M: Tell us a bit about your business, and how long has it been running?
Made By Mrs M started with my blog about 3 years ago, but I’ve only been working on it seriously since January this year, it was more of a hobby business before. I also made the decision at the beginning of this year to focus on my fabric designs and my blog.
My fabrics are very bold and feature my paintings of brutalist buildings alongside pen and ink drawings. I’m gradually building a collection of designs over time and have some new ones to launch at thread!
M: Who has influenced your career & what inspired you to start?
Fashion design was my real passion which sent me to art college in the first place. At that time I was hugely inspired by Bella Freud and many, quite diverse artists. Over the years I’ve found that pretty much anything can inspire me, but high up the list are all things 1950’s, and brutalistarchitecture. I was always inspired by Pop Art when I was younger and I think you can also see that in my designs.
It’s probably thanks to the internet that I’ve returned to this now (after 15 years working in the City). The opportunities to show your work and network with people are enormous and it makes it possible to do this on a tiny budget so risks are reduced. After I had my son (4 years ago) I realised that I needed to go back to my original love and that working in the City really wasn’t right for me any more.
M: What other crafts are you interested in?
Lots! I knit and crochet (I also exhibit my fibre art works across the UK), cross stitch, ceramics, painting (although I do use this for my fabric designs as many of them have started life as acrylic paintings). I’m also starting to get into dressmaking again after a very long break.
I’m always keen to try out new things, whether to incorporate them in my work or just for fun. Many of my craft projects end up featuring on my blog.
M: What are you working on at the moment?
Alongside preparing for thread, I am working towards an exhibition of my fabrics at the Jo Aylwin Studio & Gallery (also in Farnham) where I have exhibited before – this is planned for October. I’m also hoping to take part in some high profile craft fairs and markets on the run up to Christmas. I’m spending lots of time on the blog too as it’s becoming increasingly popular.
M: Do you have time for your own projects outside of your collection?
I do struggle as most of my “free” time is spent with my young son (although I am keen for him to get crafting and I take him up to London to visit exhibitions all the time). I have been trying to find some time for new sewing projects for myself though, and as I mentioned above, I’m starting to get into dressmaking again.
M: What’s your proudest achievement?
A tricky one! Probably being brave enough to finally go for it, commit to my business full time and leave my day job. It’s hard work and progress can be slow with limited resources, but I’m loving every minute of it.
M: Will you be shopping for anything for yourself at the festival?
I visited last year and spent far too much! I’m always picking up fabric scrap packs from other designers (I think I bought 3 last year), larger quantities of fabrics (I’m currently backing cushions in Liberty print, so I’m always keeping an eye out for a Liberty print bargain), dressmaking patterns, quilting supplies – you name it! I’ll have to be careful!
We’re excited to have ‘Made by Mrs M’ at thread…a festival of textiles on the 26-27 of September.