29 2 / 2012

Katherine May

Katherine May is a textile designer-maker based in London.

"My concerns for textile waste and fast fashion has taken me on a journey of patchwork and quilt making - it’s thrifty techniques and it’s history of collective making."

text/image via Quilting: How to get started, The Telegraph:

Quilts do not have to conform to stereotypical images of faded florals suited to traditional country cottages. The contemporary 27-year-old textile designer Katherine May is creating four quilts for the Liberty show that turn most preconceptions upside down. Perhaps the most unusual is her quilt made from Barbie Doll and Action Man clothes, stitched together in a bold, free-form design with strong colours and an array of different materials. She collected hundreds of items of dolls’ clothing from car boot sales and eBay and created, in effect, a large collage backed with parachute material.

“I started quilting when I was 23 during the final year of my BA course at Chelsea Arts College,” Katherine says, “when I saw some beautiful, inspiring images of women quilting together in a circle.” She researched a little more and found some bold, expressive quilts, made by African-Americans in Alabama. Some had used fragments of denim work clothes, still with copper staining.

“I just loved that idea of recycling,” she says. “The many women who now come to my quilting workshops — who range from their twenties upwards — also love finding a use for those little bits of fabric you don’t want to throw away. There is a real mix of styles. A quilt is like a canvas to express yourself.”

via katherinemay.com:

The Pattern Project
January 4, 2012 / Projects

Subverting the feeling of a needle in a haystack – I locate the value in an environment full of expired meaning. A quiet action amongst the many hands and flow of conveyor belts in the textile recycling factory. I sift through the mountain, forming my own piles, finding fragments to join together with intimate hand stitches. An action that is opposite to the down grading process, of breaking down fibres to become stuffing and wipers, I deconstruct to reconstruct, through stitches, new meanings and value into the textiles. By sharing this process with others, the quiet action spreads, and becomes louder.