Today, we’ve caught up with Fashion & Textiles Mentor Charlotte Liddle. Firstly Charlotte is an amazingly talented Textiles Designer-Maker but in addition to that a very aspirational author of a series of Textile related books, check out what she was talking to us about:
1. What is your favourite aspect of ‘textiles’.
My favourite area of textiles is hand and machine embroidery , applique and customisation. I specialized in embroidered textiles whilst studying for my degree and this is something that I have continued to explore and it has featured strongly in my work since then.
2. Do you have a favourite style of ‘textiles’? If so, why do you like this specific style?
I really like colorful, busy and textured textile work. I love a sort of vintage style mixed with contemporary colours and pattern. A lot of my work is small ish textile craft projects for fashion and the home. I have created lots of accessory pieces such as handbags, textile jewellery, customised shoes, scarves and gloves. I often use old fabric and clothes and up-cycle or customise them to create completely new items. I like the idea that you can give something a new lease of life! I have also recently written a book based on Glamping – Glamorous Camping -which has given me the opportunity to make more projects for interiors such as quirky patchwork blankets, applique cushions, fabric clocks and lots more.
3. Do you think it’s important for young people to have access to creative opportunities, and why? For example, it aids not only with creative development, but also personal development like confidence building, etc.
Certainly – it is so important that students are given the chance to see how things work in industry and not just in their school. There is so much to learn from taking part in additional creative activities, often students realize that they really enjoy one area within the arts and not another which is a very valuable lesson to learn. I often find that creative activities can really help develop personal skills such as team-working , presentation and organizational skills. We often see students who don’t enjoy or achieve in mainstream school thriving on our programme because they are working in a different environment and a completely new way.
4. How do you feel access to creative opportunities in schools has changed over time? (for example, in comparison to when you were in secondary school or throughout further studies)
I think it’s a massive shame that not all schools teach textiles or fashion. Thankfully I able to study textiles and was encouraged to incorporate textiles within my Art GCSE when I was at school and I absolutely loved it! I think children need to learn fun sewing and crafting skills from a very young age and this should be something that is put into practice starting at primary school and then followed through into secondary school. I think traditional skills such as sewing , embroidery and making your own clothes is definitely coming back into fashion and we are seeing much more of a buzz around it so in my opinion it’s really important that schools get on the back of that and really promote it as a key part of the curriculum.
5. Do you feel the current curriculum provides a sufficient amount of exposure to creative industries?- as above
6. Is it realistic for young people to pursue experience in creative industries? (in the sense that there is actually a job market in these fields)
Work experience is a key way to learn both life and work skills, for students it opens their eyes to the expectations of the working world and shows that they are keen and eager candidates so that when they do apply for jobs they stand out from the crowd. There is no doubt that we are still facing difficult economic times and people can sometimes be worried about ‘taking a risk’ and pursuing a career in the arts as they feel that jobs are more scarce however I feel that its more about learning the skills to be versatile and knowing how to turn your hand to different areas of work within the creative industry. There are lots of creative opportunities out there but young people need to learn where to look for them and how to make useful contact and both of these can be achieved through work experience and internships.
7. What is your favourite part about running the ‘fashion and textiles’ workshops?
We get the opportunity to work with some very talented students. Every year they astound me with what they can achieve in such a short space of time. I also find it really interesting to see how the students develop through the different stages and it’s great to see those who make it all the way to the gold stage are extremely proud when they exhibit their final work at the end of year show.