Friday, 3 April 2009

Meet the Maker - Fabric Nation

Fabric Nation is a designer maker with a love of fabric and vintage craft books. She mainly works with vintage fabrics which are recycled into a parade of cats, dogs, accessories and homewares. She has shops on Etsy and Folksy and exhibits at Brighton and London Artists Open Houses. and

Why make stuff?

I was lucky to grow up at a time when education was project based and about discovery through hands-on making and doing. As a teenager without much money, the only way to make an entrance was to make your clothes yourself, so many a brightly printed curtain ended up as a skirt, top or dress (Eithne Farry sums this up really well in her intro to ‘Yeah, I made it myself’). My friends inspired me in this respect too as well as the whole DIY ethos of just getting on and making stuff in your kitchen or front room with what ever you had. I also got a lot of satisfaction from recycling fabrics I found from jumble sales and seeing how much I could create from other people’s unwanted stuff.

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What’s your favourite fabric?

I have always loved vintage prints, particularly barkcloth fabrics of the 1950s and 60s and began using these to make clothes which I sold on my stall as a teenager (no dull Saturday job for me!). I like the coarseness of the fabric and the wonderful array of patterns. No fragment goes unused as I am only too aware that it's amazing that this fabric has survived 50 years or more. I love the distinctive 50s atomic designs as well as the more pop-style flowers and swirls.

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What handmade stuff do you have your eyes on?

I’ve been writing about many of the makers who will be at Handmade Cambridge on my blog ( so I can’t wait to meet these lovely designers and see all of their amazing work for real. I find I keep returning to Pennydog as I love her use of ephemera and nature in her resin work and I also like the mix of illustration in Helena Carrington’s work. There are too many to mention, but I also recently discovered Corryvreckan’s silverwork and can’t help but be impressed by someone who gives her pieces names like ‘Holkam Plover’ and ‘Bladder Wrack’. I am also a big fan of Xtina Lamb’s print work who has a fine line in seaweed too as well as gocco bunting!

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