Liz Rose works with artists and textile designers to create beautifully upholstered and limited edition mid-century chairs. We sat down with Liz to talk about her craft before exhibiting her work at the Selvedge Fair in Charleston this Saturday...
What made you start working with textiles?
I used to work at Habitat in Product Development and my love of textiles started there, working with fabric and colour to create beautiful things for the home. When I had my children and a career break, it gave me the opportunity to start an upholstery course and my love of textiles was further indulged. I create upholstered mid-century chairs in collaboration with artists and textile designers to produce unique designs and limited edition pieces. Each chair I produce is a one-off, bespoke piece of art for the home.
What is it about your craft that captured your attention?
Working with my hands at a slow pace in my workshop is very satisfying for me. I love the attention to detail.
What inspires you?
Friends and makers who are just throwing caution to the wind and going for it. It has been very encouraging and inspirational to see other peoples’ success and this has for sure been the source of my motivation to go it alone.
Who inspires you?
So many people; Maxine Sutton, Amanda Saurin and Emma Carlow. Further afield I’m inspired by Bokja Design who create the most stunning embroidered upholstered chairs – that is my goal, but embroidery is my main focus right now.
What’s your favourite part of the process?
I love playing with form, colour, pattern and texture while working alongside designers. Once we have a design I source the perfect chair to showcase the fabric. I am drawn to the clean lines and classic curves of mid-century furniture, and use chairs that will work in harmony with the fabric I produce. When I have found the right chair, the fabric is then made, either by a trusted digital printer or hand-made by skilled weavers and talented screen-printers. The chair is restored and painstakingly upholstered which means I am able to oversee the whole process, from the creative spark of an idea to the final production of every piece.
What’s the hardest part?
Actually sourcing the chairs has become quite difficult as every brief changes. I love my trips to Ardingly to source them, but when I struggle to find the right one it can slow me down. I have recently started looking into designing and making my own chair shape that I’ll have made by a furniture designer. Then I hope to see it reinvented every time depending on the designer I’m working with.
Where do you live and why?
I live in Lewes, East Sussex. I lived in Brighton before here and it felt like a very natural step to take when bringing up a young family. I love living here, we are so lucky to have the beautiful South Downs all around us and to be by the sea. Also we are a short hop to Brighton, Hastings and London – all cities I love. Lewes has been such an inspiring place to be in, there are so many makers and crafts people here.
What’s your ideal Sunday?
In a nutshell, it involves the outdoors and food! In the summers I spend time in the garden, cooking barbecues for the family. In the colder months, a family walk followed by a roast lunch at home with the wood burner on and a glass of red in hand is the ultimate cosy Sunday.
If you could fly anywhere in the world tomorrow where would you go and why?
I’ve been lucky enough to travel a lot when I was younger with periods living in France and Italy as I studied languages (another love of mine). Since having children we’ve been Europe bound, but last year we went to Vietnam, a country my husband and I had not visited on our travels through Asia when we were younger. So I think we’d go back there. It was the most wonderful country with incredibly friendly people, a family focussed culture, fantastic food and a rich history that left us wanting to return for another visit.
What’s your favourite colour?
That’s very difficult to answer. If I had to choose one it would be pink. I also love orange and gold. As the seasons change, I find my approach to colour changes too.
What are you reading at the moment?
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout.
To find out more about the Selvedge Fair in Charleston this October 14th, and to book your tickets, click here.