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Designer of the Week: Claire Wellesley-Smith

Eco Fashion Talk
Claire Wellesley-Smith is a textile artist, educator and writer based in Bradford, West Yorkshire. Specializing in using local, natural color, created from homegrown and locally foraged plants, Claire’s work is at once meditative and detailed.
Designer of the Week: Claire Wellesley-Smith
Claire Wellesley-Smith is a textile artist, educator and writer based in Bradford, West Yorkshire. Specializing in using local, natural color, created from homegrown and locally foraged plants, Claire’s work is at once meditative and detailed. Working with dyes and stitches on reclaimed materials, slow processes allow for consideration of methods, as well as narratives of use. With archival research as the starting point for her work, Claire references locations and community stories, using cloth, dye and stitch as carriers of the natural and social history of place.



Taking inspiration from textile traditions such as American quilting and patchwork, Kantha quilts, darning and Japanese Boro, Claire Wellesley-Smith repurposes old textiles, re-piecing fabrics and building texture through stitching. Dying both thread and fabric with local leaves and plants, color stories are harmonious, as well as reminiscent of the local environment. Repetitive stitches create a rhythm, and thoughtful approach to textile practice, accented by ethereal and poetic, and dark and moody tonal combinations.



Projects are often community based, exploring notions of place, heritage and memory as a means of connecting people to their surrounding environment. Running a series of workshops from her home studio, Claire provides an opportunity for small groups to stitch and talk. She also delivers workshops and talks to a range of educational institutes from schools to colleges and textile groups. Focusing on issues connected to sustainability and well-being, Claire’s natural color and stitching workshops explore the relationship between craft, social history and the natural environment. Offering one, two and five day workshops that cover mordant printing, slow stitch, and natural dying, Claire’s teaching practice has been rated as outstanding by OFSTED.


Participating in a number of exhibitions, art projects and gallery presentations, Claire has exhibited in group shows, as well as undertaken long-term projects. Her ‘seed to fabric’ project, takes participants from dye plant plots, through the ‘whole process’ method of working with natural materials. Her book Slow Stitch published by Batsford, is a sensitive overview of mindful and contemplative textile art.

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Eco Fashion Talk
Contributor at Le Souk
Eco Fashion Talk tells the stories of our material connection to our world through cutting edge design. The website features thousands of designer from around the world, each one making a difference in our industry and in the world, through conscious design. The designers featured produce ethical, sustainable, Fair Trade, and upcycled fashion. This is not your average ethical fashion website, the focus is on great design, sophisticated, raw, naïve, artisanal and slow fashion; designers challenging the system in every way, and doing it in style. The resources include designer overviews, featured books, videos, websites, Webzines and articles, and a newsletter that highlights the best of the weeks postings. www.ecofashiontalk.com

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