Sunday, 17 December 2017


Sitting at my computer willing the words to come to me. Paralysed by the overpowering feeling of bewilderment. Visualising my anxieties might help me put them to one side and to concentrate on my 5 impending deadlines.

Dyslexia is an issue for me now more than it ever has been. It was picked up at the start of my MA, before that i'd just thought I was slower at, well, everything. Having found school a real challenge, despite my love for English literature, I struggled and felt I was simply inadequate compared to my classmates. I always found it easier to communicate using my hands and to express myself through making. I remember that confusing mix of emotions as a child and finding the only way to work it out was to take myself off to a quiet part of the house to glue things, sew things, paint things. My decision to study textiles as a BA was, I think, down to that feeling of comfort and understanding of the tactile. Materiality. This physical connection to the subject I was learning about propelled me forward academically and I begun to feel at ease with writing and to enjoy verbalising ideas and opinions.

The thing is... the overwhelming sense of adolecent inadequacy has once again reared its ugly head as I venture into the world of academia and PhD life. In the last three months, as I get to grips with the concept of doing a practice-led PhD, I've been bombarded with a series of 5 deadlines all within two weeks of each other. What's the problem? There are a few. I've been focusing so much on these written deadlines, that i've not done any practical work. There has been no tactility alongside my literary, and this leaves me feeling unrelaxed and uptight. Then there's the matter of thinking about all of these deadlines, which proves very unproductive. It feels like i'm stuck and can't move forward, past the worry of so many things to do. All work and no play has made Sophie an anxious person. I'm normally incredibly organised and can juggle many things under pressure. Because I know I can and i'm capable.

However, I don't know I can PhD it and I don't know I am capable. I've got the imposter syndrome and I don't know how to get rid of it. This uncertainty is making me feel even more inadequate, and so the downward spiral begins.


Thats out. Now to have a go at #1: Methodologies

Stream of consciousness as a tool?

Friday, 17 November 2017

Happy Memories

Searching wildly through a mound of stuff, stored away in old wine crates, for some ink cartridges to satisfy my stationary craving, I came across these photos. Over five years ago a little project of mine, The Cow House, came to life for a summer of indigo dyeing, cakes, films and magic. These pictures almost epitomise my childhood memories of growing up on Dartmoor surrounded by stories. To have spent my formative years engulfed in my imagination fuelled by the moors, myths, ancient stone buildings, rivers and fruit trees was the stuff of fairytales. I see the farm worn concrete floor and ramshackle doors framed in a nostalgic summer light with Dad's hand made dolls house and see my past, but also my future.

A future of breathing life into forgotten things, non existent things. Maybe even bringing things into life - weavings, stories, children. Keeping a life of family and friendship in which to ground a future.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Design for the Future: The Future is Weave

Weaving is archaic I hear you say. What place does a cottage craft have in this digital world? Combining the craft and the digital - the weave with the computer is something I am increasingly curious about. My love of weave stems from my fascination with structure, the tactile and construction, the black and the white, the ups and downs. The heavy mechanical sound, the steady reliable rhythm. Weave excites me. 
Taken in 2013, Isle of Harris. Donald John Mackay at his Hattersley loom.

The potential for a woven future is mostly untapped and asking to be explored. The perfect combination of weave structure and yarn can produce highly effective, functional materials with shock absorbency, bullet proofing, waterproofing, rigidity. What if I can magnify those properties by amplifying the structure and weaving off the loom, using 3D printing technology? My next three years will be dedicated to research of 3D woven materials for the circular economy
Image taken form Ellen MacArthur Foundation website

Why am I interested in the circular economy? Why the hell not? Our children, our grandchildren and our planet need a future too and one way I can contribute to their future as a weave designer is to look at how I can reduce textile waste, use alternative materials, maybe even change the way companies and consumers view the product life cycle. Now, thats one hell of a challenge. I love challenges, especially ones I get to tackle with the help of others with expertise in different fields. The best innovation comes from collaboration with scientists, engineers, economists, architects... the list goes on. Innovation is the key to the future, It always has been. 
A 3D print of a woven structure. 

The future for design must be circular.
The future for 3D printing is democratic.
The future for weaving is digital.
The future for us is working together.
The future for 3D weaving is emergency shelters, protective wear, sports wear, shoes, insulation, vehicle, interior, body, space, aerospace...

How exciting!

This blog post is a part of Design Blogger Competition organized by CGTrader

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Kiwis Flax. Plucked and Woven. My year without a loom.

A year off from the grinding reality of working your arse off for low pay just to be able to cover your London rent and a tiny desk in an over overcrowded studio only to find you're working your arse off and don't have time to use your desk to create what you do best... A year off from FOMO. The ever increasing social pressure of a better online presence, a better offline presence, marriage, babies, growing debt, mindfulness, health, fitness... BREATHE.

I met a boy. One year later we quit our jobs and found ourselves in New Zealand. The grass is always greener on the other side of the planet. Our intention was to explore, live life without stuff, bills, pressure and conform , meet family and make friends and maybe even to find our dream spot to put our roots down and to find my creativity again.

I found family, friends, open space to think and reflect, Kiwis, blisters, burns, backbreaking work, hot springs and new springs, Orcas and Albatros, the cold, the damp, the dark nights and the bird song, the earthquakes, resilience, determination and generosity.

We Wwoofed, worked, picked, cleared, waited, weeded, dug, killed, kayaked, bathed, dived, swam, trudged, tramped, stomped, slipped, fell, feared, moaned, shivered, smelled, went hungry, went thirsty, ate, feasted, licked, sucked, plucked, fished, drank, danced, clapped, sang, laughed, cried, comforted, argued, swore, kissed, touched, tickled, played, wove flax, sketched strangers, read mostly crap, dreamed of weaving, learned to live.

We didn't stay. I wanted to weave again.