Kirsten Roe is a textile designer and maker with a focus on creating embellished womenswear pieces. I came across Kirsten’s designs at the DIY Art Market in Hackney a few months ago. One Soft Hand synonymously sums up her designs but with an added surface of texture and sparkle.
How did you get into textiles?
I first got into textiles during my studies at The National College of Art and Design in Dublin. After my foundation year I chose to specialise in Textile Art and Artefact. This let me explore my work through a range of techniques. I incorporated a lot of embroidery and embellishment into my work during my studies.
What materials do you use to make your hands?
For most of my hands I use lycra and felt. Sometimes I use scuba, but I find it hard to get the colours I want. Other than that it’s just stuffing and beads.
What made you decide to start working on hands?
For my final project at university it was required that we make a set to display our pieces on for the graduate exhibition. As I had been focusing on themes of protection and charms, I chose to make stuffed and beaded long arms that would reach up towards the garments I had suspended. Ever since then I have been making hands!
What other things do you apply your textiles on?
During my studies I worked a lot with clothing and wearables, but now I think it could be fun to do interiors. I am trying to gravitate more towards functional, fun soft furnishings as opposed to just art works.
When did you start your Etsy shop and did you struggle with pricing?
I created my Etsy shop about a year and a half ago, but only really started filling it with products last summer. I did find pricing hard as when someone sees your product in a shop or at a market, they are likely to pay a different price than if seeing the same item online. I am definitely guilty when it comes to abandoning my Etsy! I always prefer selling at markets and meeting the customers, it’s really rewarding.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to start a business out of their textiles?
I think what helped me was trying to give your textiles a function. Giving your work a selling point will make it easier for the general public to digest it, and in turn want to buy it! I am still learning when it comes to this. But I think when people can see how this product can fit into their lives, they’ll be more inclined to purchase.
Do you work full time with One Soft Hand, if not what else do you do?
At the moment I work very part time at One Soft Hand. I work full time at a fashion design studio so most of my time and energy is taken up by that. I still spend my days off working on the hands and prepping for the next upcoming market. I will be selling at the DIY Art Market in Brighton on April 30th.
Who would you like to collaborate with and why?
Recently I’ve been thinking it would be fun to collaborate with Tiger stores. I’ve seen them collab with artists before and I loved the results. Other than that, I love the work of Becky and Joe of Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared. I’d love to work with them on something.
Do you have any interesting textiles books?
I really like the Chinese Textiles book by the V&A.
What are your goals for 2017?
I would love to have a some permanent stockists and be working full time on my own projects by Christmas!