The Selvedge Fair in Charleston got underway last Saturday, and we were excited to have gathered a great collection of makers and designers for the occasion. We spoke to Kerry at Chalk Wovens about the craft that brought her to Charleston this weekend...
Why did you start working with textiles?
My involvement with textiles goes back a long way. My grandmother, having started her career at 14 as a seamstress, later had a fashion business of her own. So as a child I’d go through her ‘materials box’ on a regular basis. I am now the keeper of all her fabric treasures that go back to the 1920s.
What is it about your craft that captured your attention?
I think the structure of weave is captivating but also the way colours interact. Of course the tactile nature of fabric is a real draw.
What inspires you?
I think a consistent theme in my photos and drawings is the interaction of man and nature: formal gardens, allotments, neglected farm machinery. The Sussex coastline often figures as a backdrop.
Who inspires you?
Apart from my grandmother and other influential family members, I’m inspired by many artists and designers; from Ravillious to Bridget Riley, Le Corbusier to Arne Jacobsen, Fortuny to Mary Quant. My inclination is toward Scandinavian mid-century simplicity, craft and folk traditions.
What’s your favourite part?
Designing and inventing; whether I’m weaving and sampling or in the middle of a eureka moment on a walk on the downs.
What’s the hardest part?
Occasionally something might go wrong in the production and that can be stressful. Waiting for fabric to turn up when it’s taking longer than usual… I stress at the enormity of the commitment and at the prospect of letting anyone down. Mostly things go along quite peacefully though!
Where do you live and why?
I live in Brighton, on a hill with a view of the downs. The centre of Brighton and the sea are a cycle ride away and yet the countryside is easily accessible, too. I first came to Brighton when I was at college. We had a day out which involved going to a Fortuny exhibition at Brighton museum. I remember thinking I’d really like to live here. The town is vibrant and creative and the sea and surrounding countryside are stunning.
What’s your ideal Sunday?
Sunday is a great day for walking. That might include taking photos, and maybe stopping at a country pub for lunch. An example might be getting the train to Southease, walking to Firle, lunch in the Ram, then walking to Glynde and taking the train back to Brighton. Of course I’d want to be doing that with family and friends!
If you could go anywhere in the world tomorrow where would you go?
I have such a soft spot for Scandinavia, especially Sweden. I have never been to Sweden during mid-summer. I’d like to go and enjoy the folk dancing and perhaps stay on and do some lake swimming and foraging for wild strawberries and raspberries.
What’s your favourite colour?
Green, although orange is a strong contender, too.
What are you reading at the moment?
I’ve just started reading Please Mr Postman, Alan Johnson, the sequel to This Boy, which I loved.