Chemistry For Christmas

Guest post by Ruby Wilson

Madder Cutch & Co was formed when chemistry teacher Nicola Cliffe took a brave career change to pursue an art she has always loved. Nicola completed an MA in sustainable textile design at Chelsea College of Art and Design and is now the creative vision behind Madder Cutch & Co. With this new company she creates beautifully designed fabrics that are printed using sustainably sourced plant dyes and pigments. The original designs are hand screen-printed on 100 % linen, woven in Scotland.

Nicola names her biggest influencer as none other than William Morris. It was her love of his work that prompted her to design and print her own fabrics. As a chemistry teacher, she is also aware of the dangers of synthetic dyes. Her desire to see a return to the use of natural dyes in printed textiles is a big drive in her work. She uses Madder Cutch & Co as a way to reintroduce these natural colours and their accompanying techniques back into our homes.

Nicola's experience with chemistry comes in handy with dyeing. She finds it frustrating when the variation of colour is out of her control, 'because as a scientist who weighs and measure to two decimal places there is nothing I can do if the plant extracts vary!', she explains. Nicola adores printing up the first sample of a design, seeing it as the point in the process where everything comes alive.

Being heavily inspired by nature, the flowers of Achillea millefolium have led to her first collection, so if you too are fed up of the barren winter landscape take a look at the beautiful floral prints created by Nicola.

You can see Madder Cutch & Co at the Selvedge Christmas Fair this day next week, on Saturday 2 December in King's Cross, London. To find out more about the event and to book your ticket, click here.

To receive 2 for 1 advance tickets, use code SVF17 at the checkout.

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