As soon as I came across Judith Edmondson’s beautiful and unique rag rug jackets on Instagram, I knew I wanted to feature her and the rest of her amazing work on the blog. Our previous rag rugger and textile designer Q&As have all featured beautiful detailed rag rug work, but rag clothing is something I’ve never featured before. Below is our Q&A with Judith and a showcase of a her various designs…
Judith Edmondson, welcome! Would you mind telling us a little about yourself and your background please?
Hello Ragged Life readers! I’m 22 years old and from North-West Cumbria. I recently graduated from Nottingham Trent University where I studied Decorative Arts, specialising in Textiles. This is where I really found my own style as a designer. I’ve always loved creating and making things, but recently I have found my true passion, which is screen-printing and upholstery.
How did you get into working with textiles?
I was taught how to sew and knit at a very young age by my grandma and I instantly fell in love with the techniques. From then on, in my spare time I took it upon myself to create projects such as needle holders or patchwork quilts. At school I studied textiles and went on to Art College where I furthered my skills. However, it was definitely at university where I came into my own as a designer.
What inspires your work?
Definitely nature! Growing up in the Cumbrian countryside has had a real effect on the designs I create. I’m a massive lover of texture and this is pretty evident in my work. I love taking organic textures from nature and recreating them using fabric manipulation and embellishment.
Which other textile artists do you love?
Kitty Mccall is one of my ultimate favourite designers, mainly because her work is so thoughtful. Every design is so full of life with the way she uses bright colours and layered patterns. Liz Payne and Elizabeth Pawle also have a love for colour that I could only dream of having! Their work is very textured and carefully structured. Georgina Price is an artist that I have admired for a long time. She uses very simple shapes and various mark making techniques.
I really appreciate the beauty in simplistic, abstract design.
What do you enjoy most about working with textiles?
I love playing with new fabrics and techniques and I’m always looking for new ways to make textures. I specialised in screen printing in University and there is no better feeling than when you lift up the screen to see the design printed onto the fabric! Working a lot with recycled fabrics and unconventional materials really allows me to challenge myself and often the most unexpected materials end up looking the best!
Are all of your fabrics recycled? Where do you source them from?
All of the materials I used to create the six jackets were completely sustainable. I went to charity shops and car boot sales for weeks looking for the perfect materials to match my colour scheme! I found all kinds of crazy things including metal washers, curtain hoops, jeans, plastic bags and more. Unfortunately, other projects that I have created haven’t used 100% recycled materials, but this is something I am working on. Sustainability is something that’s very important to me and with every project I create I try to use as many recycled materials as possible.
What are your most and least favourite fabrics to use in your work?
Denim is a favourite of mine simply because it can be manipulated very easily. It can be used double sided and raw, frayed edges can easily become a design feature. Thick cotton is also great to work with because its very easy to sew and embellish. It also takes the pigment very well when screen printing. Although chiffon is very beautiful, it is extremely hard to work with due to its lightweight quality.
What is your favourite piece you’ve made so far?
I think my favourite piece I’ve made so far would have to be the embellished chair I made as my graduate piece for University. It started as a simple wooden bar chair and I transformed it into something completely different, using woodwork, screen printing, upholstery and embellishments.
What are you currently working on? Are you able to share any ‘in-progress’ photos?
I’m really sad to say that at the moment I don’t have any major projects on the go, but I am constantly coming up with ideas. I think it’s time I threw myself back into making!
What’s next for you in terms of textile projects?
Furniture and upholstery are where I see myself heading in the future. I want to focus on creating more textural pieces. I am always thinking about the idea of hosting workshops so that other people will be able to enjoy textiles as much as I do.
What excites you most about the textile and craft industry?
Simply that there are always new ideas to be made and that new materials are constantly being discovered.
Do you have any tips for people wanting to work with textiles or get into crafts?
I would say just go for it! Start small if you like and set a goal for yourself. For instance, learn how to cross stitch or buy a pack of beads and see what you can do with them. You can’t go wrong, and like I said earlier sometimes the most unconventional materials or methods often have the best outcomes! If there are any workshops in your area then definitely give them a try.
You may have heard about our 2019 Eco Challenge to be less wasteful in 2019, do you have any tips or tricks to be more environmentally friendly in our day to day lives?
There is always something that can be done. For example, whenever I have a clear out of clothes, I always look for what materials I could use for other projects. I’m always trying to make something new out of something old!
Where can people find out more about you and your work?
I currently have an Instagram account which I keep up to date with all my making. It’s @judeedmondsontextiles if you’d like to follow along!
So, that was Judith Edmondson’s rag fashion and textiles 🙂 If you’d like to be the first to see future Q&As with rag ruggers or textile art inspiration, why not join our Rag Rug Community on Facebook or join our fortnightly newsletter here.
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As always, happy rag rugging!