How can intricately decorated textile characters create their own fairy tale? Megan Ivy Griffiths is a pattern designer, illustrator and embroiderer who harbours an ardent passion for the beautiful and unusual and is inspired by whimsical fairy-tales and calm ambles through forests and fields. Creating fabric animals that seem to have jumped out of mythical worlds, her work is a concoction of tenderness, gentility and intricacy. They include farmers, mermaids, lions, llamas and rabbits - all dressed in Megan's beautiful decorative folk embroidery.
She also creates characters inspired by folk tales, including tales from Kurdish culture. In this way, her stitches tell stories; as a trained illustrator she has been taught to draw, as well as using a pen or pencil, she uses needle and thread to create captivating characters.
Inspired by folklore and fairy tales, Griffiths was first trained as an illustrator before transitioning into textile design – and it’s easy to guess as much from the pastel palettes of her thread and the simplified, curved forms of her dolls. As well as lions she casts bears, rabbits, cats and people in fairy tale roles, carefully considering each character’s individual costume design hailed from the decorative textiles of European folklore. Her ornamental touch tames her characters' abandon in a wondrous and affectionate labour of love.
Her approach to such culturally saturated characters as the lion is beautifully intimate. Subverting the lion’s typical character as protector, standing proud and guarding its pack, she instead chooses to render them asleep. This vulnerability is at the heart of her ferocity, and is typical of the power behind her gentle, subtle stylings. Who says gentility can’t be ferocious? Not us.
From Megan’s tender textile creations, to pockets, where small belongings could be stored, carried and even hidden, we will be exploring the crafting and legacy of intimate textile objects in our upcoming Textile Tokens talk. Join us next week on Wednesday 10 November for this highly anticipated talk featuring Megan Griffiths, Ariana Fennetaux, author of The Pocket, A Hidden History of Women’s Lives 1660 - 1900, Director of TRC Leiden Dr Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, and Professor Emeritus in History John Styles.
Book tickets here: Textile Tokens Online Talk