I’m a Norfolk based textile artist inspired by my native coastlines and countryside. I trained in embroidery at Cumbria College of Art & Design in 1990, following a passion for art throughout my childhood. I’d made things from an early age and been nic-named ’fiddle -fingers’ as I was always creating, keeping busy, and could never sit still! My father used to come home at weekends with an array of camera tape, the colours of the rainbow, and they were my first materials at my fingertips. The obvious path was for me to follow a creative career and I discovered textiles at art school as a means of incorporating texture and my big passion, colour.
My style is very distinctive and I use a self developed technique of layering up sheer backgrounds and hand dyed printed cottons, combined with free motion machine embroidery to create landscapes and other imagery. I leave the fabric edges raw and frayed and more recently have been interested in creating three dimensional forms. The overall effect looks ethereal and my medium is sometimes confused with watercolour, when viewed from a distance. My artwork is a little whimsical and nostalgic which makes people smile and reminds them of their holidays, which can’t be a bad thing!
I initially set up my business with a grant from the Princes Trust and started selling my work through exhibitions and trade shows. Over the years the business grew and I moved to London and exhibited at trade shows there and with the Crafts Council in New York and San Francisco.
I ran a card publishing business for 15 years, printing and hand finishing my images as greetings cards, selling them through high end gift shops and galleries like Liberty, John Lewis and Fortnum’s & Mason. I had sales agents working on the road for me and the cards were distributed worldwide. By 2012 I realised that my creativity was being drained and I took a break to concentrate on designing new embroidered artwork and to write a book on my work.
“Applique Art – The Textile Artist” was published worldwide by Search Press.
This led to being invited to talk at Quilting and Embroiderer’s guilds across the country. With the resurgence of crafting and a wealth of talented ladies tucked away across the country, I started running my own Creative Machine Embroidery courses. I am available to hire for talks to private textile groups too.
Over the years I have featured in many Craft and embroidery magazines. In 2005 I was invited alongside three other artists to take part in a community arts project at the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital, to create coastal images for the children’s Buxton ward. It was the first time that I collaborated with other artists and had to consider the environment surrounding my artwork which was very rewarding.
While juggle family life and embroidering I continue to exhibit at shows across the country including RHS Tatton, Wisley and Chelsea Flower show, where I was awarded three gold stars last year.
My artwork is published by Emma Ball and is sold in giftshops throughout the country, and can be found at Southwold Pier gift shop with a specially commissioned tea towel design.
I have recently been awarded a grant from Norwich 4 New Enterprise to invest in a new business idea of online tutorials, which I hope to launch in the Autumn, so soon you’ll be able to learn how to free motion embroider in the comfort of your own sewing room!
For updates on what I’m designing and where I’m exhibiting, give me a like on Facebook at Abigail Mill Embroidery, and I’m on Instagram as abigailmill_embroidey