Hello my fellow needle craft enthusiasts, I’m sure like me one of the reasons you enjoy putting needle to fabric is just how relaxing it can be. I often find myself reaching a kind of zen-like state, that is when I’m not accidentally stabbing my finger! I also love a good dose of humour and I’m very happy to report that so does the maker I’m featuring today. The cross stitch designs of Clair, from ‘Iris Loves UK’, are guaranteed to give you a good chuckle and who doesn’t need one of those!
Clair has always loved all things arty and crafty and is lucky to have four children who she can share her love of this with. ‘My husband though is still getting used to my passion even after 16 years, but has accepted that our house will be full of part-made pom pom rugs and random ideas that I come out with.’ Between her children and a menagerie of pets there’s always something going on. For 14 years Clair ran her own photographic business, but then two and a half years ago her life was turned upside down by the sudden loss of her mum ‘my rock’. With a newborn baby at the time she made the difficult decision to stop working on her photographic business. Still desperate to work for herself and provide an outlet for her creativity, she created ‘Iris Loves’, named after her first daughter. At first she concentrated on prints and personalised pictures, but soon had a real hankering to design and produce her own cross stitch kits. ‘I was clear from the start that these kits should, like me, be a bit different and stand out from norm, after all where’s fun in being normal?’. Like all new businesses it took time to get going but thanks to friends and social media she received her first orders and it’s built from there. ‘I am still gobsmacked though when I get international orders, from the US or Australia! I love the fact that I can run ‘Iris Loves’ in my pjs on the sofa with a cuppa whilst also playing forts with my toddler.’
What is your earliest stitching memory?
My memory is quite shocking, but I can remember when I was about 13 standing in a craft shop looking at the cross stitch kits and begging my mum to get me one. I was hooked from there…. over the years I have completed many kits but I never seem to put them up as they just aren’t really my style. I remember saying to my husband that one day I would design my own and have a wall full of my work.
What fires your imagination?
Life inspires me, conversations with friends and my children. I like my prints and kits to be the unsaid voice that people can’t or don’t want to admit too. It allows me to truly express my inner silly child, that as a mum is hard to really show without being judged as a fruit loop. Looking forward, I’m excited about my new projects. I’m planning some ‘big stitches’ using wool and maybe even T-shirt yarn with a retro feel. I would also like to build on my Etsy shop and have my own website… now just to find a spare five minutes….
I love Clair’s sense of humour, her designs really do put a smile on my face and I hope they do you too! Why not pop along to her shop to see more and maybe even treat yourself to a new kit!
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.