76 x 86 cms
Margo Selby has a successful woven design company specialising in interiors, but she still finds time to create her woven art pieces which are a beautiful balance of colour and proportion.
When did your passion for textiles begin?
I’ve always enjoyed making things from a young age. Making things was a tradition for the women in my family. My Great Grandmother studied at the Royal College of Needlework, and my Granny was always crocheting so I learned to crochet, knitting and cross stitch. It wasn’t until art college I realised you could do textiles as a career. I did an Applied Textile Degree at Chelsea College of Art and Design and this was the first time I used a proper hand loom. I loved the technical possibilities of weaving and pushing the boundaries. I liked understanding the process and went on to do an MA at The Royal College of Art where I developed my own design style and understood the applications more. Almost as soon as I graduated I was one of three graduates chosen to do a two-year fellowship for the Ann Sutton Foundation. As well as working on outreach and technical projects I could develop my own work and it was a wonderful and safe starting point.
How did your company evolve and why do you carry on with your art?
I love making special woven fabrics and over the years I have found a market for them. Primarily I focused on interiors and fashion but business perspective made me focus on one so I chose interiors as it has more longevity. I spent six to seven years studying, hand weaving and exploring, then the next eight years I became very wrapped up in the business and marketing side of the company, but I felt I lost something of myself. I’d go back to the loom to design and really missed the challenge of creating something outside the boundaries. I find it really invigorating and inspiring that a beautiful piece of fabric can be an art form. Putting it behind glass preserves it and helps create impact.
Are your art pieces one offs?
Each piece is not exactly the same. They are similar but I always change something small. The names of the pieces are two numbers, the first number is the number of the series the second number is the number of the piece in that series.
How and where do you work?
I have a studio and office in Whitstable, Kent. I do lots of wrappings to explore different yarn and colour combinations. I have a graph paper sketch book to find out what is achievable and I also work on a computer doing quick colour blocking and layout ideas.
What is your inspiration?
I have very eclectic inspiration. I like painters including Paul Klee and Joseph Albers and I’m influenced heavily by indigenous textiles from around the world. I look at all of the different hand weaving and give it a modern twist.
What are you most proud of so far?
I’m proud to have made it work. It took 10 years but I now have a business that derives from hand weaving and can employ hand weavers. Some projects can employ weavers in villages worldwide.
Do you have any advice of people wanting to do textile artist?
Keep making. Constantly keep making, improving and developing your work. Preserve, present and archive it thoughtfully. When you write about it put as much thought into that as making it. Beautiful work needs to be respected.
Margo Selby Studio