Welcome back to another Goldworx! I took an unintentional blog break last month, super exciting projects and a pesky cold scuppered writing plans a little. But, I’m back and I have a corker of an artist to share with you today, so here we go.
It happens to be Halloween as I’m writing this, which is quite apt as my artist this month, the lovely Rie Wenham, is known for her beautiful goldwork spiders.
Rie is a London based embroiderer, who freelances in fashion and costume as well as running her own embroidery business where she takes on commissions and creates her own one-of-a-kind brooches, pins and patches. She works from her bedroom at home which she says “is not ideal but it works well. I would love to write that I had an entire room dedicated to embroidery but in London that just isn’t possible, every inch of space is precious and is used.”
She originally wanted to be an illustrator but after being shown how to do free-motion machine embroidery to enhance her illustrations, she’s been hooked on embroidery ever since. This led to her training at the Royal School of Needlework (which is where I first met Rie) and seven years on she’s still embroidering and loving every moment.
Rie’s approach to embroidery is the more colour the better, she says; “it completely drives me when Im working, I simply could never get interested in something that was purely black and white. I have an ornate theme that runs throughout all my work, I like very detailed, textural and colourful aspects to always shine. I use goldwork and crewelwork embroidery techniques to bring all these aspects together!”
Rie loves to take inspiration from the colour combinations she sees in her hometown of London, being inspired by the diverse styles and fashions. She also draws a lot of inspiration from the V&A museum and their vast galleries of historical fashion, jewellery and paintings.
On the freelance life Rie says: “Its a hectic life, no week or month is the same. I live my life from commission to commission, so instead of seeing the months as my guideline for time, I see it in commissions. It will be like ‘oh I remember now, that was the fairy month’ as my reference to life”. But although its hectic, she loves it.
Currently she is working with jewellery designer Katherine James on a collaboration due to be launched in April. “Its a big commission which has me very excited as I just love to stitch day in and day out, so a long commission like this make me very happy! Thinking of all the days ahead in my studio with Harry Potter on repeat in the background and a pot of fresh coffee makes me buzz with excitement.” She is also still working on private commissions, her latest one has been an African Painted Dog all stitched in different shades of goldwork.
I’ll be back next month with more Goldworx!
Hattie McGill is a hand embroidery artist based in Buckinghamshire. She creates three dimensional interior pieces and fashion accessories and specialises in the embroidery techniques of stumpwork and goldwork. She also is a freelance embroiderer for film, costume and fashion.