Melanie Bowles is participating in Make! at the Barbican, London from 22-25 March
Our Directory Maker of the Week, Melanie Bowles, 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?
I was brought up in the 1970s and surrounded by Golden Hands Crafts books. My mother was a dressmaker and enjoyed rural and domestic crafts. From an early age I was making at home often using domestic scraps and being inventive with everyday materials and waste. Today I still reference vintage craft and DIY books and find inspiration and ideas. This sense of play has always remained in my work, teaching and education.
Could you please tell us a bit about your work?
Since finishing my last publication Print Make Wear – Creative projects for Digital Textile Design, I have taken some time off to develop new ideas and projects. I am enjoying reconnecting with fabric, working with embroidery, exploring stitch structures to use as a means of drawing and design. I recently completed an embroidery residency in Mexico which allowed me time to focus on embroidery in Mexican everyday life.
What are your inspirations?
I am enjoying developing the process of embroidery, studying stitches and reworking these to create new art works, educational graphics and kits for the contemporary home and modern living. My recent design the A-Z of embroidery for Stitch-School recreates the alphabet of embroidery stitches into a playful educational kit to learn embroidery stitches.
What is your favourite part of the making process?
I love the challenge of designing educational toolkits that inspire and encourage the learning of textile processes. I get great pleasure in sharing my knowledge and discoveries through social media such as Instagram and building community with people with the same love of textiles and embroidery.
What are you working on right now?
I am currently working towards the launch of Stitch-School (founded by Aimee Betts and myself) at the Barbican as part of Make! Season of Contemporary Crafts in partnership with the Crafts magazine taking place in March. We will be setting up our large embroidery table called the Supper Cloth for all to join in and stitch as well as running workshops based around our beautiful A-Z of Embroidery.
Take part in Melanie's Stitch-School workshops running from 22-25 March as part of Make! A Season of Contemporary Craft at the Barbican Centre. Make!, in partnership with Crafts magazine is running from 17 March - 3 June 2018.