Embroidery by Ellie

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Ellie MacDonald is an embroidery designer from Brighton

How did you get into embroidery?
I specifically started working with embroidery when I met Jenny King about 10 years ago. Jenny specialises in the freehand ‘Irish’ Singer, this kind of embroidery really appealed to me because of the speed and flexibility of the machine. 

What other textiles have you explored?
I’ve always worked in a creative way. I grew up around and worked with vintage clothes. I’m also trained in leatherwork, specialising in fashion accessories at Cordwainers. Leatherwork is something I would love to get back into at some stage; I’m slightly intimidated by the size and amount of machinery that’s normally used. It’s something I would like to invest in. 

Where do you get your inspiration from?

A lot of my inspiration comes from vintage clothing and textiles; the first place I normally head is to my mum’s house. She’s been in the business for 40 years and always has something interesting to show me! I love looking at old things and recreating them in a modern way.  I’m particularly interested in creating texture in my embroidery so I find things like weaving and even sculpture inspiring. 

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Which do you prefer, hand or machine embroidery?

I don’t hand embroider at all – I wouldn’t be an embroiderer if I had to hand embroider, I’m too impatient! I like the fact I can have an idea and get it done in a few hours.

Who are your favourite fashion designers in terms of a textiles focus?

I wouldn’t say I have a particular favourite, I’m more inclined to say I have favourite shows but Christopher Kane and Delpozo always inspire me.  I also love Molly Goddard’s pleating and Simone Rocha’s embellishment. 

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What do you listen to when you’re creating?

Mostly Radio 6, FIP radio, Solid Steel podcasts, Intergalactic FM … I’ve got a bit everything on my laptop but it’s totally disorganised. One of those jobs I’ve never get round to doing! 

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Dream collaboration?

I think doing something within the music field would be amazing, when people are on stage you can make their outfits exciting as the embroidery can be bigger and bolder. Prince would’ve been the ultimate dream person to work with. Collaborating with an artist would be great too, not sure who though, need to keep researching that one! 

Future goals?

Carry on working collaboratively with Amelia Graham for our joint venture EvA Bespoke, we are interested in experimenting further by pushing our work on a larger scale. I also have a new collaboration with a highly skilled hand embroider ‘ Luna Bea Bride’ she specialises in bridal headpieces; I’m very excited to work on her second collection.

What books would you recommend for textiles lovers?

Book wise I have very few ‘textiles’ books but I love ‘The Art of Manipulating Fabric’ by Colette Wolff. 
At the moment I’m reading ‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert . I’ve only just started it but it’s meant to good. Its focus is about living a creative life without fear! 

You can see more of Ellie’s stunning work here.

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