Thursday, 24 November 2011

Introducing... Angela Lai Yen

This week we are delighted to tell you a bit more about Angela! We caught up with her at her studio at the Black Swan.

1) How did you learn to sew? Is it something that you've always done?
I really can't remember when I started sewing, it sounds like a cliché, but I've been sewing for as long as I can remember.  When I was little I didn't like hand-sewing as I couldn't stand the feel of felt! I do however remember doing lots of cross stitch and that was all self taught. I just muddled through it - you should have seen the backs of my stitching - it was a right old mess!

2) What is your favourite type of sewing project?
I love freehand embroidery. It's like drawing with the sewing machine. It's quite difficult to get to grips with but if you keep at it, the rewards are endless. I find I still stumble across new techniques and ways to create images. I love that you don't lose your individual style and messiness is good, as it all adds to it.

3) How did you come to work at Millie Moon? And what do you enjoy most about being part of team Millie Moon?
Becki and I we used to work together in a non-creative job. She would juggle that job with trade fairs and the beginnings of Millie Moon, whilst I would every so often dash off to do various workshops. Back then she would say to me, "So when are you going to do workshops for me". One day I pulled my finger out and the rest as they say is history. The best thing about being a part of the Millie Moon team is that because we all come from creative backgrounds, we are really supportive of each other. We bounce ideas off one another, and ideas of all sorts are continuely flowing. Becki and Rachel are great - they are not afraid to try new things and have interesting ideas of their own. They have such vision its really inspiring!

Angela runs classes to make freehand-embroidered plaques
4) What gadget or tool could you not live without for crafting?
Without a doubt it would be my silver stork scissors. They are small, sharp and really useful for snipping as you sew. Once I lost them, along with a lovely tin I had full of pins, I was devastated. Now I always store them somewhere safe.

5) Who inspires you? And why? - Tempting links ahead warning!
As well as textiles and sewing, I love printmaking and I'm forever finding new people who inspire me. At the moment I'm enjoying the work of printmaker Angie Lewin. I love the earthy colours in her work and she takes the floral theme and infuses it with a comtemporary aura. 
I also adore the intensely detailed and decorative screen prints of Clare Halifax, you have to see her work in the flesh to really appreciate it. Every so often I will wonder over the Rostra and Rooksmoor Gallery in Bath to gaze at them. Highly recommended. 
Laura Amiss is an illustrator and designer that I have newly discovered from Holland. Laura works with textiles to produce delicate handmade canvas inspired by the everyday.

Thanks so much for talking to us Angela! If you would like to see more of Angela's work, then you can visit her blog (Angela Lai Yen) or pop in to either the Frome or Wells branches of Millie Moon, and she also has a studio at The Black Swan in Frome. If you would like to try your hand at Freehand Embroidery, then Angela runs regular workshops in Frome. Do call the shop for more information, or to make a booking (01373 464650).

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