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MEET: Nancy Nicholson by Bebe Bradley of www.passerine.co.uk


Nancy Nicholson trained in graphic design at Maidstone College of Art in Kent, going on to study fine art textiles for her Master’s degree at The Royal College of Art. She has established a reputation for her work in textiles and more recently, has been designing in paper and card. Her recent range of interactive stationery and stitch kits employs her own designs as well as those of her late mother Joan Nicholson, produced in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Nancy is passionate about using visual creativity to inspire and motivate children at school. She has held two artist residency posts at local schools and continues to work actively in education. UKHandmade spoke to Nancy to find out more about the inspiration behind her work.


68 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2012


Please tell us about the ethos behind your work. In my home, I’ve surrounded myself with stimulating things, found objects that are naturally beautiful, or


crafted things that are just


wonderfully designed and made. They delight me from moment to moment and inspire me to create things


that I can give to other


people. I’m making things that I hope will give that same pleasure and inspiration to others.


What kind of formal education or experience do you have that applies to what you do? I studied graphic design initially for my BA but found that, though I loved all elements of design, I wanted more freedom to experiment with pattern, printing and painting which the course did not allow me to do. So the


tutors allowed me to float between departments. Back then I was drawn towards fine art textiles, though now I have leaned back toward design.


At the RCA, I constructed one-off pieces in wood and stained paper, making intricate structures which were intended as wall sculpture. I was trying to be a serious textile artist and denied my enduring love of craft and hand skills, not seeing how to bring to two together. When I left college, I began to work more in fabric and paper, making applied images which were embroidered and highly textured.


This developed over the next 10 years, and I still make these images for exhibition. But my love of design also has remained strong and, after years of making paper and


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