Q&A with Crimson Textiles

1) Who are you and what do you do?

Lesley Thornton  - designer/maker; seamstress; kilt-maker

2)  What is your main inspiration?

First and foremost I’m a ‘maker’. For me, making is a compulsion, something that I’m driven to do from within. I’m inspired by beautiful fabrics; vibrant colours; the traditional skills of domestic crafters, often unrecognised in their day; mid-century design.

3) Where do you work from?

I work from a purple shed at the bottom of my garden. My studio is full of sewing paraphernalia - it’s like working inside a huge sewing box. It’s south facing, has windows on 2 walls and is flooded with light from morning until night. My husband built it for me 9 years ago from mainly recycled materials and ebay purchases. I’m usually working in it from 9am - 6pm, 5/6 days a week.

4) What do you do to relax?

To relax I keep making, but personal projects and gifts for friends. I’m also going through an on-line Scrabble phase at the moment. 

5) Tell us something surprising about your studio space/education/life experiences.

My handsome grey cat, Arty, sleeps on the ironing board in my studio (when I’m not ironing!) and I do admit that I talk to him quite a lot. 

6) Where did you study?

I studied Textile Design at the Scottish College of Textiles in Galashiels (1980-1984)

7) What's the best advice you can give to other makers or have received?

I’m often asked how I have the self discipline to be self employed. I follow the advice of a visiting lecturer when I was at college, and give myself little rewards throughout the working day as I complete tasks - rewards ranging from 10mins web browsing to the top reward of a half-hour break with coffee and scone in my local tearoom! (But not every day!)

8) Who would you like to have over for dinner?

My best friends - and Yotam Ottolenghi, to do the cooking!

9) What is the best thing about being an independent maker?

Being able to make a living doing what I love most is just the best thing ever. 

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