Welcome to the Atelier
A natural start to this blog has to be to invite you into my atelier. For you to see the humble haven in which I produce your clothes. My home away from home. I cocoon myself in a 12ft x 10ft creative space, flooded with light from my church window. Welcome to Studio 20.
Leasing the space was one of the first hurdles I crossed on my return to Wales. I have worked in this studio since January, developing a client base through my freelance work and laying the foundations to Xandra Jane.
I remember sitting on my lunch breaks in London googling creative spaces in and around Cardiff before I stumbled upon Inkspot. On the ground floor they used to have an art shop however they have recently refurbished this into an open exhibition space – a week ago they were generous enough to allow me to host my launch night for the debut collection ZERO. It was a challenge filling an entire church floor with a capsule collection of three garments.
The atelier serves me the perfect amount of space. In one corner I have nestled a storage shelf, adorned with organised chaos. It is here I keep my filing for accounts, invoices and old portfolios of work above a row of reference books, my overlocker and two boxes of scrap fabric squeezed into the bottom. The fabrics will be used over time to release unique one off garments from perfect cloth that would otherwise be discarded. I haven’t yet thought of a name for this collection idea.
To the right of this shelf I have my rolls of fabric and pattern paper, supported by an ever increasing tower of boxes which are home to various essentials such as my patterns and creative stationary for those sketchbook days. I also have a box full of garments that have either ripped or are just a bit unloved which have an amazing fit or design detail. With these I copy the pattern of the garment and store it away as archive.
I once cartwheeled down a flight of wooden stairs on a night out in a silk jumpsuit. I caught myself on the bannister and ripped the whole thing from head to toe, luckily I had a jacket to tie around my waist in order to keep my dignity and carried on with the night. It’s garments like these which I loved and plan to make again in the future that find their way into this little plastic home.
For those of you who are interested, my sewing machine is a Brother-SL-1110-3 and I was fortunate enough to get it in my final year of university. I’m quite sure I bought it off eBay and the company who delivered it were fantastic, set it up in a matter of moments and were on their way. I will try and leave a link to them at the bottom.
Moving to the right of this attempt at having an organised area, you will find my little corner in which I am typing this. I have the natural light from dawn til dusk and I’m never without my multitude of notebooks which take my list scrawling on a daily basis.
You can see to the right wall I also have a sophisticated weekly “planner” comprising of masking tape and paper squares. I don’t work to weekends and I often forget the existence of bank holidays, so the wall is a continuous seven day loop of to-do’s.
Coming full circle you’re greeted with my pattern cutting table to the centre of the room overlooked by my library of block patterns. I’m on my feet for 90% of my day pattern cutting and constructing the latest piece in a collection or the most recent project for a freelance client. My Dad resourcefully attached some wooden blocks to the legs of the table so my back pain wouldn’t be so bad, the amazing help of parents!
Finally, as we close the door on your visit, you will always be able to see a selection of sketchbook work for the upcoming collection. Here, you can see my SS17 development in preparation for release March 2017. With zero waste at the forefront of the debut AW collection, you can expect up cycled and recycled luxury for the coming pieces, including an exciting accessory range and unique one off garments.
And on that note – I’m off to make your clothes.