Jacky Puzey completed the Crafts Council's Hothouse scheme in 2016.
Tell us a bit about your work
I create bespoke embroidery commissions for interiors and fashion. From feral lace to embellished creatures, from feathered interior screens to shimmering metallic bomber jackets, my embroidery creates new fabrics, textures and stories. Combining traditional craft skills with digital technology, I use fur, feathers, tweed and organza as well as drawing, laser cutting and digital embroidery to explore a baroque pleasure in imagery and style. My current embroidery collection features a series of interior screens and wallpaper. Migrating creatures, from escaped parakeets to foxes and hares, are shown within their new urban environments to create a beautiful meditation on ‘wild’ cities and diverse urban cultures in England. The urban fox is a masked burglar, adaptive to traditional English gardens. The hare drinks from a forgotten corner of the pond in the park, camping out in semi-public space. Parakeets mingle with the local starlings across an embroidered printed fabric screen. An embellished raven, created from layers of real feathers, laser cutting and richly textured embroidery threads, becomes a tale of monarchy and anarchy, sporting a crown and clutching dead roses. The embroideries bring alive shifting cultural allegiances to create complex contemporary embellished narratives of urban migration and landscape.
Who or what are your inspirations?
I'm inspired by fashion, art, antiques, quirky museums, urban street cultures, postcolonial cultures and textiles from traditional to contemporary. I love the embroidery of Karen Nicols, the blog Trendtablet, the book Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie, The Pitt Rivers collection in Oxford, the street art in Lisbon, the V&A, especially the Sssssh... soundscape tour of a few years ago, and the Museum/House of Frederic Mares in Barcelona.
Why did you apply to Hothouse in 2016?
I saw the Hothouse programme as a brilliant opportunity to reflect on, expand and develop my ideas among a cohort of exciting crafts practitioners: when I applied, I had set up my workshop, and was doing a lot of sampling/teaching, and I really wanted to develop the business towards my goal of having my own luxury crafts business.
What was the most valuable thing you got from the Hothouse programme?
All the training and mentoring from specialist craft practitioners - it has really pushed my business forward because not only, for example, do you get training on marketing, but its delivered by a crafts practitioner and a crafts based trainer, so you can explore all the specialist knowledge you need in your own business and really think creatively! I also enjoyed very much meeting all the fellow Hothousers!
In what ways has Hothouse helped your business?
I'm now doing the things I wanted to do when I applied - showing at design fairs, (I was selected for One Year On at New Designers as a result of Hothouse), being asked to show at more design fairs, having exhibitions, working with interior designers, and really beginning to move my business towards being majority my own work. I've also learnt a lot more about which shows to do, what strategies and contacts to pursue...and starting to work internationally. I've really developed my business skills and honed my product as a result of all the Hothouse sessions. And my mentor is brilliant - a perfect match! I've learnt a lot from Beatrice!
Describe Hothouse in three words?
Brilliant, creative, challenging
Who should apply to Hothouse and what would your top tip to them be?
Anyone serious and focused about taking their crafts practice into a sustainable business. And anyone who is open to learning a lot and changing things along the way.
What are you doing next?
I've got five exhibitions coming up this autumn, have two good interior design contacts that I will be working with, i have been in the Evening Standard, Homes and Gardens, and of course the lovely Crafts Magazine - and soon Selvedge. I'm also showing a sample at MoOD Brussels with a view to taking a stand next year, and visiting LDF/Decorex at invitation of the organisers again hoping to show next year. I will be attending the Crafts Council's workshop in Bristol on working internationally too on the 26th Sept...and currently working on a commission for a Taiwanese fashion designer including a feathered flamingo (progress drawing below), a Hog, a hyena and a mandrill!