Please introduce yourself. Who are you, where do you live?
Hi, I’m Lois and I’m 42 years old. I’m married to Andrew, a self-employed gardener, and I work as a self-employed dressmaker/soft furnisher, and we live in a fairly small seaside village on the east coast of Scotland. Andrew’s a mad cyclist (yes, I spend all summer groaning over the Tour de France and the Giro D’Italia), whilst I love my pilates and circuits classes. We share our small victorian house with two cats and an increasing number of bikes and sewing machines, and dream of one day sorting out the damp and replacing the windows.
How would you describe your work / style?
Tactile, quirky and soft. I love to re-use old fabrics and yarns, and have a massive collection of trimmings and buttons, most of which are also vintage. I want my bags to be “stroke-able”. I also try to inject humour into my work - I love people to smile when they pick up one of my Loopy bags. These have been great sellers off Etsy and I think it’s because they’re extremely touchable.
Who, or what, inspires you?
I’m always inspired by the fabric or yarn first and foremost. It tells me what it wants to be. I listen.
I pretty much make each item as one of a kind. I’m looking into developing patterns so that I can repeat certain items, building up a little collection using different fabrics and yarns, but I’m kind of impulsive so I actually LIKE doing just one of each item.
I love to see other people’s work as well, and am often inspired by music or poetry (anyone reading my blog lately will realise how much I like poetry right now!), images from magazines (UK Country Living is my favourite) and books. I have at least three volumes of books full of cuttings from magazines that I’ve collected over the last few decades and glued in to keep, and at times when the muse leaves me, these have been a wonderful source of inspiration and excitement.
What made you decide to start selling your work?
I started selling it because I started making it! When I make curtains or a roman blind, there are often small pieces of fabric left over. Same applies for garments. It would be incredibly wasteful to throw such pieces out, so I keep them all.
For example, my Jura bag is made from such pieces. It’s absolutely unique and will never ever be repeatable.
I also have a few local galleries and craft shops who take my items, and also participate in a three day event in the village in late autumn, selling from our own homes.
Do you have a website or blog address?
I have both.
How did you learn your craft? How long have you been creating?
I’ve been making things since I was old enough to hold something in my hand without poking an eye out with it. I was fortunate to have a very “crafty” mother, and probably absorbed a lot of it by osmosis.
I also had an incredibly inspirational art teacher at high school, Mrs McLeod, who allowed us to put the paint brushes down and instead explore textile printing, weaving and batik with her. I will forever be grateful to her for that and truly wish I could tell her how much she changed my life.
After high school I attended the Scottish College of Textiles to do an Honours Degree in Clothing and Tailoring, graduating with my degree in 1990. My passion at college was pattern cutting and sewing - I always felt it such a pity that I had to learn academic stuff as well. We were wasting time out of the workroom!
Is there any other craft skill you would like to learn?
I’m fascinated by weaving, so would love to have the time to learn and the room to have a loom!
I would also love to become more involved with restoration work, having re-beaded a Victorian footstool for a client.
Anything exciting planned that you’d like to share?
Apart from launching the Positivity Team? That’s pretty exciting to me! I’m also re photographing all my stock using my new light-box studio, although I‘ve only found time for one item so far. I’m really pleased with my purchase though, and am looking forward to using it more. I barely had to edit the photos for Selkie hair clip at all, which was a major delight to me.
I also love some of the hugely detailed work that I do for my bridal clients, so am looking at incorporating more beading and embroidery into my bags and fabric jewellery. I’m currently developing a Celtic range but haven’t yet got the design right. Watch this space!
Have you had any work featured in magazines/books/galleries?
Alas, no. I’m obviously flying below the radar at present.
Has your work won any prizes/competitions?
I won a calendar competition when I was 11. I had to illustrate the month of April and drew a cat sitting under a tree with birds’ nests in it, licking his lips! Does this count?
If I wasn’t doing this, I’d be………
Going slowly mad at my previous job. Actually, strike that. I suspect I would be a complete raving loony by now.
Describe your perfect day.
Sleep until I wake naturally, enjoy a lazy morning with papers and coffee and an afternoon in our favourite local café putting the world to rights with my best friend before a lovely italian meal out with hubby.
Describe your proudest moment.
Passing my final exams and getting my degree! I was so shocked and relieved that I’d passed my accounts and statistics exams that I almost fainted.
What do you do to relax?
I love to watch films at the cinema and enjoy pretty much everything except horrors. My favourite movie of all time has to be the Lord of the Ring Trilogy, although Shrek comes a very close second. What can I say? Reality sometimes has no place in entertainment!
I also read constantly, and am a massive fan of Philippa Gregory’s historical novels, particularly the tales of the Tudor period.
Otherwise it’s "no-thought required" television all the way - America’s Next Top Model and the Biggest Loser are favourites.
What animal would you like to be, and why?
I would absolutely love to come back as one of my two cats, as they’re spoiled rotten and don’t lift a paw to help.
Dated 1841 Linen Shift
2 weeks ago