In May, Nicola Cliffe, founder of Madder Cutch & Co will lead a one-day Selvedge workshop: Natural Dye Screen Printing. A chemistry teacher with a lifelong love of textiles, Nicola launched Madder Cutch & Co. in 2016 after graduating from UAL (University of the Arts London). Here, Nicola tells us about her work and her inspiration.
How would you describe your practice?
The title I give myself these days (it took me a long time NOT to say a teacher) is Textile designer and printer, or you might catch me saying I print my own fabrics in the back garden! And essentially that is what I am doing, I design, make my own dye pastes and print all of the fabric to order. What I love most about what I am doing is having complete control over the entire process.
What will people learn at your workshop?
The skill of screen-printing is very easy to master, but the design work and stencil making less so. What I enjoy most about teaching my workshops is the amazement on the tutees' faces when their design appears like magic on the fabric. Obviously, they have worked hard to get to this point, but at the end of the process not only do have their very own design work in print but the knowledge of how to reproduce it and more again.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I have always loved William Morris’s designs and his ethos and enjoyed investigating his practice further, mainly to discover his methods were not so environmentally sound. Around the same time, the chemist Henry Perkins accidentally made and hence discovered the first synthetic dyes, an extremely clever man, but here began the demise of the plant dyes as colourants. The challenge I set myself was to find a way to bring the use of plant dyes as colourants back to our interiors.
To book your place on Nicola’s class in May, visit our Workshops.