This week’s Meet the Maker is Ellie from Ellie’s Heirlooms.
Hi Ellie, Tell us about yourself
I am an artist with a passion for story telling and preserving the past. I am an actress and designer with 2 gorgeous girls and an incredible supportive and hardworking husband. We work from home as well and try to make as much of our own as we can. Whilst making clothing, we grow veg and my husband keeps the roof on. We love being East and also are very drawn to the countryside, we love getting away form the hustle here in central london. We now have another family member, Rolo our pet puppy and whilst i print and sew in the kitchen, he is learning not to eat the left over thread and get out of the way as I race around the kitchen table.
What is inspires your work?
I have always loved fabric and collected it for many years. Combining this with the inspiring ‘Make do and mend’ initiative in the war where printed linen was used as seed sacks to provide fabric for rationed clothing, my heirloom project was born. I spent a lot of time researching these incredibly bold and bright designs of the 1940s and the practical element that each sack would come with pattern to form a much needed dress. Then this fabric, which as I discovered as I investigated more, represented a huge part of a woman’s life for many centuries. It was often given as part of a dowry and then kept for years which would have meant a lot of domestic laundering alone.
Antique linen, especially imperfect sheets, carry a history and represent an aspect of the unspoken domestic world for women. I feel once this is re-made and repurposed with images of wild nature, it honours this past and gives it another life that is practical and beautiful. This is what drives me to make each piece individually. The response I have from those that have given me linen from their great grandmother and seen what it has become, is one of the most fulfilling aspects from this small unique business.
What are your plans for the future?
I have many prints and designs I am longing to make, I always have new images and shapes buzzing around my head. But the practical plan is the sets for the summer for babes and a wonderful new wedding range! I am currently finalising the insect range which will be in the Urban Makers pop up next week.