I’m Carolyn of Carolyn Trafford Art, a designer maker based in Leek, in the Staffordshire Moorlands and my work is heavily inspired by this area and other gorgeous places in the UK. I have stitched virtually all my life, having learned basic embroidery from my Mum whilst still at primary school. Photography took over my life in my 20s and has been a focus of my work since then. I have recently returned to stitch as part of my degree course, graduating in 2019.
My work is predominantly textile based using a range of techniques such as free motion embroidery, hand embroidery, printing techniques, dying and appliqué. There are so many different textures and patterns achievable with textiles making a more versatile medium than paint.
I also make fine silver jewellery using pure silver. I use the textures and patterns captured in my photographs as the basis for many of the designs. Other pieces me be imprints of nature, examples are the replica leaves formed on real leaves or moulds taken from shells, both collected on my nature walks. The leaves burn away during the firing process making each one unique – just as nature intended.
With a camera always to hand, everything I create or design is inspired by my photography.
How to Buy My Work
Before COVID I sold my work through local artisan markets, and open studio events. At the moment I am limited to online sales and have a small shop at :https://carolyntraffordart.ecwid.com/ I hope to return to the Sunday Supplement market in Leek with my jewellery as soon as regulations allow.
My online shop (https://carolyntraffordart.ecwid.com/) also features my illustrated greetings cards. I am a supporter of the #justacard campaign, which works on the basis that if everyone who liked an artist’s work, purchased just a card, then the volume of cards sold makes a difference to an artist’s survival. So please take a look. Each one is carefully printed at home on linen textured card.
I am open to doing commissions too. I completed a commission recently for someone whose mum used to live locally and has relocated to Spain. She wanted a special piece of jewellery to remind her mum of her childhood home near Cheddleton Heath. I really loved wandering the heath to find exactly the right Blackberry leaf for her. She loved the result. Please contact me via my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CarolynTraffordArt/, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Famous Artists Who Have Influenced My Work
I like to look wider than textile artists for my influences. I adore the textural elements of the work of painter, Kurt Jackson. Much of my photographic work captures the close up details of nature or architecture and decay in the landscape, which I then interpret into stitch.
On a similar vane, I love the work of Gormley, especially the Angel of the North and the ‘Another Place’ statues at Crosby. The aspect that interested me the most is observing the unique characteristics, decay, corrosion, seaweed, lichens and barnacles, as the tide gradually returns each statue to nature.
My favourite textile artist is Susan Hotchkis. I stumbled across her work when researching for my “A Stitch In Time – decay at Spodeworks” project for my degree. I was manipulating close up photographs of peeling paint for printing onto fabric and stitching and became captivated by a piece of work entitled “Verdigris”. Hotchkis had perfectly captured the sense of decay I was looking for.
I have also been heavily influenced by textile artists Cas Holmes, Helen Parrott, Debbie Lyddon and Shelly Rhodes all of whom work in very different ways, but often use found objects or natural elements in their work.
I dream of working from a studio in my garden; however, circumstances dictate that I work between my dining room and my kitchen. I therefore work with a minimal amount of tools. Fortunately, my silver work requires small detailing tools not lump hammers!
For stitching, I print collographs onto fabric using a fold up craft press, and have a domestic sewing machine free motion embroidery and a range of hoops for hand embroidery. Fabrics, wool, embroidery silks, inks are all stashed in whatever cupboard I can find space.
My one luxury item is a 4-shaft tabletop loom that I was gifted. It folds flat, is still quite chunky to store and takes up a small dining room table when in use. I want to spend more time weaving, but have so many other projects to finish.
Leek Open Studios and Art Trail
In 2016 I joined Leek School of Art on their foundation degree course and loved every minute. The college is supportive of its students and opens up its studio space for me and other current or alumni students to help us demonstrate our work as part of Leek Open Studios. It is not a sales event but an amazing opportunity to discuss the creative processes behind my work. I quickly got involved with the planning team – many hands make light work and without such volunteers, this type of event in Leek would not go ahead.