Textile artist Ruth Markwell shares her inspiration sourcebook
In the second of this new series, we are delving into the creative life of textile artist Ruth Markwell to discover her heroes of craft, where she goes for inspiration and some of the artists and makers in her field that she most admires. Read on to find new rabbit holes of craft to explore…
Who are your heroes of craft?
A) Sue Trevor who makes the most amazing jewel-like coloured fabric art that are dyed, quilted and highly embroidered. She creates large 3D pieces, like a highly patterned coloured watering can, Kenwood mixer and sewing machine – everyday objects recreated as beautiful magical, fabric art. She also produces small affordable pieces in the same wonderful style, bookmarks, needle cases and brooches.
Debby Coatham from Bearlescent is a bear and textile artist and another of my heroes. She makes beautiful, collectable, keepsake bears, dolls and textile art, decorated with her lovely hand-embroidered designs. I love to see her creations on Instagram, where she regularly posts work and work in progress. I also admire how Debby has had to cope with health issues, which have led to her fabric art career. I have MS and her comment, “Craft means independence, a sense of self-worth and being able to share my work and skills” perfectly sums up how I feel as well.
If If someone was at the start of their creative journey, what’s the first book they should pick up?
A) When I first started on my textile craft journey, I was sewing bags as a hobby. I sold a few in a little shop on Folksy called ‘On the Button Bags’. It was while decorating the bags that I first experimented with fabric art. So the book that I recommend comes from that time: The Bag Making Bible by Lisa Lam. It’s a lovely book full of photographs, diagrams and project ideas that really inspire you to get sewing.
Tell us about one thing you’ve bought on Folksy and why it’s special to you…
A) Hanging in our kitchen we have a lovely little robin made by Georgie Ashton from Rings and Things Design. It’s made of copper wire, with pretty glass beads for the red breast. The wire is so beautifully and precisely twisted. It’s a really fabulous piece – something you buy for a gift, but then want to keep for yourself!
Who would you recommend people follow on social media within your field for inspiration?
A) I recently discovered the work of needle-and-thread artist Rosa Andreeva, who creates lovely nature-inspired 3D fabric art.
Generally the people that I follow on social media are from the wider crafting and art community, like the quirky, unusual art that is shown on the Instagram account ArtHunter. I also love the sweet ceramic work of pupottery – it’s lovely to see the work in progress and how well it’s displayed in photographs and video.
What handmade object of desire do you most lust after in the world?
A) One of the beautiful animal or bird pieces made by the Northumbrian needle-felt artists Katie Corrigan and partner Simon Brown (@sprawlingpuppy and @thegentlemanfelter on Instagram, respectively). The animals they create are truly works of art – full of personality and humour. I would love one of their foxes on a scrubbing brush or a lovely little robin on a wooden letterpress piece!
Ruth Markwell is a textile artist who creates pictures with fabric, print, thread and paint. Born in Yorkshire and now living in a village on the edge of the Peak District, Ruth took redundancy from her career in graphics after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2008. She started looking at how she could create a business from her hobby and exploring ways to turn the textile designs she had been making into affordable framed fabric artworks. This led to her creation of art in a tin.
Read more about Ruth in our Meet the Maker interview