Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Dreamer Spotlight: Helen MacRitchie Designs

Helen is a textile artist working in fabric embellishment, embroidery and felting to create a range of individually handcrafted bags and purses, accessories and wearable art. She began life as a pharmacist with PhD in pharmaceutics, but swapped drugs for far more addictive fibre art when she left UK in 2000.

  • Tell me something about yourself?
I’m a Scot, now living in Sydney, married with 2 teenagers.  Originally a scientist, I turned back to my first love of textiles when we first left UK 12 years ago, turning my embroidered fabrics into bags and purses for friends and family.  Since then I have developed new techniques & designs, and joined several craft associations to sell my handmade & one-of-a-kind bags, wearables and accessories.  I love the design process, sampling of fabric ideas, creating a totally individual piece and then getting the feedback from a customer who loves it as much as me!  It makes the time and thought involved all worthwhile.

  • What are your sources of inspiration?
Inspiration for me comes from everywhere and anywhere – from vegetation and the seaside to cracks in the pavement and rubbish on the ground.  It depends on my mood I think just whether I am open to ideas from those images and glimpses.

  • Where and when did you learn your craft? Who taught you?
When I left the UK, I enrolled on a London City & Guilds certificate to study “Design and Embroidery” by distance learning.  I so enjoyed the work that when I completed that in 2006 I enrolled in the Diploma course.  It has taught me so many techniques, eg. felting, braiding, surface design etc but more importantly the ability to research & develop design ideas into samples and finished articles.

  • Aside from your craft, what else do you enjoy doing?
I’m afraid I’m a bit obsessed with my craft, and have developed my hobbies like sketching into my work, but I do like to get to the gym when I can, and enjoy a good book or two. 

  • What piece of advice can you give to other artists?
Be confident in your own designs and create what you enjoy and like yourself.  Don’t make simply what you feel will sell if it is not true to you.  It will undoubtedly show through your work.

  • What are your  plans for the future?
I’m hoping for my work to become a little better known through increased involvement with galleries, exhibitions, and arenas such as Dreamers Market. In addition to exhibiting and selling, I do a little teaching at present, something I’d like to do more of, and have begun writing and submitting articles to promote my craft and the handmade “movement” in general.  Onwards and upwards!

You will find more of Helen's unique creations at the Dreamers Market!

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