Blog, Members

Susan Holton - Contemporary hand-dyed knitwear and accessories

Starting out

Sue began her career with a degree in Graphic Design. She worked as a corporate graphic designer in design consultancies in London for many years, and eventually started her own design business. She commuted to and from her job by train and, being a fast reader, got through a lot of books, so eventually she decided to knit on the train instead. No-one in her family knitted, they sewed, so she had to buy a ‘how to knit’ book, some knitting needles and yarn, and went on from there.

Sue loved hand knitting and still does, but during this time she found an old knitting machine for 50p in a jumble sale. Sadly, she never could get that machine to work but it had a wonderful pattern booklet with it, which inspired her to go out and buy a brand-new knitting machine. Sue still remembers opening the box and seeing this highly complex tool inside, and thinking ‘I'll never be able to make this work’. However, she taught herself to knit not just with that machine but several others, and once she discovered the amazing creative possibilities in domestic hand-powered knitting machines, she was totally hooked.

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Sue loves to explore colour, texture, fibre, and fabric in different stitch and yarn mixes in her knitting, to achieve the drape, style and ‘feel’ she is looking for. Many of her pieces exploit random textures and stitches, so that often no two of her garments are ever quite alike. She also hand-dyes and hand-paints many of her pieces. She takes a long time over each piece, and takes pride in crafting her knitwear with meticulous attention to design and detail, producing a high-quality finish.

Her aim is to make beautiful wearable knitwear which will fit and flatter women of all ages, shapes and sizes. She enjoys seeing wild and wacky knitted textiles but that’s not what she wants to make. Her challenge is to make beautiful and interesting pieces which are also totally wearable.

Achievements

Susan was delighted to be selected as a member of Surrey Guild of Craftsmen in 2004. It was a real boost to her confidence that fellow designer-makers and craftspeople - local and national – show that they value and support her work in this way.

Commissions

Susan frequently works to commission, which involves creating many of her garment styles in a wide range of sizes. She gets great satisfaction in creating a garment such as her swing hem tunic (in a recent example), in a size XXL. Seeing the client looking and feeling so good in her bespoke knitted tunic makes it totally worthwhile for her.

Website:   www.susanholtonknitwear.com

Email:       susanholtonknitwear@btinternet.com

 

This is an occasional blog for the Surrey Guild of Craftsmen by Camilla Whybrow, Jewellery maker and Surrey Guild of Craftsmen member.

Blog, Members

Ruth Winchester - Polymer clay jewellery/tableware designer

Starting out

A few years ago, Ruth randomly bought some packs of Fimo clay to make some little model animals with her children. The packs sat around unopened for several months, until a friend gave her a bead-making tutorial torn from a craft magazine. The technique was for really basic beads - just simple spirals - but she was so thrilled with them that she became completely hooked.

She later discovered that the technique in that tutorial was the most basic clay version of 'millefiori' which is a glass working technique used to create beautiful patterned beads since the 6th Century. A brilliant book on polymer clay millefiori by Donna Kato offered some more interesting techniques. After making a few bangles, she sold enough to her friends to try a craft fair at the end of 2014, and DoodlePippin was born.

The name DoodlePippin is a combination of her mother’s pet name for her as a child (Roodlepippin), and her dog Woody - a big shaggy blonde Labradoodle.

Projects/Achievements

Since starting DoodlePippin Ruth has undertaken many projects using polymerclay in a variety of forms, and says she “always seems to be halfway up some sort of steep learning curve!” She was delighted to be accepted by the Surrey Guild of Craftsmen in 2016, was featured in a "Designer Profile" in Making Jewellery magazine in February 2017 and had her first tutorial for the magazine in the same month. 

She started teaching in 2015, and has run many courses and workshops, as well as doing demos at the bi-monthly London Polymer Clay Group meetings. Ruth is currently learning silversmithing, and has registered her hallmark, as well as working out how to print her designs onto fabric and mugs using dye sublimation. She has also had to learn how to build a website for herself, and has since created sites for many other makers and craftspeople.

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Commissions

Ruth has completed lots of commissions (“too many to count!”), including several sets of handles for new kitchens, and a similar project for a new master bedroom. She has also made bespoke colour-matched jewellery for a wedding, many sets of bespoke tableware for weddings and anniversaries including salad servers, cake slices, and sets of forks. Her favourite commission are bespoke bangles combining both silver and polymer.

She is now working on printing ceramic tiles, fabric and clothing using her millefiori designs.

Website:   www.doodlepippin.co.uk

Email:       ruth@doodlepippin.co.uk

 

This is an occasional blog for the Surrey Guild of Craftsmen by Camilla Whybrow, Jewellery maker and Surrey Guild of Craftsmen member.