Well I don’t know about you, but it feels like the month of gourds and ghouls has crept up rather quickly this year! I am now firmly ensconced under my blanket as the temperatures have really started to drop. So why not grab your cosiest blanket too and venture with me once again as we discover more glorious needlecraft on Etsy. Today’s superbly talented stitcher is Kate Gwilliam whose shop ‘Embroidery by KGDesign’ is stuffed with goodies!
Kate is an embroidery designer and maker based in Hertfordshire, who graduated from Falmouth University with a degree in Textile Design and has been focused on embroidery design and its possibilities ever since. Having worked briefly in the industry, she became a freelance designer working for an embellishment and embroidery studio creating samples, which she still continues to do. Kate has worked at Alexander McQueen, Peter Pilotto, Jenny King and Cathryn Alison as a freelance embroiderer. Over the past 2 years she has focused much more on her own brand to create contemporary embroidered decorative ornaments, fashion accessories and embellished vintage pieces.
What is your earliest stitching memory?
I can’t actually remember a time before stitching, I know that I did some stitching (with a lot of help) at playgroup when I was 4. The piece I still have was created in primary school, a cross stitched needle case, which has more of the Aida showing than stitches, but there are a few cross stitches and running stitches on there.
What fires your imagination?
I’m a bit of a magpie really, although I’m not limited to collecting only shiny things. I love collecting old books with good illustrations in them, I have a lot of flower books, and a few Edwardian flower magazines and I look through those a lot, then that will all feel too serious for one day and I’ll think to myself a sequinned Lobster would look amazing and I can call him Larry, and he will love a sparkly gin bottle so I must make that too! Then obviously that will lead to other things stitched in sequins. With my clothing and patches, it’s all just based on what I would like in a patch, what I find, fun or beautiful, or what happens to be on my desk that day, which was how the safety pin patch was created. When designing what I will embroider on to the vintage clothing, I usually buy it before I know what I want to do with it, I spend a long time looking at it and then, suddenly it will just appear. The Carnation work shirt is an example of that, there is a slightly different fabric in the bib section that looked perfect to highlight, while also keeping a frame for the embroidery. Carnations and rope motifs have been with me from the start of the vintage clothing and patch making, I love looking at flower meanings and the rope embroidery came from wanting to put tassels all over a shirt and giving them a motif to naturally come out of. I suspect this isn’t really ‘the correct way’ to run a brand, but I think overall there is an aesthetic of beautiful things that are stitched and a sense of joy and fun in all of them, to me if you like a sequinned gin bottle, a lobster called Larry you’ll probably like the other things I do too!
Kate’s work is stunning, stitched with such fine precision and exquisite detail it’s a joy to behold. Like she mentioned in her answer above, you do really get a sense of joy and fun in all of her work so why not treat yourself to even more of it by visiting her shop!
Jessica Taylor aka Loadofolbobbins is a Textile Artist and Illustrator based by the sea in Portsmouth. At her happiest with a needle and thread, with a passion for genealogy she often explores old photographs in her textile art. With her fingers in many creative pies she loves to experiment with new techniques, creating illustrated and stitched goodies for her Etsy shop.