Shannan Grierson

Why this particular craft? Sewing’s always been a part of my life. My earliest memory of school is making a sampler in an embroidery hoop, so I can’t imagine not stitching. When I was little, I wanted to sew clothes for my dolls; in my teens it was flared jeans and short skirts; and nowadays its accessories and clothing for me, my mum and my friends.

Have you tried plenty of others? Oh yes, I’m a proper craft tart. I’ve had a go at card making, weaving, ceramics, silversmithing, beading, knitting, painting, printing, candle making, baking, um…and probably a few others I’ve forgotten about along the way.

Who are Bobbin and Fred? Bobbin and Fred are my sewing pals. Bobbin’s a vintage French knitting bobbin I found years ago at a secondhand sale, and Fred is her lovable goat sidekick. Together, we design and make needlework projects, celebrating texture, pattern and vibrant colours. They have a bit of a romance going on - Fred’s got me working on a surprise for Bobbin at the moment. I can’t tell you what, as he’s sworn me to secrecy, but I think she’s gonna love it.

Who taught you your crafting skills? My mum is very creative. When I was growing up, she sewed and embroidered, and I loved seeing and touching all the patterns and textures. Mum showed me the basics, and I taught myself from books and magazines. I studied art and textile design. Since then, I’ve gone back to teaching myself; the internet’s a great resource.

What does this craft mean to you? It means everything to me really. Sewing’s therapy, stress relief and one way I make happiness. If I’m ever feeling down or anxious, I just pick up my sewing and my troubles melt away.

From where do you draw inspiration?I’m really inspired European folk art, Indian embroidery techniques and Moroccan tiles at the moment. The bright, organic yet geometric patterns these three styles celebrate are right up my street. I also enjoy looking at clasps, buttons, ribbons and trims online and filing them away for future use. The other place I look for inspiration is in my sewing stash; I often allow what’s in there dictates my next project.

How would you describe your style? What makes it unique? Over-the-top, playful yet sophisticated…at least, that’s what I aim for. I try to use unusual colour combinations and embroidery in ways I haven’t seen it used. Each of my designs have come about because I want to experiment with a new technique, construct a new shape or practice a skill, like putting in zips or quilting.

Where do you live and work? I live in the southwest of England. I recently moved to a village that’s near the coast and surrounded by fields. It’s pretty quiet; the postman arriving is a bit of an event round here! My workspace is my bed. I do all of my designing, prep and hand sewing tucked up under my duvet.


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