to be a maker. You may already be familiar with her inspired tea towel chairs that have impressed the buyers at Liberty. Here she explains her vision, and shows you how to turn a simple tea towel into a special memory to be treasured!

Can you describe how you work, and what influences you in your design?

Everything I do stems from vintage treasures that I rework into new pieces. Ideas and concepts for pieces come to me quickly, but resolving those ideas can lead me on very different journeys, whether they be collaborative or solitary. One week, I will be working closely with steel fabricators to make a base for a champagne cork chandelier. The next week, I will spend forever searching every auction house in town for a particular furniture shape for a one-off upholstered piece, or making long road trips hunting for second-hand pieces to anchor a client’s fit out theme. Colour informs most of my creative decisions. In order to continue to source the many pieces I rework, I travel overseas twice a year, visiting antique fairs and markets, both in England and Paris. However, I have a gorgeous studio that I work out of that used to be a pool cabana with two floor-to-ceiling glazed walls and a great stereo. It is a place you can escape to forever. 70 CLOTH ISSUE 7 ✼ SPRING 2011

That sounds amazing! Do you have a favourite item in your studio?

I have a portrait of Queen Elizabeth looking young and enigmatic by the Italian artist Pietro Annigoni. It used to grace the boardroom of the Australian Wheat Board and I bought it at an auction selling off the Board’s assets – so the Queen now gazes regally at my crazy creations.

What is your very first creative memory?

On the making side, my inspiration was really my mum and dad – Marian and Walter Stanford, who ran a soft toy manufacturing company called Jakas (famous for creating Big Ted from ABC’s Playschool). From the moment I was born, I was immersed

in overseas trips, sourcing new fabrics, components and customers, and spending part of every weekend and school holidays working in their factory making teddy bears. It was an idyllic childhood and formed the foundation for the talents I use every day in my adult life. I have ‘inspiration will take you everywhere’ painted on my studio wall, and I truly believe that you can make a good living through your creative pursuits while having a great time along that journey.

Cloth readers may have seen your tea towel-covered chairs for sale in Liberty – how did working with tea towels come about?

When I was given the opportunity to refurnish The Mink bar at The Prince –

Cloth magazine Time for tea towels

SUZIE STANFORD

Resources

Suzie’s chairs are stocked in Liberty, Great Marlborough Street, London; www.liberty.co.uk Visit Suzie’s website for more information on her chairs and other products: www.suziestanford.com

1960s mostly Irish and Polish Linen tea towels are strong enough to upholster in and have such wonderful colourfast colours and themes, which lend themselves to patchwork.

How long did it take to make the chairs?

I tend not to work on one piece at a time, but rather work on multiple pieces. But let’s take a Liberty chair

What is the attraction of souvenir and commemorative tea towels?

I have always been fascinated by unused collections that were proudly bought and stored by the original owner, but never used or enjoyed. Upon finding long-forgotten souvenir tea towels, often collected from holiday trips, I was inspired to rework these treasures. Furniture came to me, as these 1950s and

Make a tea towel cushion in 10 minutes with Suzie Stanford

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To make your cushion, cut two other square’s brighter side. Sew around three sides of the squares of the tea towel fabric tea towel squares, using half that are half an inch bigger than an inch seam allowance. your finished cushion measurement On the fourth side of the on each side. Place the two squares, sew a third of the Ideally the squares so that way in from each side. This tea towels are they are on top of leaves you with an open 100% linen and each other, and so space in the middle of ed colourfast dy ain ret y that the brighter that side. Use that space the so that d an e ap sh ir side of each to turn your pillow right the for r lou co square faces the side out. longer

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Oh yes! I so want to make the new royal couple a love seat with tea towels from all the places they have holidayed together – how can I get that prize job?

Do you think that Cloth readers could make their own commemorative piece?

How about a tea towel cushion depicting a place you’ve loved visiting or an event? You can make it double-sided and seek out a towel that is a calendar from a year that holds meaning to you – the year you were born, got married or fell in love – so if it ever falls off the sofa, it will make you smile rather than get cross.

You will need

✱ 1 x ball of R

owan Shimmer owan Cotton G lace ✱ 3.25mm croc het hook (yarns are used together throughout) ✱ 1 x ball of R

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Finally, you are ready to finish your cushion. Stuff it firmly with a pad or filling and then hand stitch the opening closed. Make a lovely cup of tea, sit back with your feet up and admire your handiwork.

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All images © Suzie Stanford

a boutique hotel, bar and restaurant development near the beach in St Kilda, Melbourne, it inspired me to create a whole body of site-specific pieces which launched me from making jewellery to objects. I created a theme of travel for the fit out – a journey where you were never alone in your thoughts, and were open to meeting people. So I hunted and gathered everything related to travel, and tea towels were something I stumbled across. The rest is history!

as an example: I strip it, take a pattern, layout fabric for the sewing, rework anything that needs restoring on the chair, then the upholstering begins. This process usually takes about a week excluding the time to source all the tapestries or tea towels that they are made up in.

I notice you have lots of royal imagery in your work – would you like to do something related to the upcoming royal wedding?

Making Paper cuts

making

FEATURE

Paper cuts

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ut it, fold it, quill it or shred it – paper is one of the most versatile materials in the world so no wonder we have origami from Japan, wycinanki from Poland and quilling from Ancient Egypt. Indeed, paper craft has a rich history but its future is looking even more exciting. 2011 will see the launch of the eagerly anticipated Paper Cutting – Contemporary Artists, Timeless Crafts, a book which features the work of twenty-six artists including LA-based multimedia artist Elsa Mora. In fact, Elsa was the artist chosen to design the book cover: ‘I felt really honoured to be part of that book, because it gathers my favourite paper cut artists from all over the world. When I was asked to design the cover with one of my pieces I was extremely excited. Working on it was a real pleasure. All the people involved were easy to communicate with,

‘Fern Eyes’ by Elsa Mora

‘I get inspired from people, objects, nature, everything is potentially a great source of inspiration as long as we notice it’

professional and sensitive; that makes all the difference when it comes to group work.’ With a surreal quality, Elsa’s craft is inspired ‘when my five senses are awake. In the end inspiration is always the result of using our senses in all their potential. I try to be aware of it so I don’t miss all the wonderful things that surround us. I get inspired from people, objects, nature, everything is potentially a great source of inspiration as long as we notice it.’ Paper Cutting isn’t out until later this month but fellow paper cut artist Suzy Taylor has already pre-ordered her copy. Based in London, Suzy’s paper cuts draw inspiration from traditional folk arts including scherenschnitte – the German art of ‘scissor cuts.’ You might think that the scariest part is making the first cut but, as Suzy explains, it’s a blank sheet of paper that is far more intimidating.

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Photograph: © Elsa Mora

We use it as currency yet it can be relatively inexpensive – what’s not to love about paper, asks Clare Kelly

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© Paper + Craft, Chronicle Books

© Famille Summerbelle

© Suzy Taylor

Making Paper cuts

Above, from top: House, by Suzy Taylor; Julie Marabelle’s map of London; Animal Cupholders by Paper + Craft

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‘My fear is the drawing stage when you just have the white paper and so I begin by sketching rough ideas and then work fluidly never drawing the whole thing out at once. I have an idea and I add to this over time with more detail, being careful that it is all joined together. Think of it like a stained glass window with the paper as the leading and you are cutting away the negative space.’ Suzy first picked up a scalpel just a little over two years ago and taught herself with a small piece of origami paper. Paper cutting is a craft that Suzy can undertake in a small area of her home without all the mess: ‘Paper cutting is so portable and it’s not dirty so I am able to do it when I want to.’ If you’re starting out, she recommends: ‘Get a good self-healing cutting mat and a scalpel with a very firm blade, I use one by Xcelite. Also, don’t choose really thick paper, it will kill your hands. Instead, go for thin poster paper which can be coloured on one side with a white reverse to draw on.’ The beauty of paper is manifold but French designer Julie Marabelle of Famille Summerbelle explains: ‘I love the fact that it is so fragile, so delicate to cut and yet one can sit on paper, for example Molo Design or even wear it (Hussein Chalayan’s Air Mail Dress).’ Julie’s hand-cut maps of London, Paris and New York are proving to be best sellers and it was these that she says have been her favourite pieces to work on.

‘I get really excited if I find some new interesting sheet of paper, my first reaction is to cut it into strips and start making the shapes’ Paper cutting is just one of many things that you can do with paper, as Minhee Cho will tell you. New York-based Minhee has loved paper since she was a child and set up Paper + Cup eight years ago with husband Truman to produce and sell high end paper goods including bespoke letterpress invitations and screen printed journals. Their unique and vintageinspired look has been particularly well-received by those who are looking for show-stopping wedding stationery and has been noted by titles such as Martha Stewart Wedding and The New York Times. Their first book, Paper + Craft, was published last year and showcases 25 paper projects with step-by-step instructions so that even those who are new to paper craft can open the book and find something that is suitable for their level (or lack) of expertise. Minhee says: ‘My husband and I love paper and we thought it’d be fun to think of ideas on how it can be used for many different uses – whether for decorating, gifting or just to have fun with your child. This was the inspiration for our book.’ Yulia Brodskaya, like Elsa Mora, is featured in Paper Cutting – Contemporary Artists, Timeless Crafts, and has an international reputation for her vibrant 3D paper illustration undertaking prestigious commissions for

Making Paper cuts

FEATURE

Photograph: © Andy Singleton

Photographs: © Yulia Brodskaya

making

Above: Yulia Brodskaya’s commercial work for The Observer, and Hermes; Andy Singleton’s paper bird at Liberty clients such as Hermes, Starbucks and Orange. When pressed to name her favourite commission, Yulia says diplomatically: ‘Usually I don’t like to play favourites with my works, so it is difficult to name a particular project. The thing that has the most influence on my attitude towards the assignments is the amount of creative freedom that I’ve been given. I must admit that only occasionally I have to deal with situations when my creative freedom gets really limited by clients, so I have to compromise and follow their directions rather than what I think is best.’ The quest for new papers is an ongoing process for Yulia and her enthusiasm for the medium is evident: ‘For many years, I have collected various kinds of paper, practised origami, collages, some paper sculptures, created handmade paper sheets and it made me aware of the beauty and cultural significance of paper. I get really excited if I find some new interesting sheet of paper, my first reaction is to cut it into strips and start making the shapes.’ Lending itself well to shape making, paper can embody a sculptural quality, the likes of which have been demonstrated recently by maker Andy Singleton when he created a romantic set of paper woodland scenes complete with coloured birds for the new Stationery Room at Liberty. Entitled ‘They loved what they found’, the three-metre long window installation and two framed wall pieces were commissioned by the Crafts Council and made by Wakefieldbased Andy who uses layered, cut and folded paper in his work. Andy says: ‘This commission really allowed me to push my work in new directions, exploring further the potential of paper in 3D. The main challenge for the work was to create a realistic

bird, while at the same time keeping it playful and in keeping with the overall tone. Once I achieved the correct proportions and look of the bird, the mere fact it was constructed in paper as opposed to any other material took care of the rest.’ There’s no right or wrong way to use paper and, as Minhee states: ‘All one needs is a bit of imagination.’ And if you mess it up, worry not. It’s not going to break the bank to buy a new sheet of paper.

Making notes Resources

Paper + Craf t, by Minhee and Trum

an Cho (with Randi

s, £12.99 Brookman Harris), Chronicle Book

ts, timeless craf t, Paper Cutting – contemporar y artis ). nicle Books (coming soon compiled by Laura Heyenga, Chro Youngs, Papercrafting in No Time, by Clare Cico Books, £14.99

Papercraft 2 – design and art with

paper, edited by

, £44. R Klanten and B Meyer, Gestalten Craf ts, £12.99 Paper Cuts, by Taylor Hagerty, Lark

.famillesummerbelle.com ; www.papercupdesign.com; www singleton.co.uk; andy ; t.com gspo folkartpapercuts.blo cutting; www.artyulia.com elsita.typepad.com /allaboutpaper

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Knitting magazine A tale of one city

feature

A tale of one city a heritage of fine knitwear and an

aris is a chic city, but that will not come as a shock to you. Coco Chanel is hugely responsible for this. At this point, I’m not telling you a lot you don’t already know about

the history of knitwear in Paris. However, you might not know that many of Chanel’s patrons in the 1920s would have strolled down the Champs-Élysées wearing a fabric made a little closer to home, in Scotland.

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P

to be right now, discovers Clare Kelly

illustration by lee woodgate

evolving craft scene makes Paris an exciting place

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Knitting magazine A tale of one city

Knitting magazine A tale of one city

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sonia ryKiel

ashion Rykiel’s philosophy was simple ; to unf garments that (la démode) by way of creating knitted d stripes were both hemless and non-lined. Knitte her work. became – and still are – a trademark of Established in 1797, Johnstons of Elgin take raw fleece and create finished fabrics and it was their fine Scottish jersey weights that Chanel chose to work with. At this time in the early 20th Century, using jersey for fashion garments was a relatively new concept, as Rosemary Harden, manager of the Fashion Museum in Bath explains: “Previously, jersey had only really been used for underwear, but during the 1920s there were a great number of couturiers working in Paris who began to introduce jersey as a credible fashion fabric for women. Chanel is of course, one of them.” Though Rosemary is keen to stress that it was not only Chanel who was working with this knitted fabric in Paris in the 1920s. Italian designer Elsa Schiaparelli was known to be Chanel’s great rival as, in the years prior to the outbreak of World War II, both women dominated French and global fashion. Where Chanel pioneered simple elegant knitwear, Schiaparelli was heavily influenced by Salvador Dali, Jean Cocteau and Alberto Giacometti, her friends and members of the Surrealist Art Movement. Schiaparelli created many radical garments including the outlandish Shoe Hat made of black wool felt and nautical-inspired bow sweaters featuring ‘trompe-l’oeil’ (trick of the eye) motifs. Dilys E. Blum, who curated an exhibition

sonia ryKiel

anny blatt

sonia ryKiel

feature

of Schiaparelli’s work at the Philadelphia Museum of Art describes the success of the bow sweater in her book, Shocking! The Art and Fashion of Elsa Schiaparelli: “Schiaparelli’s signature bowknot sweater, from her November 1927 collection, was her first big success and became one of her most copied designs. Before achieving the final version, Schiaparelli experimented with several renditions of the design. Archival photographs support her statement that most of these attempts were less than successful.” When war broke out, fashion understandably took a back seat and France became an occupied country. Details of knitwear during this period are fuzzy, to say the least – Schiaparelli ceased working and there was a decisive shift in fashion. By 1946, Bergère de France had founded its spinning mill and became the first manufacturer of French yarn. This business grew phenomenally and is, of course, still supplying quality yarn in not only France but also the rest of the world, including the UK. It was some time later, in 1968, that the ‘Queen of Knits’, Sonia Rykiel, began her reign of the Paris fashion scene, taking up residence in rue de Grenelle. Although it was not her own city that crowned Rykiel the ‘Queen of Knits’ but, in fact, the iconic

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Knitting magazine A tale of one city

anny blatt

origin, bergere de franCe

anny blatt

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yarn shop and tea salon. Opened a couple of years ago by American Aimee Gille, L’Oisive Thé is one of the first knitting cafés in Paris. Aimee reveals: “I really enjoy the mix of generations knitting together and getting along because of this common love for wool but compared to other big cities where knitting happens, like New York, Paris’s knitting scene is young. Knit cafés don’t really exist here.” Each Wednesday, Aimee hosts a well attended knitting night and offers a selection of yarns, which “French knitters have a harder time getting their hands on.” Such as, I enquire? “The yarns I carry are handpainted,” says Aimee “they are such a rare thing here and so I stock small brands such as Lorna’s Laces, Koigu, Sweet Georgia, Dream in Color, Shibui Knits and Madeline Tosh.” The influence of American knitting culture on Paris is evident, but fashion too plays a starring role, as Aimee says: “La Maille or knitwear is very ‘in’ right now. So, lots of people are looking to learn to knit to make their very own knitwear.” Françoise Tellier-Loumagne, a textiles specialist and teacher is author of The Art of Knitting: Inspirational Stitches, Textiles, and Surfaces. Françoise is a fan of the work of French designer Jean-Paul Gaultier,

sonia ryKiel

American journal Women’s Wear Daily. Rykiel’s philosophy was simple; to unfashion (la démode) by way of creating knitted garments that were both hemless and non-lined. Knitted stripes became – and still are – a trademark of her work, in addition to knitwear embellished with slogans and rhinestones (strass). The 1960s also saw the launch of the Anny Blatt yarn label which, like Bergère de France, achieved not only national but international success and is today still very popular. Ghislaine Viounikoff of Anny Blatt says: “Our brand is very present in Paris where you will find our yarns in stores such as Le Bon Marché or Galerie Lafayette. Our customers are looking for the best quality and exclusive products. We use fashion models to communicate that knitwear can be sexy and use luxury yarns such as angora, mohair and merino.” And in pursuit of further luxury, the label has just launched a new angora yarn called Absolu, which has the look and feel of fur. In some ways of course, it is. Phildar is another popular and wellestablished French yarn that we may be familiar with and this is stocked at a host of stores across Paris. Though if you are looking for the smaller labels head to L’Oisive Thé, a

t

sonia rykiel images courtesy of sonia rykiel, anny blatt images courtesy of anny blatt

ur customers are Ghislaine Viounikoff of Anny Blatt: “O products. We use looking for the best quality and exclusive twear can be sexy fashion models to communicate that kni mohair and merino.” and use luxury yarns such as angora,

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Knitting magazine A tale of one city

PhotograPh by knitta

Knitta tagged landmarKs around paris elsa sChiaparelli’s signature bowKnot sweater

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knitwear Paris’s past is rooted in classic, couture arelli with and it is designers such as Elsa Schiap paved her many influences that have no doubt the way for a new Parisienne style.

PhotograPh courtesy of the

PhiladelPhia museum of art

yarn shop and tea salon thé, a l’oisive l’oisive court thé esy of PhotograPhs

in particular, his Aran knit backless tops. Working with students, Françoise suggests that she is perhaps disappointed by the take-up of knitting among young people in the city: “I have students who are highly motivated but they have so many other areas of interests too and as such, they do not have as much time as I would like them to devote to knitting.” So, what is next for the knitwear scene in Paris? Aimee suggests “in the coming years knitting will become very popular” and although Françoise knows of a scene, she is yet to visit any knit cafes. Perhaps, it could be argued that knitting is traditionally thought of as more of a solitary pursuit in Paris but a turning point is no doubt on the horizon. Not only with the addition of cafés such as L’Oisive Thé but also with the introduction of knit graffiti groups obviously influenced by the work of Magda Sayeg, founder of Knitta, Please. In 2007, Knitta was invited to Paris to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Bergère de France and asked to ‘revitalise urban landscapes with knitted pieces.’ This was exactly what Knitta did and consequently, tagged various landmarks around Paris with colourful knitting including the Notre Dame. Elsewhere in the capital, you might (if you’re lucky) spot the work of Collectif France Tricot; a group of five knitters who, as well as creating designs for photo shoots, also

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indulge in street art and knitted graffiti. One such piece saw the group transform a green dustbin into a rubbish-eating monster with knitted red tongue and goggly eyes. Literally tongue-in-cheek, the work of the Collectif is first and foremost fun and perhaps the best vehicle for attracting

knitting in Paris

Recommended by Aimee Gille of L’Oisive Thé l My shop, L’Oisive Thé – to be found in the Butte aux Cailles neighbourhood in Paris’ 13th arrondissement among the art deco architectural heritage. l Entree des Fournisseurs – a large haberdashery store which sells Libertycovered buttons, ribbons, felt, fabrics and of course yarn. l La Droguerie – a crafting haven and a French institution. l Le Comptoir – this restaurant carries the motto of ‘home sweet home’ and it is truly cosy. l Le Marché St. Pierre (Montmartre) – one of the larger fabric stores in the city.

resources

Fashion Museum, Bath www.museumofcostume.co.uk

a younger audience to the craft. Paris’s past is rooted in classic, couture knitwear and it is designers such as Elsa Schiaparelli with her many influences that have no doubt paved the way for a new Parisienne style. A style that cannot be defined but certainly has that je ne sais quoi. l Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia www.philamuseum.org The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York www.metmuseum.org/ Museum of Decorative Arts, Paris www.lesartsdecoratifs.fr/ Sonia Rykiel www.soniarykiel.fr/ Anny Blatt www.annyblatt.com/ L’Oisive Thé www.loisivethe.com/ Shocking! The Art and Fashion of Elsa Schiaparelli by Dilys E Blum The Art of Knitting: Inspirational Stitches, Textiles, and Surfaces by Françoise Tellier-Loumagne Chanel: Couturiere at Work by Amy de la Haye and Shelley Tobin

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Making Love me tender

Love me tender Photographs: Clare Kelly

Clare Kelly meets Louise PresLey, an artist and maker who takes trash and turns it into treasure

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Making Love me tender

making

Feature

L-R: Old letters deliver promise; examples of Louise’s work the past into the future. It can make you Louise Presley has stories. She has so many feel connected and give an item a sense of stories that you could chat to her for hours purpose,’ Louise explains. and never be bored. Some of these stories Most recently, Louise has been preparing are embellished with anecdotes and some for her own show, taking a distinct interest are still waiting for a happy ending. And that’s in domestic sewing items and exploring how where you come in. an object which has been displaced can A professional artist with a background become functional once again. For example, in fashion and commercial textiles, Louise transforming a small doll’s shoe into a pin began Hope & Elvis in 2003 and started cushion. running workshops from her studio Though they are not the only shoes that in the grounds of Welbeck Abbey in have captured Louise’s imagination: Nottinghamshire in 2005. The abbey’s estate ‘Someone gave me two shoes, both right dates back to 1086 and this feeling of history shoes. One is black leather and the other is is prevalent not only in the bricks and mortar velvet and they are from the 1930s. I keep which surround Louise’s studio, but also in them in my house on a shelf because they the workshops themselves. ‘I love to see other people make me laugh and have inspired me to Focusing on salvaged materials, these workshops touch on a variety of bring something back to life, think about a shoe installation.’ This raises an important question: how techniques, encouraging participants of all to see what they will do with on earth did anyone end up with two right abilities to take something old and turn it it. I get given so many things, shoes? into something new. I think people sense that it will ‘My friend told me this was because And the real beauty of these workshops during the war, the left and right shoes is that you have unlimited access to be going to a good home’ were transported in separate lorries so Louise’s giant stash of materials: pieces that they wouldn’t get stolen. I’d never heard of this before but of jewellery in need of a little TLC; beads rescued from then someone else told me that she had a load of left slippers!’ cardigans that have been worn and loved; vintage postcards laughs Louise. with messages to people who held each other’s secrets and Humour is an integral part of Louise’s making ethos and this intriguing curios – the origin of which is yet to be discovered. may go some way to explaining why she has so many people A broken necklace becomes charms for a kilt pin brooch, returning to her workshops month after month (when I attended a china rose from a broken mirror becomes a ring and the Loved Again workshop, I met a teacher who visits the studio photographs become a piece of art. But how can Louise part once a month as a treat). There’s also a constant flow of tea with it all? and homemade cake. ‘People ask me that a lot but I love to see other people bring Tea, cake and giggles aside, what keeps them coming back? something back to life, to see what they will do with it. I get Louise says: ‘The most common thing people say when they given so many things, I think people sense that it will be going contact me to book is ‘I just need another fix’. I hope I offer to a good home,’ she says. a warm and relaxed environment where people can explore, Sentimentality is key to Louise’s workshops and her own develop and make to their heart’s content.’ practice: ‘I want people to have a feeling of linking, of bringing

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Photograph: Anna Rowe

Making Love me tender

The studio is a haven of creativity

Making notes Louise’s top 5 inspirational art

ists

Louise Bourgeois, Tracey Emin, Gray son Perr y, Julie Arkell, Caroline Broadhead.

Make a date with Hope & Elvis

To find out more and to book work shops, visit www.hopeandelvis.com

Having attended one of the workshops myself, I can testify that this is exactly what you’ll get if you book onto one of Louise’s workshops. The fact that I also managed to get through about three slices of the cake in question (lemon drizzle) only sweetens my experience further. Louise also invites in other makers to host workshops at her, quite frankly, enormous studio and these include Janine Nelson of Smashing Chintz who recently led a mosaic workshop, milliner Mary Jane Baxter and textile designer Julie Arkell, who fuses craft and art. This fusion is something which Louise is very aware of and explains: ‘The line between art and craft is so fine and I am constantly striving within my own practice to consider materials, skills and meaning. My art is very different from my craft. I like to produce art that makes people feel very comfortable but I also like to make pieces that make people feel very uncomfortable and evoke emotions.’ Suitcases, like shoes, intrigue Louise, and she recently purchased a ‘lovely old suitcase at a car boot sale.’ Was there a story behind that? ‘The suitcase belonged to a lady who used it when she travelled to Vienna with her mother for a holiday. I didn’t know how she could bear to part with it.’ Dotted around the studio, you won’t be surprised to see there are an abundance of suitcases just waiting to be whisked away on a new adventure. Some still have the luggage tags attached and Louise told me that she almost wanted to drop them back to the addresses scrawled on the labels.

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A practical person, Louise does make things for her own home but don’t expect pristine patterns and chintz. She explains, ‘It’s usually essential things that get made for my home like cushions and curtains but I do love making things that are practical but make my home my own. My “God Save The Gas” doorstop and matching “Welcome to Redlands” Queen-inspired collage is a favourite. Making personal presents is something that I really enjoy, my mum has lots of things that I have made especially for her but she doesn’t get to keep them too long as I keep borrowing them as samples for the workshops!’ Louise wasn’t born into a family of artists but enjoyed discovering her creativity as a child, ‘I enjoyed drawing and compiling sketchbooks as well as making clothes for my Tiny Tears but I was always interested in a jumble sale!’ She then went on to work in the textiles industry as a design manager for Courtaulds in Nottingham before completing a degree in fashion which enabled her to turn her hobby into a business. ‘Making is good for the soul, it’s good for the economy and it broadens people’s minds. With sites like Etsy and Folksy, it makes things far more democratic. It’s flexible and allows people to try things out that they wouldn’t have been able to before.’ Marrying her time spent in industry with that in education has allowed Louise, it would seem, to keep a fresh approach and to constantly evolve as both an artist and maker. A true multi-tasker, she not only creates and leads the workshops but designs all her promotional material too. When we catch up for a second chat on the ‘phone, Louise is playing a game of hide and seek with her granddaughter and I feel a bit mean for stealing her away when time is so precious. However, it would seem that Louise is a naturally busy person ‘forever juggling’ and thriving on the variety that this brings to her daily life. Could she pick her favourite part of the day? ‘The obvious answer would be arriving at the studio but if I was honest, it would be getting into bed. It’s nice to feel that I have achieved the things I need to during the day and that I have earned a good night’s sleep.’

Making The treasure hunters

making

FEATURE

Treasure hunters Clare Kelly visits a church in East London to meet Amanda and Matt Caines in their subterranean studio

Opposite page: Amanda’s studio; Above L-R: Amanda and Matt Caines; China doll heads

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lipping away from the noise of the main road and stepping down the stairs into the still crypt of St John on Bethnal Green does have a somewhat calming effect – whether you are spiritual or not. It is in the depths of this church, designed in 1826 by architect Sir John Soane (who also designed Dulwich College Art Gallery) that mixed media jeweller Amanda Caines and her sculptor and wood carver husband Matt work. The crypt has long been at the centre of local life in the East End and has evolved as the needs of its community have changed. During WWII, the crypt was a place of worship when the main part of the church was bombed and it was frequently used as an air raid shelter. One can only image the stories that form as much of this building as the Bath Stone used in the original construction. Today the crypt is home to small local businesses and art studios of which Amanda and Matt occupy one each, in addition to a larger room used for classes in sculpture and life drawing. Amanda’s own space is full of curios and is neatly organised with heavy wooden drawers and cabinets salvaged from

museums holding row upon row of found objects. On the wall, macabre-looking doll heads are strung up next to tiny trinkets found on the couple’s many beach walks. Having grown up on the Sussex coast, Amanda has always sourced materials for her necklaces, brooches and bracelets from wooden, ceramic and glass matter that has been washed ashore. For those of us who have only ever found old boots and sea-whispering shells, we might question how this could be possible but the proof is there to behold on Amanda’s table. Now living in London, Amanda’s desire to be close to water has not ebbed away. In fact, she could be described as a mudlark. Which, you may ask, is what? ‘There are stretches of the Thames that are archeological sites of importance and normally out of bounds but with a special licence from the Port of London authority, I can walk along these beaches and hunt for things,’ Amanda explains. The treasure that lies beneath the riverbank is vast and can tell us so much about the way that people used to live and the pursuits they were fond of. Among these treasures are Amanda’s collection of Fairings – little china dolls and toys often awarded to children as prizes at Victorian fairs.

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Photographs: Clare Kelly

Making The treasure hunters

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Making The treasure hunters

This page: A selection of Amanda’s jewellery; Opposite page: Matt’s studio space and some works in progress Amanda and Matt are adamant that if we keep our eyes open and really look around, these raw materials can be found in cities and towns, countryside and coast. And a leisurely day on the beach is just the time to try beachcombing; a simple activity that the whole family can enjoy, as both Amanda and Matt can testify: ‘We have always spent time on the beach as a family and our eyes are always open to things that can be found in the sand. Both our son Gabriel and daughter Josephine have grown up doing this and now they are older, have embraced it.’ This activity has also led to the couple forming a friendship with the poet Peter Martin whose work they were introduced to at Much Ado Books in Alfriston, Sussex: ‘a place where you look at an old book in the reading room and eat cake,’ says Amanda. ‘Reading Peter’s poems, I discovered that he had walked along many of the same beaches as us, and experienced the same beauty.’ Following this discovery, Amanda contacted the poet about his work and asked if he would let her use extracts from his poems to enable her pieces to tell the story of the beaches where they were first conceived. He agreed and the following verse speaks for itself:

‘To the south, two headlands frame a cleft of sea and bound the haven’

Photographs: Amanda Caines

In addition to Sussex, another place the couple talk of fondly is Abergavenny, and notably, The Art Shop and Gallery run by Pauline Griffiths where Matt and Amanda often exhibit. Though both the natural world and other artists influence Amanda and Matt, it is in each other that they find the refinement they need to complete either a necklace in Amanda’s case or for Matt, a sculpture. ‘Work defines me,’ Matt says, ‘but when I come to a crossroads, it is Amanda who helps me refine – we are together every day, it is natural and our work is who we are.’ They plan to work on more collaborative projects in the future, and last year a new audience discovered Matt’s wood carving

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www.makingmagazine.com

Making The treasure hunters

making

FEATURE

‘Work defines me, but when I come to a crossroads, it is Amanda who helps me refine – we are together every day, it is natural and our work is who we are’

To find out more, visit www.amandacaines.co.uk and www.mattcaines.co.uk

Photographs: Clare Kelly

when he made special pieces on which to display Amanda’s jewellery at leading craft fair Origin. Matt’s choice of material varies with the seasons and no metaphorical stone is left unturned. Soapstone, driftwood, alabaster, flint and fishing floats are all catalysts for a new creation. You may even have stood and admired Matt’s work for yourself, whether it be ‘The Shepherd’ at the gates of Hackney City Farm or a striking memorial stone in a churchyard close to where you live. But far from being a sombre and solitary craft, Matt invites others to work alongside him hosting regular sculpture classes in the crypt. He has also just begun a tenure as lead artist at The Museum of London teaching young people to make sculptures inspired by Roman artefacts, the results of which are due to be unveiled in the museum’s courtyard garden in 2012. 2012 will also be a busy year for Amanda who is preparing to exhibit at Craft Council’s Collect held at the prestigious Saatchi Gallery. Before that however, 2011 looks to be anything but quiet, with a collection of Amanda’s work set for Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the continuation of Matt’s work with The Museum of London. Both are seasoned exhibitors and prizewinners, though spend time with them and you’ll soon discover that show-offs, they are not. Last year, Amanda entered the New Traditional Jewellery competition at international jewellery fair Sieraad in Holland, and won first place with her ‘Urban Tribal Necklace.’ Made from recycled computer and telephone wires, it ‘was to communicate hidden messages and [was] inspired by the African Zulus who used necklaces to reveal the age and social status of the wearer,’ Amanda reveals. By her own admission, Amanda was surprised to win as she was competing against jewellers who work mainly with precious metals as oppose to salvaged materials. Her prize, rather wonderfully, was gold, silver and jewels. And although gold, silver and jewels are often seen as luxury items, it is testimony to both Amanda and Matt that as individual makers and as a partnership, they take what could be ordinary and turn it into something quite extraordinary.

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Clare Kelly Portfolio 2011