From a young age, I have always been passionate about arts and crafts, whether it be painting, drawing, sewing or knitting, I can never remember a time when I wasn't doing something creative. I think this passion comes from my mum, one of my fondest memories as a child is when I'd wake up in the morning and my barbies would have new handmade outfits; snazzy sparkly dresses and a cosy new dressing gown all of which were made from scrap fabric and old clothes. While my two sisters and I were tucked up in bed, my mum was making these clothes, as a child this skill seemed superhuman, something that I aspired to one day be able to make myself.
One year, for my mum's birthday (I think I was about 10), I tried to give back the joy that my mum gave me through the barbies clothes. I made her a small teddy bear, it was no bigger than 10cm tall, along with the outfits for it to wear, I used an old cardboard box as it's house and made a bed out of old plastic packaging with a scrap of fabric as the duvet cover. When it came to giving this gift to my mum on her birthday, I was embarrassed as the quality of the handmade bear and it's clothes were nowhere near as good as what my mum would make for our barbies. Guess what, 15 years on, my mum still has this little bear in it's reused cardboard box, the meaning and time that went in to making this gift meant more to my mum than the quality of what I had made.
After being taught to knit and then teaching myself to crochet, my love for yarn blossomed! I studied an Art and Design Diploma at college in which I made a massive freeform crochet wall hanging inspired by the beach, this expanded my skills in crochet as I learnt new techniques and stitches.
Four years after finishing college, I went on to study a Textile Design course. On this course there was a choice of three specialisms, Print, Mixed Media or Weave. Even before I had experienced any form of weaving, I knew I would go on to specialise in this subject.
When knitting and crocheting the use of yarn excited me, the smell of wool and the textures of the finished cloth would speed up my process.
Weave is another avenue in which I could explore yarn, the process is much more mathematical than knitting or crochet, but I love maths so that was another reason I chose to specialise in woven textiles.
The rhythmic process of weave carries a similarity to knitting and crochet which I think is why weave came so naturally to me, I find the repetitive movements in all of these crafts so satisfying and engaging.
At uni, there was a dye lab where you could dye your own yarn (I think this topic needs a blog post all to itself as I could talk for days about dyeing yarn), I absolutely loved dyeing my own colours and being able to explore natural and synthetic dyes, I'm a lover of colour as you can probably tell from my woven products so the dye lab was like heaven to me.
Three years after learning to weave, I can't imagine my life without this process. I still continue to knit, crochet and sew when I have time but weave has now taken over my life and there's no going back!
If you've got this far, thank you for reading! I could go in to a lot more detail about why I chose to specialise in woven textiles but I may save that for another post!