1 How did you get involved with designing for Kettle Chips?
I won the pitch for the Kettlechips campaign in January having been asked to prepare a 'design treatment' by 101, a design agency in London, who had found my website.
2 How did you come up with the designs?
My job was to create handmade embroidered illustrations which celebrated the handmade and the beautiful medium of thread. I worked directly from life first drawing the designs then using my stitch and applique to create vibrant ingredients.
3 Do you think the Kettle Chips craft challenge will bring craft and sewing to a wider audience?
I think that the Kettle Chips Craft Challenge will definitely help promote the breadth of craft in the UK. Crafts people and artisans have been around for a long time, there are some fantastically talented people in this country creating beautiful things if you know where to look. Craft at home is enjoying a resurgence at the moment which I think is a result of both the recession and also a subtle collective rebellion against digital technology and the flood of perfect imagery which I frankly think is boring. It is a great way to get together and relax with purpose.
4 What is it that you enjoy about embroidery?
I am addicted to the colour and textures that I create. The iridescent and metallic areas of intricate stitching, painting and applique are both physically challenging and mentally stimulating. I get a buzz when I complete a large colourful commission and then witness the pleasure that it gives to others whether that be a private client, in an exhibition or for a hospital. I enjoy being a creative entrepreneur and business woman who is in charge of her own future.
5 When did you learn to sew? Who taught you?
I was thrown at a sewing machine and let go when I was 20 at Goldsmiths college, London. That was it.. a spontaneous medium with no rules and no planning. It was the same as drawing except it involved a needle and a crazy fast machine that was a little bit dangerous. It suited my fly by nature and energetic personality.
6 Do you come from a creative background, is your family artistic in any way?
My Mum used to sew a few embroideries by hand and has always had a talent for preserving things, arranging or mending things but sewing was not part of my home life, I was too busy mucking out cows! My creative education was pretty low key and the only thing I can remember making at school was an apron and a skirt. I don't think sewing has much to do with what I do …. I see myself more as a once bionic sherry drinking Superstitcher and thats how I like to teach.
7 Tell us about your formal training in sewing or design.
My degree at Goldsmiths was very intense and it taught me about being an artist and standing up for myself and thinking about what I was doing. This was at first a little bit of a shock as I was a straight forward cardigan wearing lass from a Cheshire Dairy farm. I discovered the East End Student Union, Soul and Reggae music and the rest is history! 7 Years later I later I completed a Masters Degree in Illustration having already established an artists practice which gave me the opportunity to really think about what I was doing and improve my conceptual and technological skills.
8 Where do you get your inspiration from and how would you describe your style?
My style is 'Louiji Gardinelly'! It is colourful, intricate, celebratory, full of feeling.
My work is metamorphosing all the time and becomes more and more complex and exciting as I challenge myself to try and beat the confines of the machine which is quite frustrating and small scale.
Inspiration is everywhere but my mind is bursting with ideas and things I have to say, its almost annoying as it never sleeps. Maybe its because I get too much time to think but I feel that my job is not only to produce 'Wow-making' work in the future but also to spur on other peoples passion for creativity and using their hands.
9 You've worked with Kirstie Allsopp before on her Homemade Home, tell us about the experience?
It was great fun to work with Kirstie Alsopp! She comes from a different angle to me in that she represents people at home who want to have a go at creating and using craft to make their homes more attractive and to enhance their lives. Kirsty wants to celebrate craft and making things on a grand scale whereas I want to help promote the professional artisans and makers that are already out there working hard making a living. These people are very precious to our cultural heritage and we should treasure them and what they are doing. In my opinon there aren't the platforms to exhibit and celebrate craft as much as there used to be and just because we have a few people making candles and lampshades on Television doesn't mean that craft is back on the map. There is an
10 What are your plans for the future?
Have a rest.