Following on from our recent collaboration together, Fi caught up with Chloe about how she started her career, her creative process and her inspiration behind the Bluebellgray embroideries...
How did you begin your creative journey? - I was always really into drawing and creative fun as a child and my family is full of artists, so it was half expected that I would end up being creative in some way. After school I enrolled in an HND fashion course and knew that I had chosen the right path for me. I then started to study Textiles at the Glasgow School of Art where I began to focus on embroidery.
- And what inspired you to start working in textiles? - I like the way that you can apply textiles design to many different industries and objects. I was always very focused on fashion but was more interested in the garment decoration than the shape. I found out pretty quickly that I had a bit of a flair for surface design and enjoyed the process from drawing and design to the finished outcome.
- Which challenges did you face and how did you overcome them? - I have met many challenges along the way mostly in my bebaroque years. Being two art school graduates we had no experience of business and our main problem was trying to learn as quickly as we could the ins and outs of running a business. Finding manufacture, suppliers, agents and distribution were a hurdle and other unexpected challenges made it tough but we worked hard and got through it. The biggest challenge was the very difficult decision to wind down bebaroque after 7 years. We knew it was the best option as myself and Mhairi both wanted to move on creatively. I am now a lot happier and much less stressed, so feel I have definitely overcome that particular challenge.
- What is a typical day like for you? - I work three days a week in my lovely studio at The Hill Street Design House in the New Town of Edinburgh. I am usually working on a collaborative project or commission using hand embroidered techniques so my desk is often covered in colourful threads, beads and fabric. I also run workshops teaching the public how to hand embroider and bead. I really enjoy doing the workshops because I love meeting people and watching as they quickly develop embroidery skills and create something really personal and beautiful. When I am not in my studio I am looking after my 4 year old daughter Phoebe.
- Can you tell us a little bit about your process? - When working on a project I always start with research and inspiration time. I then might do some drawing before moving onto the embroidery and beading experimentation. The stitches and techniques used can vary and is always dependant on the kind of feel I get for the piece and project that I m working on.
- We are both colour lovers - what do you think it is that makes you love colour so much? - I have always used a lot of colour in my work but during the bebaroque years we found that we used a lot less colour going for nude and black tones. I think this was because of what the lingerie market demands and what customers want to buy. I have really enjoyed using lots of vibrant colour again in my recent projects. I also feel that colours can help you build up dramatic effects, brighten up a room and make you feel happy
- And what was your inspiration with the special pieces you created for bluebellgray? (view the collection here) - When I was working on the Bluebellgray fabrics, I felt they were so fun, colourful and full of life so I wanted embroidery that reflected that. I wanted volume and texture but in a soft tactile way. I was inspired by lots of woven wall hangings with chunky threads and wools. I wanted the wall hangings to be 3D and invite people to touch and feel the fibres. I also wanted sleek, smooth shiny sections in contrast to the 3D elements, as although the Bluebellgray designs are full of life and make you feel happy, they are also sophisticated.
Chloe will be running a special, one day embroidery course on Saturday 10th June at the Bluebellgray studio. Each person will have the opportunity to embroider a piece of Bluebellgray fabric which will then be made into a feather filled cushion to be taken home.
- The course will begin at 9.30am and finish at 5pm.
- Tickets cost £130 (price includes all materials and light refreshments, please bring a packed lunch.)
- Class is suitable for beginners and intermediate stitchers.
To find out more or to book your place in the workshop, click here or call us on 08081640130