Made By Mrs M

A Tour of My Studio

Art, Events, London, Inspiration, Pattern Design, Studios, TextilesKate Marsden

I've been sharing lots of studios ahead of Carshalton Artists Open Studios (links to all of these are at the end of this post), but hadn't shared mine. Partly because I won't be opening it! My studio is upstairs in my house (and just off the map for CAOS as well) so it wasn't going to happen. Anyway, here is a little look at the studio I won't be opening, but a taste of what you can expect to see when I pop up at Claire Chandler's...

The room is pretty small! The last time I shared my studio I didn't have the little IKEA plan chest in the shot above - this is a pretty useful size as it comfortably takes A3 sheets (I mostly work on A3 as it doesn't take up too much space and is small enough to scan), I also worked from a computer in another room. But now I have my laptop I can work in here (almost) all the time!

My storage isn't particularly pretty (the white unit has been in here for years, the brown one on top was in the little man's room before his refurb) but there's quite a lot of it now and it does the job.

One of the reasons for the clutter is that I like to have colourful, inspiring things around me all the time - the combination of that and a small room is asking for trouble! I still dream of that larger studio at the end of the garden one day, but it won't be happening in the near future!

I will be attepting to create a miniature pop-up version of my studio at 133a Stanley Park Road as part of Carshalton Artists Open Studios on 24/25 June and 1/2 July. Find out all about the open studios and the artists involved here.

You can catch up on my previous studio tour posts below.

Kathryn Sherriff
Kendra Haste
Simon Burder
Claire Chandler

Dulwich Artists Open House 2017

Art, Ceramics, Events, Exhibition, Inspiration, LondonKate Marsden

I love Dulwich Open House - it's basically my idea of heaven and I wish it were on every weekend - partly because I never manage to get very far! Last year I did an epic route taking in Sydenham Hill, Lordship Lane and then down to Forest Hill (when it was nearly 30 degrees), this year's route was governed by a combination of wanting to see some different people and which trains were running...

Ceramics by Mimi Joung and textile art by Melanie Bowles at Julia McKenzie's house

Ceramics by Mimi Joung and textile art by Melanie Bowles at Julia McKenzie's house

And I only managed to take in four locations! Anyone who knows me knows I like to chat... First stop (after getting lost - if you ever do Dulwich folks make sure you only loosely rely on the map in the brochure - you need your phone as well, unless you know everywhere like the back of your hand!) was the lovely Snowden Flood.

Snowden was showing her work at a lovely house on South Croxted Road and had a curated selection of other artist's on display too - Scarves from Karen Mabon, Sulpture from Dido Crosby, Jewellery from Clara Francis and Prints by Hannah Coulson.

Hannah Coulson - I loved the print on the bottom left but it'd sold. Still thinking about it through so might need to get Hannah to make me one!

Hannah Coulson - I loved the print on the bottom left but it'd sold. Still thinking about it through so might need to get Hannah to make me one!

I was there for the best part of an hour before we headed off to West Norwood. First stop was Michelle House...

Textile Art by Michelle House - Furniture by Mandie Beuzeval

Textile Art by Michelle House - Furniture by Mandie Beuzeval

Michelle was showing her beautiful, colourful work alongside some pretty gorgeous furniture by Mandie Beuzeval. Oh and she had a lovely yellow living room too!

Next stop was next door and the envy inducing end of garden studio belonging to Julia McKenzie. I'd "known" Julia online for years but we'd never met before and I loved her studio where I kept spotting more interesting things - I may also have shopped a little (see below).

Julia McKenzie's Studio
Mimi Joung at Julia McKenzie

Mimi Joung at Julia McKenzie

Julia was showing her work alongside that of her husband Robert McKenzie (stunning detailed paintings), wonderful stitched collages by Leonieke Kormelink, and Melanie Bowles and Mimi Joung as seen in the first image in this post. So again, I stayed there for ages!

As with last year, this was the point at which I started to flag! I headed down the hill to Bainbridge Studios and put my feet up in Ray Stanbrook's studio for a few minutes (or closer to an hour - there was cake, what could I do?!).

Ray Stanbrook

Ray Stanbrook

I had a little nose around the rest of the studios there too and managed a little light shopping! You can see all my purchases from the day below.

Cards from Julia McKenzie, tea towells from Ray Stanbrook, fabric scraps from Kangan Arora (at Bainbridge Studios) and crochet garland from Paola Moglia (also at Bainbridge Studios).

Cards from Julia McKenzie, tea towells from Ray Stanbrook, fabric scraps from Kangan Arora (at Bainbridge Studios) and crochet garland from Paola Moglia (also at Bainbridge Studios).

There were other places on my list but my legs were tired and the train home was calling.

Keep your eyes peeled for details of next year's event here. Maybe I'll manage to attend both weekends next time!

Lampshades Galore!

Craft, Events, London, Painting, Pattern Design, Textiles, WorkshopsKate Marsden

A little reminder post for you today - I have two (completely different) lamphade workshops coming up, one of which is this weekend, and there are still a few spaces available!

First up, this Saturday I will be heading back to Tooting...

I'll be back at Love Art to repeat the really successful lampshade workshop I ran in March (which was fully booked last time folks so get booking before you miss out!). In this workshop you'll learn to make a lampshade using one of my fabrics, or you can bring your own - find all the details here.

My full day workshop at Art Rebellion in Coulsdon, has unfortunately been rescheduled, and will now be on Sunday 17 September. There was a lot of interest in this one, so hopefully the change of date will mean your diaries are clear!

During this workshop you will design, paint and make a completely unique lampshade. You can do something along the lines of mine above, paint a scene, flowers, buildings, whatever you like! It's set to be really good fun, and a tiny bit messy - includes lunch from Art Rebellion's wonderful cafe - find out more here.

For details of all my upcoming events head to the workshops and events page.

Studio Tour - Claire Chandler

Art, Events, Exhibition, Inspiration, Painting, Sketchbook, StudiosKate Marsden

The excitement is building for Carshalton Artists Open Studios! Today I'm sharing the studio of artist Claire Chandler - I'm completely in love with her work, and so happy that I'll be sharing her space on the weekends of 24/25 June and 1/2 July.

Here's what you can expect to see in Claire's gorgeous studio...

Claire creates the most beautiful, colourful abstract paintings - inspired by the many places she has lived and travelled to (having spent much of her childhood living abroad). I can just see so much in them and every one draws me in - I have a feeling I may get to the end of the two weekends having spent all of my profits and then some!

Claire and I will be joined by mixed media artist Marie Ratnam - so there will be lots to see at our stop on the trail!

Come and see us at 133a Stanley Park Road from 11am - 5pm on 24/25 June and 1/2 July. Find out more about all the artists taking part in Carshalton Artists Open Studios and take a look at the trail map here.

Lost Futures - Post-War British Architecture

Architecture, Books, Exhibition, London, ReviewKate Marsden

I spent a very long time in a one room exhibition a few weeks ago... I visited the Royal Academy and saw America after the Fall (which was very good) and the Anthony Green exhibition (which was also rather lovely, and consisted of one room) but my favourite was Futures Found: The Real and Imagined Cityscapes of Post-War Britain - of course it was.

I'm pretty sure I've never spent so long in a small, free exhibition but I read and studied everything (and the other people came and went).

The exhibition took us through the vision of a better and brighter future which the planners of the post-war era had for Britain's cities. It included lots of familiar buildings along with plenty which were new to me.

Obviously one room wasn't nearly enough, and so I had to buy the little yellow gem of a book which accompanied the exhibition...

Now it's rare for me to read a book like this from cover to cover, but having started it on the train home, that's the plan. Packed with brilliant photographs and full page write ups for the different buildings, it's a real treat.

Lots of ideas for new/old buildings for me to draw as well. All of the 35 buildings featured have either been demolished or significanty altered (for example Park Hill), so in a way it's a little sad, but a wonderful record, in every case showing the buildings at their shiny new best.

Croydon Street Art Walk

Art, Exhibition, LondonKate Marsden

Another photowalk post for you today, but this one was a little different. Last week the (no longer so) small boy and I had a day to ourselves and we couldn't venture into town as there were no trains running, so we hopped on the bus into Croydon in a bid to look at and photograph some of the recent additions to the increasing collection of street art.

Now, to the little man it's graffiti - and there's good graffiti and bad graffiti - the good type being the fab stuff you see here, created by talented artists and the bad being the messy tags by the railway line. He loved it and asked how old you need to be to start - he wants to learn how to do it himself, which is rather lovely.

The fab Rise Gallery in St Georges Walk (whose shutters have the dogs on - see below) organise a monthly Graffiti Grannies class which looks amazing - I'd like to try this and I'm certainly not one of the forbidden "youngsters" but I'm not quite 40 yet so probably still too young! Also doesn't help the little man - maybe I need to look out for a kids graffiti class. If you are interested in the grannies class though you can find out more info here.

Rise Gallery is known for it's public art programmes and they're responsible for the brightening up of what used to be a pretty depressing part of the town centre (but it now the arts quarter!). You can find out more about the Arts Quarter here - and this includes a map which shows you where the little man and I wandered - we covered the whole area. In the meantime, here are some more pictures of the wonderful art which really brightned up a grey morning!

Little Man's Bedroom Makeover

Inspiration, InteriorsKate Marsden

Well, it took some planning but the little man's room was finally finished ON his birthday (as promised 6 months ago!). I'm really pleased with how it's turned out and it was definitely worth the time and effort.

Cushion and lampshade by me! - Bedside table and bedding (and Doggy!) from IKEA - Clock and headboard are vintage

Cushion and lampshade by me! - Bedside table and bedding (and Doggy!) from IKEA - Clock and headboard are vintage

Here's a little before and during for you. The first image (top left) was taken on the day we moved in to the house nearly 7 years ago, and the second one was straight after we (or rather my parents!) decorated it in time for him to move out of the cot in our room into his own.

So (obviously) the lining paper didn't come off cleanly, and that meant more work - there's always something with old houses. The cupboard you can see in the top right picture was taken out to give him more space for his desk and little bits and bobs.

I, rather nervously, painted a mural on his wall (for his "mountain theme room") - it only took a day (albeit with three coats of paint) and I'm really pleased with how it turned out.

All paints are from Farrow & Ball - the green is Arsenic, the white is Great White

All paints are from Farrow & Ball - the green is Arsenic, the white is Great White

And then there was the amazing mural wallpaper (which I didn't put up myself!)...

We added shelves in the recess where the old cupboard used to be...

Lack shelves from IKEA

Lack shelves from IKEA

And then it was just a case of waiting for the carpet. Here are some shots of the finished room.

Month in the Life - April

Month in the LifeKate Marsden

A little belated this month as I had so many other exciting things to share! April was busy - school holidays (although for the first week the little man stayed with his grandparents so I was free - or rather missed him really really badly!), starting work on new designs and getting ready for upcoming events, oh and then a certain person's 7th birthday. Here are my best bits...

Jewellery decoupage with Gabriela Szulman.

All four corners of London in one day!

Easter shenanigans.

The Japanese House exhibition at the Barbican.

New cards for Crafty Fox Market (last weekend).

Birthday time!

Studio Tour - Simon Burder

Art, Events, Inspiration, London, Studios, WorkshopsKate Marsden

Another little something to whet your whistle ahead of next month's Carshalton Artists Open Studios today in the form of the studio of printmaker Simon Burder.

Simon runs the Oaks Editions Lithography Studio from his space at Oaks Park - here he creates his own work as well as running regular workshops, short courses and offering artists open access and edition printing facilities.

Ludgvan Lane 1 - Lithograph 30 x 42 cm - Simon Burder

Ludgvan Lane 1 - Lithograph 30 x 42 cm - Simon Burder

Simon's work has been selected for numerous prestigious exhibitions including the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition - so it's likely you've seen his prints somewhere before. He'll be opening his studio alongside his wife Kate Wilson, whose paintings have really caught my eye.

Kate Wilson - Alleyway - Oil on board

Kate Wilson - Alleyway - Oil on board

Having never tried this method of printing before myself, attending one of Simon's courses has been on my list for years - maybe this will finally spur me on to do something about it!

During the two weekends of Carshalton Artists Open House, Simon will be running a collective litho stone drawing which all visitors will be invited to contribute to before it is printed - this sounds like a brilliant opportunity to have a go!

Oaks Park Studios

Oaks Park Studios

Simon's Studio will be open on 24/25 June and 1/2 July as part of the Carshalton Artists Open Studios trail - you can find out all about the event and the other artists taking part (including yours truy!) here.

A Taste of Japan

Architecture, Exhibition, Inspiration, Interiors, ReviewKate Marsden

When one of my favourite countries combines with one of my favourite buildings it's a match made in heaven! I visited the Barbican a couple of weeks ago to see the Japanese House exhibition, which is a feast for the eyes. A great combination of interesting exhibits and information, gorgeous architectural models and an actual Japanese house to wander around (and a tea house/tree house to die for) - almost too much to take in in one visit! Here are some of my favourite images...

The Japanese House: Architecture and Life after 1945 is at the Barbican Art Gallery until 25 June 2017.

Coming Up...

Art, Craft, Events, Inspiration, London, Painting, Pattern Design, Sewing, Shopping, Studios, Textiles, WorkshopsKate Marsden

A little roundup of my upcoming events for you today - there are lots of opportunities to get crafty and to shop over the next couple of months!

First up, this Saturday 6 May I return to Crafty Fox Market for my first market of the year. This one is at a new (to me) venue in Bethnal Green - it looks gorgeous and there will be 75+ makers to shop with and workshops too! 11am - 5pm at Oval Space.

Then it's my next workshop - I'll be making lampshades again at Love Art in Tooting on Saturday 27 May - make sure you book this one as it was popular last time!

The following day, Sunday 28 May, I'll be teaching you how to design, paint AND make your own lampshade at Art Rebellion in Coulsdon - this one will be really fun, a little messy and includes lunch!

On Satuday 17 June, as part of the launch of Creative Happy London, I'll be spending the day at Gabriela Szulman's studio in Camberwell teaching three stitched jewellery workshops - you can choose from 10am, 12noon or 2pm start times (and you can save a whopping 50% on the workshop fee with the code camberwellfest so what's stopping you?!).

We then have 2 full weekends of Carshalton Artists Open Studios! I'm really excited to be involved in this inaugural event - you can find me popping up at 133a Stanley Park Road - find all the details here (and catch up on my studio tour posts here and here).

Barely time to breathe, and then the next Saturday 8 July, I'm back in Tooting to teach the stitched jewellery workshop at Love Art.

And back to Camberwell on Saturday 15 July for more Creative Happy London fun! I'll be teaching two workshops on this day - hand stitched tote bags and lampshades. Bookings open soon.

Then it's the summer holidays... phew! So plenty of opportunities to get involved with something coming up - get your diaries out and get booking!

Studio Tour - Kendra Haste

Art, Events, Exhibition, StudiosKate Marsden

My short series of studio tours continues today with the stunning work of contemporary animal sculptor Kendra Haste. Kendra's studio is at the fabulous Oaks Park Studios, which will be open as part of Carshalton Artists Open Studios this summer. Prepare to say wow...

Kendra graduated from the Royal College of Art and is a member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors, the Society of Wildlife Artists (UK) and is also a signature member of the Society of Animal Artists (USA). Her amazing sculptures can be seen all over the world, but closer to home you may have spotted her work at Waterloo Station and the Tower of London (where she has no less than 13 pieces!).

Kendra's open studio is a must visit - especially for lovers of animals.

Image (c) Bill Mudge

Image (c) Bill Mudge

Image (c) Bill Mudge

Image (c) Bill Mudge

Image (c) Bill Mudge

Image (c) Bill Mudge

You can view Kendra's studio in 360 degrees in this video from the New York Times, plus lots more images on her website.

There are no fewer than 10 artists opening their studios at Oaks Park - see the full trail here.

Image (c) Bill Mudge

Image (c) Bill Mudge

Image (c) Bill Mudge

Image (c) Bill Mudge

Image (c) Bill Mudge

Image (c) Bill Mudge

So go and see if you can spot her elephant sculpture at Waterloo Station, then make sure you come down to Carshalton for the open studios! Kendra's studio is open both weekends - 24/25 June and 1/2 July.

You can find out about all the artists involved in the event (including me!) on the Carshalton Artists website.

Exploring the City of London

Kate Marsden

Last weekend saw the third of my photowalks, this time exploring my old stomping ground of the City of London.

Our numbers were a little depleted by Saturday morning, but we still had a nice time and I took masses of photos, some of the best of which are below (warning - this is a VERY photo heavy post!).


365 Days of Coloured Stuff - an update...

PhotographyKate Marsden

Is this challenge proving tougher than I'd expected? Hmm, not completely sure! As I managed 100 days of only yellow last year I thought doing 365 days of all sorts of different colours would be easy, but it's not! Anyway, I'm now over the 100 day mark and still going reasonably strong...

And I do think this multicoloured approach is quite pleasing to the eye!

Studio Tour - Kathryn Sherriff

Art, Ceramics, Events, Inspiration, Interiors, StudiosKate Marsden

Now you know how I like a good nosey around other people's studios (and houses, and gardens....) and this summer Carshalton Artists' Open Studios promises LOADS of nosey-ing opportunities! Not for me though, as I'll be taking part, so I thought I'd get in early and visit some of the artists who will be opening their studios before the event.

I was drawn to Kathryn Sherriff's as soon as I saw the first image below - it looks just wonderful! So it was my first stop...

Kathryn is a studio potter working out of her small but perfectly formed garden studio under the name By The Line Pottery (no prizes for guessing why she called it that - I joked that she'll never be able to move house though!) - if you're in any way into pots, you'll want to check out her gorgeous Instagram here.

Image (c) Bill Mudge

Image (c) Bill Mudge

Image (c) Bill Mudge

Image (c) Bill Mudge

The studio is very tidy (but then it needs to be as it's hardly huge!) and everything has it's place. Nestled at the back of a rather stylish garden (and a beautifully extended house with lots of lovely mid-century finds) it's like a different world. The sort of space I dream of having at the end of my garden one day.

Image (c) Bill Mudge

Image (c) Bill Mudge

During Carshalton Artists' Open Studios, Kathryn will be sharing her garden with fellow potters Caroline Warwick and Sarah Hillman - and there will be throwing demonstrations and all sorts going on - so make sure you put the dates in your diary!

Image (c) Bill Mudge

Image (c) Bill Mudge

Image (c) Bill Mudge

Image (c) Bill Mudge

Image (c) Bill Mudge

Image (c) Bill Mudge

Image (c) Bill Mudge

Image (c) Bill Mudge

Image (c) Bill Mudge

Image (c) Bill Mudge

Carshalton Artists Open Studios runs over 2 weekends this summer - 24/25 June and 1/2 July - Kathryn's studio will be open on both weekends. To find out more about the event and all the artists taking part, visit the website.

If you'd like to visit me during the weekend, I'll be temporarily setting up home at 133a Stanley Park Road.

Carshalton is really easy to get to by train from Central London or by train or car from right across the South East.

Creative Happy London

Art, Craft, Events, Inspiration, London, Paper, Sewing, Textiles, WorkshopsKate Marsden

I'm really excited to share something new with you today! I've been working alongside Gabriela Szulman, Kip Perdue and Anna Jackson as part of a new artists' collective who will be running all of our popular workshops together under the banner Creative Happy London. The workshops will be held at Gabriela's gorgeous studio in Camberwell and we'll be launching propely at the Camberwell Festival in June, but workshops are already available for booking! Here's what you can currently choose from...

Decoupage with Gabriela Szulman

Gabriela will be running two different workshops during the period of the Camberwell Festival - Upcycle a Tealight Holder with Decoupage on Saturday 10 June and Decorate a Photo Frame with Decoupage on Sunday 11 June.

Papercutting with Kip Perdue

Kip will be teaching a Paper Cutting Workshop on Saturday 10 June and again on Wednesday 14 June (in the evening).

Foiling with Anna Jackson

Anna will be teaching you how to Make a Sparkly Picture with Metalic Foils on Sunday 11 June.

Textile Jewellery Making with Me!

I will be running a Stitched Jewellery Workshop on Saturday 17 June.

Fabric Jewellery 2.jpg

Our website will be launching very soon, but in the meantime you can see all live workshops on Eventbright and follow us on Instagram and Twitter.




Vanessa Bell

Art, Exhibition, Inspiration, London, Review, Shopping, TextilesKate Marsden

I hadn't been to Dulwich for a while - I used to have friends who lived nearby, and I did Dulwich Open House a couple of years ago, but hadn't had a chance for a stroll for an age. So I chose a beautiful sunny spring day to visit Dulwich Village, which is impossibly pretty at the worst of times, suffered from some major house envy, and then visited the Picture Gallery for the first time.

What really dragged me to Dulwich was Vanessa Bell. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll probably know that I'm a bit of a fan of her sister (Virginia Woolf) and I was massively into the Bloomsbury Group as a teenager. I've always admired the style of Vanessa's work, and almost feel as though I know some of the subjects, as I spent so long reading about them, so I really couldn't miss this one.

I first saw Vanessa's work at an exhibition at the Barbican when I was at art college (probably 1995 or 96) but haven't ever come accross anything on this scale before. The exhibition covers her paintings as well as her designs for textiles, ceramics and photographs - so it was quite a feast for the eyes.

Vanessa Bell – Studland Beach 1912 – © Estate of Vanessa Bell, courtesy Henrietta Garnett, acquired 1976 Tate Collection, on loan to Dulwich Picture Gallery

Vanessa Bell – Studland Beach 1912 – © Estate of Vanessa Bell, courtesy Henrietta Garnett, acquired 1976 Tate Collection, on loan to Dulwich Picture Gallery

Vanessa Bell – Mrs St John Hutchinson 1915 - © Estate of Vanessa Bell, courtesy Henrietta Garnett, acquired 1973 Tate Collection, on loan to Dulwich Picture Gallery

Vanessa Bell – Mrs St John Hutchinson 1915 - © Estate of Vanessa Bell, courtesy Henrietta Garnett, acquired 1973 Tate Collection, on loan to Dulwich Picture Gallery

The exhibition was larger than I'd expected (with around 100 paintings) but was still over too soon (I think I would've moved in given the opportunity). I'm not normally one to rave about exhibition shops, but this one's an absolute joy - I had to really restrain myself as I could've bought everything!

I settled for some postcards, this beautiful little fold out book by Alice Pattullo and a cushion cover (couldnt resist a bit of Vanessa Bell for my living room!).

Pamela Print Cushion Cover - Image (c) Dulwich Picture Gallery

Pamela Print Cushion Cover - Image (c) Dulwich Picture Gallery

So, in conculsion the exhibition was wonderful and inspiring, if potentially expensive!!

Vanessa Bell: 1879-1961 is at the Dulwich Picture Gallery until 4 June 2017.

Expore the Barbican (and more!) this Saturday...

Architecture, Events, London, Photography, TravelKate Marsden

A little reminder post for you today... My next photowalk is this coming Saturday 22 April in the City of London. You'll get to see this beauty and lots more besides!

There's a really broad range of architecture in the City, and we plan to start at the Monument to the Great Fire of London, before taking in some of the main landmarks, some International style, PoMo, Brutalism and more. We'll be stopping for lunch but otherwise the photowalk is free. I will need to know if you're coming though! Please either drop me a line or join the Photowalks mailing list to get the final reminder email later this week.


Jewellery Decoupage

Craft, London, Paper, WorkshopsKate Marsden

I visited Gabriela Szulman in her studio in Camberwell again last week, and came away having made something that I'm really rather proud of! I've previously learnt how to decoupage shoes and a tray with Gabriela and I've always been really pleased (and surprised) with the results, but this time I made a necklace and it's just fab (wearing it as I type)...

I've added some images of the steps I took below. The main image is taken from a Marimekko napkin with some little leaves placed in the background. This is fairly straightforward to do (especially if you've already been on one of Gabriela's workshops so understand the technique) but there is a bit of drying time involved - you get to work on two pieces though, so can work on one while the other is drying.

Gabriela's next assembled jewellery workshop is on Sunday 23 April - you can find out more about it here.

Cloth & Candy a.k.a. Fabric Heaven...

Business, Craft, Dressmaking, Sewing, TextilesKate Marsden

I'd been following Fuz of Cloth & Candy and her gorgeous online fabric shop for a while, and then a few months ago I discovered that she lives just down the road from me! So I dragged her and her son over to my favourite local cafe to chat fabric and business and stuff. Be prepared to coo over fabricy goodness...

Tell us a little about yourself and what prompted you to launch Cloth & Candy.

Hi, I’m Fuz. I’m a wife, a mum to a busy toddler and an all round crazy fabric hoarding lady. Being a creative at heart, I’d been longing to set myself free of the 9-5. Having worked in the fashion retail industry for ten years, my work had always allowed me to be surrounded by beautiful textiles and design, so it was just a case of taking the plunge to do it. We were planning to start a family and after some long hard thinking, I decided, what better time to just give it a go. So I did!

When did your love affair with fabric begin?

I am lucky enough to have a mum who loves sewing so she taught me a lot when I was little. I used to enjoy tapestries, cross stitches and little sewing kits. I made a rag doll once, I swear it was the scariest thing ever, but I loved it at the time ha ha! I had some amazing textiles teachers at school too who taught things like appliqué, dyeing and even machine embroidery.

Also, I think a big part of the excitement, has come from my heritage. The vibrant colours, handiwork and general culture of Pakistan and Bangladesh have really helped to create this passion for textiles and design.

How do you spend a typical day at Cloth & Candy HQ?

I am first and foremost, a mother, so my day is a real mix of megablocks, fun fabric stuff, and generally chasing after my toddler all round the house. I tend to prioritise my tasks the night before, just so I can make the most of the day. During his nap time, I could be taking pics of some of the amazing fabrics, catching up on emails, wrapping parcels or planning my next projects. We usually have a trip to the post office in the afternoon which always involves a visit to the duck pond or the playground! I get a lot of my stuff done in the evenings though, I am quite the night owl.

It can be tricky to switch on in the evenings for work after such a tiring day. When you run the show all by yourself, work can creep into spare time too. I’m trying to be better at giving myself time off as it allows me to be more creative and come up with fun, new ideas for the business!

What attracts you to the designs you choose to stock at Cloth & Candy? Everything always seems to work so well together!

This is the part of my job I love the most! I look for great colour combos and striking designs. I love modern prints, with a bit of fun and boldness to them and yes, I generally try to make them sit really well together. The fabrics genuinely excite me and I hope I’m inspiring people to use these fun patterns in their projects. I’ve had a few customers tell me they've started sewing for the first time just because they wanted to own the fabrics in my collection!

Like my motto goes, if I don’t love it, you might not love it, I don’t put it in my shop.

Do you find any time for sewing yourself? What do you like to make?

Since the little one arrived, I’ve been rubbish at giving myself time for this. This year, a big goal of mine is to get back to the sewing machine more. After all, I do have a pretty good stash at my disposal!! I’ve started to get that time in for some simple projects like drawstring bags and pouches. I’d really love to give dressmaking a go this year though. I’ve wanted to make myself a dress for some time now and I just need to get on and do it!

And what do you enjoy doing when not consumed by fabric?!

I like to relax! Curling up with a good book, watching Netflix, chilling out with the hubby. I like to visit markets and art galleries when I can and enjoy the odd craft workshop every so often. We like to travel too. I get so inspired by the places we visit! We recently visited Brussels and absolutely loved it. Next stop, Kuala Lumpur!! Oh the fabrics I will find…

We’re all planning our summer holidays at the moment - which destinations have you enjoyed fabric shopping in?

Ooh, Paris is super fun for fabric shopping. I love trawling Le Puces Flea Market for vintage bits and bobs! But, by far my most favourite place to shop for fabrics has been Japan. That place is full to the brim with creativity, colour and design. I was in heaven and I’m sure the fabric tipped me over the baggage allowance limit!!

Are there any other small businesses closer to home which you’d recommend to us sewing fans? 

If you haven't already, you need to head to V V Rouleaux in Marylebone, London. All the trimmings your heart could ever desire! And for some cute, colourful craft kits, check out The Make Arcade. We will be stocking some of their sewing kits soon!! Oh, and there’s this other amazing shop I know… Made by Mrs M??

Can we expect to see you popping up at any events again this year?

For sure!! You will find me at Summer Sewmance in Brighton this June and then I’ll be back at the Handmade Fair at Hampton Court in September. I love being able to share what I do and meet fellow fabric fanatics so do come along if you can!

Thanks so much for chatting with me Fuz! You can find the Cloth & Candy website here, and also on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.