Please join us in welcoming the distinguished weaver and “Leading Lady of Whimsical Yarns” (because yes, that is an official title now): Sophie of Wallflower Weavings! Sophie has been a long-time member of our FibreShare Tribe, and her personal style has inspired + influenced countless fibre artists around the globe. Her work is bold yet feminine with an underlying aura of childhood magic.
In short, we are thrilled to have her on the blog today, and to catch a view of her wonderland weaving space! Please read on for an exclusive interview with Sophie, and then be SURE to follow her on Instagram and on Etsy. She’s a rising star you don’t want to miss.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you ended up in Fiber-Arts.
I’ve been weaving since 2014 after seeing a piece of woven wall art online and wondering ‘how did they do that?’. At this point, there weren’t many learning resources specific to the new weaving movement, and I lived abroad in Holland at the time so found it hard to find local information, but still I managed to throw together a loom made of a picture frame and nails, and got to work on my first piece. I was instantly hooked, even if I was making it all up myself – it took a lot of trial and error for the first few weeks.
With a school background in Textiles studies but no real knowledge about fibre and yarn, I began with the cheapest materials I could find, but as I began to meet other makers on Instagram, the fibre world opened up. I learned so much from these lovely weavers, spinners and dyers. My interest in fibre and weaving progressed rapidly to what it is now, where I have developed spinning and dyeing skills. I now base my work on a love of anything natural, wooly, ethical, organic, botanically dyed, hand spun and full of beautiful textures and colours.
Give us a brief history of your workspace/studio and how it has evolved over time.
In Holland, I lived in a rooftop apartment with very limited space to store my yarn and equipment, and there was so much more that I wanted to invest in and learn about. So, returning home to England, I sourced my spinning wheel right away and transformed my space into a mini studio, foregoing wardrobes and drawers for the far more important yarn storage! I gradually surrounded myself with beautiful artwork and materials from fellow makers to inspire creativity and create a calming, art-filled area to weave and spin in. I introduced calmer tones to the decor and de-cluttered, to make the whole process feel more relaxing and open.
Can you give us a glimpse into a typical day in your studio?
I surround myself with the necessities – coffee, cats, comfy clothes, Netflix/Spotify and get to work on my current project! As I have a few different interests in fibre arts, between weaving, spinning and dyeing, I follow what my creative instincts are telling me to make that day. Sometimes it’s all about washing raw fleece outside on a sunny day, spinning for a whole afternoon, getting some Etsy admin done, or of course sitting at the loom for hours on end until I realise it’s 1am and my back is aching. But I’ve got that finished piece in front of me so it’s all worth it!
Name a tool you cannot live without and why.
I don’t have many looms, but the ones I do have are like a lifeline! My first loom purchase after making my own was from Loom and Spindle in Australia. I use this the most, it’s so simple and lightweight and fast to warp. My second is from the wonderful Funem Studio. I needed to create larger pieces and I loved that it was on a stand with a rotating heddle. It’s a real beauty and affordable too! They also supply great tools such as their tapestry needles which are a game changer.
Is there a piece of equipment or fiber you own that is special to you? Can you tell us the story of how you acquired it?
My spinning wheel is such a treasure to me – it’s an antique Ashford Traditional refurbished by a lovely couple in South Wales at Thomas Wood and Wool Co. They teach spinning classes when you buy a wheel from them and serve you tea and homemade Welsh cakes in a thatched roof cottage with chickens roaming around outside. It doesn’t get more idyllic! I have saved my very first handspun yarn from this session which I keep in a little box full of sentimental items. It also contains lovely letters and business cards from fellow makers and other bits and bobs!
Can you give us a glimpse into your storage situation?
My finished weavings simply hang up in the same space I work in, and I rotate which ‘Wallflower’ is on display on my gallery wall to change things up and remind myself of past pieces for inspiration. I have so much yarn and wool everywhere, and random bits of equipment from Lazy Kates to looms, and tiny scissors to needles – all very awkwardly shaped items.Woven baskets have been great for storing spinning supplies and fibre, plus they look pretty! As for my yarn – it lives in giant drawers under my bed, and I weave at a desk with drawers where I store my ‘yarnicorn’ stash – all my favourite skeins and windings of special yarns in tiny balls. My current project yarns live in a copper basket, easily accessible. The materials involved in all of this are the result of time, talent and imagination from makers all around the world, so I try not to waste a thing, re-purposing scraps into pom poms or re-using them in future pieces.