This month we sat down with textile artist, life style blogger and creator of Flea and Bear, Marry Maddocks. She is a lawyer turned creative entrepreneur with a passion for woven art, writing, making. To find out more about Mary come along to one of her weaving workshops.
What initially sparked your love affair with weaving? Did you attend a craft class or are you a self taught textile artist? I tried weaving in school but then forgot all about it. Then about three years ago I discovered it again and taught myself how to do it. I fell completely in love with it and spent every moment I could weaving, practising and developing my style. I’m still learning all the time!
With so many beautiful woven tapestries and wall hangings, do you a have a favourite? I’m really liking my newest pieces that are just about to hit my shop. They’re a bit more pared back and abstract than my previous work and they have a mid-century feel to them which I love.
You describe West Welsh landscapes and Scottish Highlands as having “special magic”. Can you tell us more about how the natural world influences your woven art. I am obsessed with natural textures and colours and they creep into every piece I make. For me there is nothing more beautiful than a piece of driftwood washed and worn by the sea, or the way that wild grasses move in the wind and catch the evening sun. The natural world is both a tonic to me and a constant source of inspiration.
Your weaving workshops are coming up, what would you like your guests to take away from the workshop? Above all I would like them to have fun discovering a new craft, and gain an appreciation of the endless stylistic possibilities that weaving offers. I’m always amazed by how different each student’s weaving is from the next – it’s wonderful to watch people translate their own inspiration and style into their woven art.
You bravely left the corporate world behind and pursued your passion as a creative entrepreneur, do you have any advice to people who want to follow your path? I hesitated about taking the leap for ages and eventually decided to throw caution to the wind and go for it. It’s a scary thing to do, but I knew I would regret it if I didn’t give it a go! I would say, make a rough plan, try to save a bit of money beforehand if you can, and just do it! I would also say don’t get too hung up on consuming the endless creative business advice that’s out there – just sit yourself down and get to work! I’m very much of the mindset that you only get one chance in life and it’s better to have tried and failed then never tried at all. Also, remember that starting something from scratch takes time, and be patient with yourself (I try to remind myself of this on a daily basis!).
Shop Mary’s wonderful woven wall tapestries.
Do you have a favourite spot or fun playlist to listen to when weaving? I love weaving in my shed at the bottom of our garden – it’s my little haven. I listen to all sorts when I’m weaving but there’s always a bit of folk in my playlist, I’m a huge Joni Mitchell fan!
What is your favourite material to weave with and why? I use all sorts of materials to weave with but I especially love weaving with small batch hand spun wool (I love finding bits of seed and grass in the wool!) and ethically produced cotton and linen because they create the most beautiful organic texture when woven. I also really like supporting small businesses and using yarn which has a story.
Weaving is already so relaxing and meditative, but you must still need to ’switch off’. Do you have a relaxation routine or a guilty pleasure Netflix series. I love a long hot bath with essential oils! And I always have a TV series on the go – at the moment my husband and I are watching Mindhunters. I love a crime drama!
To find out more about Mary and discover the joys of weaving first hand at one of her weaving workshops.
Don’t forget to check out Mary’s wonderful woven wall tapestries.