Made in Britain, meet the maker - Jennifer McHardy (Nervous Stitch)

Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Image by
Today, we would love to introduce you to the textile whizz Jenny McHardy aka Nervous Stitch.  Over to you Jenny:

Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work
My name is Jenny McHardy and I run Nervous Stitch, I design and make home ware products, cushions, tea cosies and hot water bottles etc, these are mostly knitted but I do dabble in with other stitching techniques. My work has a nostalgic feel and is intended to produce an emotional response, my fox terrier cushion tends to have the greatest reaction. 

Apart from creating things what else do you do? 
Well mostly I look after my daughter, she takes up lots of time, she will be three in a couple of months. She likes to help me and can already use my 1956 singer sewing machine on her own, I have started her training early. I started knitting when I was four, so she has a year and 2 months before her lessons start. I also love gardening, its very creative and therapeutic, nothing like a bit of knitting in the garden. 

When did you know you were an artist/maker? 
There was no light bulb moment or choice,  It was all I ever knew and all I ever did from a very early age, making things, drawing and coming up with hair brained ideas. I come from a family of makers, my mum and my granny both knit. 

What do you love most about working in your chosen discipline? 
I like being my own boss, making decisions on colours and patterns and being able to make all the products myself, I love the tactile qualities of knit and the smell of the wool. 

Where does your inspiration come from? 
My inspiration can come from anything or anywhere, I have a notebook and my camera with me at all times, I started Nervous Stitch from two designs I created in my 3rd year at Gray's School of Art in Aberdeen,the running rabbit and the fox terrier, I have sketchbooks full of ideas and scribbles awaiting their turn for development. 

Describe your studio or workspace? 
Presently I work from the corner of my living room, it is pretty cramped and a bit chaotic at times. my knitting machine is set up all the time along one wall, I would love a studio space but that's not possible at the moment. 

If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be? 
I love Grayson Perry he is very interesting, down to earth and eccentric, his lecture was my favourite one when I was at the RCA.

How would you describe your creative process? 
I scribble ideas all the time, and develop some of these further by drawing by hand, sometimes I scan these into photoshop to develop pattern repeats but I like to keep things tactile. I choose colour combinations, programme the design into my knitting machine and knit up some samples. 

What handmade possession do you most cherish? 
My daughter made me a dough heart necklace at playgroup for mothers day, she had sequins squashed into it. She was very proud of herself I have worn it a few times. 

What do you when you are stuck in a creative rut? 
The worst thing you can do is to sit down and stare at a blank sheet of paper and try to force it out.  My ideas come thick and fast if I am doing daydreaming tasks, like in the shower, or washing the dishes. When your mind is free to wander and more often than not it sorts its self out. I also am a big big fan of making mistakes, you can often try hard to do something proper or the right way and it just did not work out as you had thought, but along the way you have stumbled across three new techniques or designs, so embrace your mistakes! 

Where would you like to be in ten years?
I would like to develop my brand further and have expanded into other areas, wallpaper, children's clothing etc and have my own studio room with everything in order and in one place, that would be heaven!

Thank you Jenny!  Your tea cosies are bright and happy, we'd love one to grace our teapot!  You can find Jenny's jolly work in our Made in Britain shop right now.

Made in Britain shop is now open!
Mon - Sat: 10 - 6pm
Sun: 11 - 5pm
Until 16th June
Quakers Friars, Cabot Circus, Bristol

No comments:

Post a Comment