Emily Mackey, one of Britain’s most interesting textile designers will take part in Functional Beauty, an exhibition at Jointure Studios in Ditchling this May. Curated by Petrel Furniture, the show will form a part of Brighton Artists Open House as well as Art in Ditchling festival, celebrating the beauty that can be found in the most everyday objects. Exhibiting alongside ceramicist Chris Keenan Potter and the designers at Petrel Furniture, Mackey’s relationship with the area is by no means new as her own loom was built by George and John Maxwell of the Guild of St. Joseph and St. Dominic, in Ditchling. Screen Shot 2017-04-07 at 09.07.46 Using native breed English wools and traditional embroidery techniques, Mackey’s textile practice is laden with the craft’s romanticism. “I’m drawn to my roots, to my past” she explains, “my great-grandfather was a weaver and it feels right to be working with wool in this way.” Creating luxury blankets and cushions designed with a subtle blend of earthy colours and intricate patterns, Mackey draws her inspiration from her home in Lancashire. unnamed (1) Locality plays a big role in Mackey’s sustainable textiles, making her products using the wool of Herdwick sheep, which have been farmed in neighbouring Cumbria since neolithic times. “I like working with textures,” she told the Financial Times back in 2013, “Herdwick wool is hard-wearing, and I love the natural colours of it. Herdwick lambs are born chocolate-brown but, after their first shear, their wool becomes lighter. One of my cushions incorporates both colours.” unnamed (3) A true example of when beautiful design meets pure function, it’s no surprise that Mackey’s textiles are a part of this upcoming exhibition. Open every weekend for the month of May we’re excited to see what she has to offer, and what company she’ll be keeping in Jointure Studios. unnamed (2)

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