As part of our Winter of Making series, we asked one of our favourite makers, Mandy Pattullo, to tell us about her work and what making means to her in the run up to Christmas. Mandy is a Surface Pattern and Textile Designer based in rural Northumberland, UK. Mandy has written two books, Textiles Transformed: Thread and Thrift with Reclaimed Textiles (2020) and Textile Collage: Using Collage Techniques in Textile Art (2016). She runs textile workshops throughout the year in The Hearth in Horsley, a small arts centre in Northumberland.
What are you making right now?
I am deeply engrossed in making a fabric book. At one of the last workshops I physically taught a student gifted me a very old and worn gingham dress which had belonged to her husband’s grandmother. It had been washed and mended many times and I have deconstructed it and collaged it within a scroll book format to draw attention to Annie Moore’s (b. 1892) mending handiwork. I am echoing her stitching with my own stitched marks. This is the second book in this format I have made this year, the first one was a Covid diary where I added just a scrap of fabric each day to a length of fabric to mark the passage of time in lock down. I like to wind these collages on to something like an old textile mill bobbin so that the story is revealed gradually as you unwind.
Does making form part of your Christmas preparation?
I always have ideas for making things to decorate the house and table but in reality as a designer maker the run up to Christmas is busy as this is the time of the year when you can make the most sales. This year I do have making ideas including working up red cross stitch monograms on to napkins and making Christmas cards with all the Christmas stamps I have hoarded over the years! Last year I made a twiggy centre of table feature. I collected old wooden cotton rolls, wrapped them in turkey red fabrics and hung them on the twigs. The cat particularly liked this new feature which I think she thought was made for her!
If you were to recommend one of your products as a gift what would it be?
This year for the first time I have been selling the little Christmas angel dolls that in the past I have made exclusively for special friends. Many will know that pieces of antique quilt usually feature in my work and at Christmas I can unashamedly use turkey red in lots of projects including the little hand stitched dolls. I like the idea of one of my dolls coming out of the Christmas trimming box each year.
Image: Gabriela Martinez Ortiz.
This year the Selvedge World Fair championed textile makers from around the world. Did any of the makers’ work speak to you, if so who?
I loved the work of Gabriela Martinez Ortiz from Mexico who ran a workshop for the Selvedge World Fair. The way she transforms clothing with simple and repeated stitches is very effective. I think we can all learn a lot from her about working slowly and taking our time over stitching. I embellish clothing myself but usually with just a few stitches and patchwork and applique but Gabriela is on another level. Many women are involved with her company Ofelia and Antelmo and I think we should be buying more clothing thoughtfully and from co-operatives like this who create beautiful things.
For more information visit www.mandypattullo.co.uk