Hampton Manor's 'Meet the Maker'

Back in August, 2018 I was featured in Hampton Manor's blog featuring the piece of embroidered art I made for them. It was by far the biggest piece of embroidery I've worked on to date! Read their write up here:

This Birmingham based beauty is the hands and mind behind Hampton Manor’s ‘The Bull’.

In the Birmingham independent scene a run in with Connie Mabbott is fated. Her name fell onto our radar when Fjona saw her work in a Bell & Smokey edition (I Choose Birmingham‘s sister newsletter). Gary Anderson had mentioned Connie to Bel and Smokey one night when they were munching in Otto. Fate had a field-day and Fjona quickly commissioned Connie to create a piece for the newly opened Manor Cottage and I finally caught up with her (and her t-shirts) at the Independent Birmingham Festival at Aston Hall.

Connie: ‘I launched a year and three months ago as Mabbott Design, but changed the name two months ago to Lint & Thread.’

How did it all kick off?

C: ‘I studied Textiles and Design and Birmingham City University. The course was quite broad; lots of people looking to work in fashion. There was print design, knitwear, interiors, history… but embroidery became my speciality. By the time I graduated I did have a job waiting for me in London, but Birmingham felt like the right city for me. I took on two part time jobs and went about starting my embroidery business.

What is it about the Second City that kept the lure of the Capital at bay?

C: I’m originally from North Wales and my parents are from Sheffield. But Birmingham feels like the perfect size city. I’m based in the Jewellery Quarter which means that the town centre is walking distance away. In my last year at uni I noticed the independent scene in Birmingham starting to boom and opportunities for my business opened up at food events, festivals, little events like those held by Liquor Store.

Which designers inspire you?

C: Alexander McQueen; they recently embroidered onto hessian, so when Fjona suggested I do that for the Manor I thought ‘if Alex has done it, then it’s got to be done.’ Freda Carlo’s work for the flowers and her use of colour; the self portraits with flowers in her hair. Also Valentino; they always do the most amazing embroidery! My work, comparatively, isn’t very colourful. I love colour but tend to tone it down for the shirts. There’s also a textile artist who shares her work on the Instagram account Textile Wildlife Art. She uses the same free-motion embroidery technique that I use and the results are incredible.

What did the collaboration with Hampton Manor look like?

C: Fjona wanted something Birmingam-centred (and what more so than the Bullring Bull!). She’s also seen some of my work and said that she really liked the florals, so wanted to merge those things into one piece. We went back and forth with drafts; tweaking the size, changing the flowers. Fjona wanted it to represent both the city and the countryside as Hampton Manor is the place that breaches the gap between the two and yet celebrates both. The way that the flowers look like they’re coming out of the bull represents the good things that are coming out of the city.

What’s to come?

C: ‘I have a pop up shop coming in Cheltenham so at the moment I’m making stock for that. I’m hopefully working on an online collaboration too but that’s still under wraps. I’d love to do more collaborations and commissions. It’s great to work with other creative people and bounce ideas off people with artistic ideas.

With my pieces themselves I think I’ll go into more detail and create larger embroidery the better I get at using my sewing machine. The more confident I get, the more risks I want to take. I think that embroidering clothes is like turning them into art that you wear. There’s nothing to say that fashion and art cannot be the same thing. I like to think of it as wearable art and that’s something I can’t wait to expand on in the future.