I can’t tell you how excited I was to receive an application from today’s interviewee, Lucy Brasher. Her products are truly works of art, oozing with unique character and personality. At risk of sounding like a mental fan, to have them on sale at a Brighton Craftaganza is some sort of dream come true!
Please introduce yourself….
Hello, I am Lucy Brasher, and my business is called ‘the cat in the shoe’ quite simply because when I began to make things and needed a name for my brand my cat used to sleep in my shoes.
Describe the products you currently make to sell
I call my products Creatures and Curiosities as I feel this explains them well.I work with reclaimed and vintage fabrics, so an old leather coat becomes a Pie Girl, and some vintage curtains become swimming trunks for a Fox. I make a lot of my ‘Alice Rabbits’ I have been making these for a while now and although i have elaborated on them and tweaked them here and there the design and pattern has remained the same, they are my interpretation of the White Rabbit from one of my favorites Stories ‘Alice in Wonderland’.
I am currently working on a new collection of my Curious Dolls, they are cloth dolls with different outfits etc and at the moment I am making them more Summer themed (not that the sun has realised it is summer yet). ‘My Dear Heads’ have become very popular and I am often found in my studio buried under a pile of antlers and stuffing. I have also begun collecting Glass boxes and creating things within them like ‘The Princess and the Pea’ (pictured above).
I am constantly designing and creating new creatures and re-designing old ones so no two are ever the same, due to this process and the nature of the fabrics I use, each piece is truly unique. I have a lot of lists and a lot of ideas and I am constantly creating.
Where and when do you design and make your products?
My studio (pictured below) is in my house and generally in a total mess although I selected a picture for you of it clean and tidy. I work as often as is possible, so in between running around after my 2 1/2 year old little monster I will be reading and making patterns and sitting at the sewing machine. My best ideas tend to appear as I am trying to sleep, so I am never without my note book.
How long have you been selling your wares and how did it begin?
I have been making and selling full time since our son was born, so about 3 years with full effort. I randomly began about 7 years ago when I moved to London after completing and ditching several Photography courses and found myself jobless. I started with a patchwork quilt by hand ( never again) and then began making commission quilts for new Born’s, this then led to very basic toys and designs. As I have no sewing experience, I slowly taught myself and over the years have improved and elaborated and experimented, It’s all about odd creatures for me.
What is your relationship with the Brighton area and where are you currently based?
I love brighton and we had always planned to move to Brighton from London, but after our son was born we thought ‘ can we do this without family and babysitters?’ Heck no, so we are now back by the sea, but in Bournemouth instead.
Any other crafty disciplines you like to practice?
I’m not sure I have much time for anything else, I take Photos of my work but not for pleasure. I do make a a very good Chocolate cake? If that counts.
What inspires the things you make?
I am inspired by almost everything I read and see. I love books almost obsessively and have always loved Fairy Tales, which are a huge inspiration for my work. I watch a lot of films and animations especially stop frame animation, I would love to make a short animation with my creatures one day ( that is on the never ending list). There is an obvious link to Tim Burtons earlier animations and illustrations with my work especially the love of Black & White stripes. Animals of course as my creatures are animals in one form or another.I am currently obsessed with the Circus and old images of Coney Island, so eventually there will be a circus themed collection from me. Taxidermy is also a love of mine and the recreation of this with textiles. Inspiration is pretty much everywhere.
When the clock says 6pm its time for a Gin.