Charlotte Macey‘s designs take you on a gentle stroll through the English countryside – a place where hens forage and cowslips sway. But although her textiles and prints feel very British, you can see the influence of Scandinavia too in their simplicity and palette. We spoke to Charlotte to find out more about her background, her inspiration and her Cotswolds studio…
Can you introduce yourself?
Hello! My name’s Charlotte and I am a textile designer and maker, and the owner of homewares brand Charlotte Macey.
Can you tell us a bit about your background? How did you get to where you are now?
I loved textiles at school and went on to study Textile Design at university; I focused on free machine embroidery and appliqué, and during the three years developed my own style of illustrative embroidery. After uni I was accepted on to an internship and worked at Selvedge magazine in London, but before long the countryside was calling me home and I ventured back to the Cotswolds with new knowledge, experience and ambition. I set up my company in the first year of being home, and haven’t looked back!
Did your time at Selvedge influence your work at all?
It did. It was inspiring to see other designers and makers working in this industry and my time at Selvedge helped me discover more about the world of textiles and design.
Did you have a creative upbringing. Were you encouraged to be creative at school?
Yes, my parents are both very creative and have a great eye for design, and I feel very lucky that they have always encouraged me to do what I love. Textiles was my favourite subject all the way through school, I had a brilliant teacher who had worked as a fashion buyer, so knew the ins and outs of the design world, which gave me a good grounding… even though at that point I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do when I was older!
What was the first thing you ever made?
I made a very entertaining slubby cotton waistcoat in school, and always insisted on making my own patterns for projects. I think I still have the waistcoat – complete with appliquéd elephants – at the bottom of a drawer somewhere!
What inspires you?
Pattern, anywhere and everywhere, from pattern in the natural world and old pieces of wallpaper, to illustrations and prints. I don’t have any one design hero, but love the simplicity of Scandinavian design and have always been inspired by embroidery artists.
Is there a Charlotte Macey aesthetic?
Yes I think so. It was a style that developed naturally as I went along. The colours and designs are very gentle and fresh, and each design is very much a piece of me and my imagination.
Does where you live influence your work?
Oh definitely, my designs are highly influenced by the countryside where I live and work. Cow parsley and florals are a prominent feature in my pattern designs, as well as little characters like the pecking hens and the little cottages that feature in my ‘neighbourhood’ design.
Where do you work? Can you describe your studio?
For the first two years I worked from the landing of our house (a tiny 2 x 1m space), then moved on to the dining room table for the next two years. Almost exactly a year ago I moved into a studio in the village where I live. The space is perfect to work in – it has big French doors along the front which let in lots of light, and it’s packed to the rafters with shelving, tables and stacks of fabric… I’m not sure how any of it ever managed to fit at home!
If you had a motto, what would it be?
Work hard, dream big and follow your own path.
You can get 10% off everything in Charlotte’s Folksy shop using the code SPRING10