Louise Mills is a talented textile designer and hand weaver from Glasgow, Scotland. I came across her beautiful textiles on Pinterest, and she was kind enough to agree to an interview. I hope that you enjoy learning more about Louise as much as I have.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your work:
I graduated from the Glasgow School of Art in June 2007 (I studied in the building which faced the main famous Charles Rennie MacKintosh building - very inspiring)! I specialized in hand woven textiles and gained an Honors Degree. Since graduating I got married in 2009 and live with my very supportive husband, freelancing from home. I have a small studio set up in my kitchen and boxes of yarns and thread stored all over our flat! I am a traditionalist and my passion is hand making. My whole process - designing, collaging, drawing, weaving samples and final pieces are all done by hand. I work mostly with fine silk which makes my pieces very delicate and slower to weave, in this fast paced, hectic, convenience filled world we live in I can step away from it all to my own weaving retreat! It can get quite stressful when I have a deadline fast approaching. Since I graduated I have continued to freelance and have sold samples to Gap Baby and Kids, Victoria's Secret, Banana Republic and Ann Taylor Loft. I have also completed a few private commissions. I enjoy the variety of requests.
For the full interview, as well as a sneak peek at her process, read the full post after the jump.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Inspiration is everywhere! I carry a notebook in my handbag and scribble ideas when they come to me when I am out and about. I LOVE to travel (in April/May my husband and I are jetting off to Malaysia, Borneo and Indonesia for a month, we are going diving for the first time - I can't wait to collect new inspiration especially from the sea)!! I take much inspiration from foreign surroundings; I am particularly drawn to finding patterns in architecture, tiles, mosaics, unusual colour combinations, nature, markets, and other hand made art. I love to paint and draw and work out ideas this way, the translation of a loose, sketchy drawing to a perfectly ordered woven design is really exciting! When I weave I like to play with the repetitive woven structure by randomly breaking the pattern with a flash of neon yarn or intentionally missing out a motif! Also, I have amazing family and friends around me who inspire, support and encourage me!
How do you stay creative?
I have struggled with this from time to time. I am learning to find the right balance, to prioritize time to be creative with everything else in life. I am a creative person, its a big part of me, when I am not making, I am thinking about it, reading and writing about it, collecting inspiration. Music is a massive part of my life; it is never off when I am weaving. Cooking, exercising, live music gigs and good conversation help to both clear my mind and fill it with ideas! Browsing books, magazines, blogs and websites are both useful and distracting! Again this is the balance I am working on!
What advice would you give to other artists and designers?
Work hard, stay focused, do what comes naturally and that old cliché - follow your dreams and do what makes YOU happy. It is easy to get distracted with what others are doing and compare yourself - especially with the abundance of amazing talent on the internet. But creative work comes from within and you have to express what is inside of you. Find your own way of working, don't be scared to ask questions and contact those who inspire you (if possible) believe in yourself and what you are making - Don't give up!!
Do you have a 'day' job?
Yes, (around 38hrs a week) I am a support worker with adults with a learning disability. I support them with a wide variety of everyday life tasks.
What are your goals this year?
I am currently having a break from weaving; I am spending the time reassessing my goals. But I have plans to gather lots of new inspiration from our trip to Asia to create new designs to develop my own range of products and samples. I wish to set up an Etsy shop. I have a couple of collaborations coming up too and the craft fair/market community is really great in Glasgow I'd like to get more involved in that! To be happy and healthy!