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Crafts Council Maker of the Week: Helen Foot

Helen Foot is exhibiting at The Guild at 51 until 18 February 2018

Our Directory Maker of the Week, Helen Foot, talks to us about getting into making, what inspires her and her favourite part of the making process.

Who or what got you into making?

Both of my grandmothers were crafty and I remember being fascinated by them as a child.  They could create, be it through knitting, crochet or sewing, without even looking at what their hands were doing.  How they made was so familiar to them it had become muscle memory and to get to know a craft that well was inspiring for me.  When I went off to study textiles at university, I found that weaving was my natural fit.  Creating fabric from scratch, with all its endless possibilities for colour combinations and pattern play, I know I'll still be learning until the end of my days and I love that.

Could you please tell us a bit about your work?

Someone once described my work as 'rebellious nostalgia' and I think that’s a great interpretation of what I do.  I'm taking a very traditional craft and trying to keep it fresh and contemporary.  I'll dare to put colour combinations together which other people would shy away from, but there’s something so exciting about not playing it safe! 

What are your inspirations?

My inspiration often comes from looking at traditional textile techniques such as patchwork, cross-stitch or hand knitting.  I'll think about how I can manipulate these aesthetics through scale, yarn, colour etc.  I also take photos everywhere I go, recording colour combinations and pattern contrasts.  I'll very often find I am naturally drawn to certain colours and they recur through my images until I eventually use them.

What is your favourite part of the making process?

Definitely when all my ideas start to come together into a complete design.  Sometimes I'll 'sit' with ideas for quite a while before that final push when the making begins.  It's like a cooling off period but it allows you to come back to a mood board/sketch/sample and think if there is anything that could be improved upon.  I always tend to make a few last minute changes.

What are you working on right now?

I'm currently working on some samples to develop into interior products.  I’ll often do my designing at this time of the year. With short dark days I tend to hibernate but it’s a great time to reflect on what I've gathered over the last year. So with the new year fresh in my mind, I have lots of creative ideas which I need to purge from my brain onto the loom.  Watch this space, I should have these new interior pieces ready to start showing in the spring.

Find Helen Foot on the Crafts Council Directory

See Helen’s work as part of The Guild at 51 at the Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen in Cheltenham until 18 February 2018.

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