This December Mary Ward House in central London will be transformed into a textile capital for one day only, as the Selvedge Winter Fair gets underway. One of our exhibitors, Rebecca Engels, has been collecting fabrics from all over the world, mostly from France, for a number of years. She also re-purposes second-hand fabrics and hand makes a range of her own beautiful cushions and bags through her label Rebecca's Aix.
What made you start making and collecting?
Cupboards overflowing with fabrics and an already well-furnished home meant that if I wanted to keep buying fabric then I should probably start selling it and start making things from it as well.
What is it about textiles that captured your attention?
I love the way a new scarf can brighten up an old outfit, the same way that a new cushion or throw can quickly change the look of a room. Textiles are easy to fold away and bring out when you need a different ‘look’; they add colour, texture and interest to a room or outfit.
What inspires you?
Art, history and nature. I am also full of admiration for the people who actually make fabric, design it, weave it and dye it.
What is your favourite part of the process of making what you make? Or sourcing what you sell?
When I’m making a bag or cushion, I love choosing the different elements that go in to making the whole item - mixing the colours and textures, choosing the old leather straps and re-purposing them for the bag. I also love going to antique fairs and markets - trawling around for treasure and trying not to be carried away with impetuous purchases!
And what’s the hardest part? Or what do you dislike?
The hardest part of going to an antique market is getting all of the fabric back to the car and then washing everything. It can also be very difficult to part with some of the things I find.
What do you most like about where you live?
We have recently moved back to London - I love being able to walk everywhere and visit museums at a drop of a hat, rather than have to plan a whole day’s outing. I also spend a lot of time in France where we live on a hillside surrounded by trees and light.
Your ideal Sunday? Paint a picture…
France - antique market - coffee - treasure hunting - lunch outside - sunshine.
Rebecca Engels will be exhibiting at the Selvedge Winter Fair on 1 December 2018. To find out more about the event and to book your ticket, click here. You can get 2 for 1 tickets with the code FAIR2FOR1.