Kylie Wright is the Founder of slow-stitching business, Wattle&Loop. Based in Melbourne, Australia, she runs textile collage and slow stitching workshops, as well as making and selling her own original artworks. Regular readers of The Kitchen Table blog will know that we love hands-on creativity that you can do at home, as well as anything to do with reusing, recycling and upcycling (so much so, we’ve even taken it to the great outdoors, with our ‘upwilding’ project at Cupsmith HQ). So when we came across Kylie’s kits on Instagram, we contacted her to see if she would share her philosophy and some creative inspiration with us and with you all. Read to the end to find out how you can win one of four Wattle&Loop Kits we’re giving away!
Why did you start Wattle&Loop?
After 10 years full time as a graphic designer, then several years out of the industry while at home with two young children, my husband and I took the opportunity to get my (then very small) slow stitching kit business up and running in a more permanent way. The idea was that I could work within school hours and play with fabric all day, every day!
Tell us about ‘slow stitching’: where did the name come from and what does it mean?
Historically there has always been a need for sewing and mending, so sitting for hours at a time carefully stitching alone or in a group was not uncommon. In more recent years, as our lives have got busier and faster, and the issue of consumer waste continues to grow, there has been a resurgence of “slow stitching” or “mindful stitching”. At Wattle&Loop, we see it as an opportunity to not only slow down our bodies but also our minds, and simply be “in the moment”. And of course there is the simple pleasure and satisfaction gained from stitching too!
Starting Wattle&Loop has also been an opportunity to help educate people about the textile waste being created by “fast fashion” and how slow stitching techniques, such as Japanese Boro, can be used to not only patch up worn out or damaged clothing, but turn it into something unique and beautiful.
Where do you source the fabrics for your textile work?
I have plenty of help gathering fabric for my slow-stitching kits from vintage and second hand sellers from across the world. When sourcing the fabrics, I try to make a point of selecting fabrics that may not be of much use to other crafters or sewers because of holes, stains, tears, time-worn embroidery etc. I believe it is these ‘imperfections’ that bring the beauty and magic to each Wattle&Loop artwork that is created with them. And it is a great way to reduce our footprint on the environment, even if only in a small way. I also have a selection of new fabrics in each kit including my all time favourite - Liberty of London fabrics!
Some people shy away from hobbies that are hands-on and craft-y, claiming they’re ‘not creative enough’. What does ‘creativity’ mean to you and what advice would you give them?
For me creativity is about getting inspired and being in the right frame of mind. The inspiration usually comes from textures, colour palettes, and shapes that I see in day to day life and photograph on my phone. When I’m relaxed, with a cup of tea in hand and a few hours to spare (usually in the evenings after the kids are in bed), I refer back to these images with a sketch pad in front of me and start jotting down ideas or grabbing some fabrics to play around with.
I think the important thing is not to put too much pressure on yourself to create something wonderful every time. Just play and see what happens. Make mistakes, have an open mind, simply enjoy yourself.
That’s the beauty of my Wattle&Loop Kits - they’re full of beautiful scraps of fabric to play around with, arrange and rearrange. No seams to measure, no straight lines to cut - just aim for “perfectly imperfect”
What does the kitchen table mean to you? What role does it play in your home and/or business life?
Our kitchen table is a very special object for us as it was a wedding gift from many of our friends and family. It is made of beautiful old reclaimed timbers and is ‘perfectly imperfect’ itself! It is a place in our home for connection, discussion, laughing, planning, debriefing on the day. Anything that involves coming together. We try to eat every meal together at our table and enjoy it as part of our daily family ritual. During school hours it ends up covered in threads and tubs of beautiful fabrics, which are all packed away neatly before the school bell rings at the end of the day.
What is your favourite thing to do at your kitchen table?
My favourite thing is definitely to share a meal with a big group of family or friends. We have a lovely open plan space so I can be in the kitchen preparing food and still be very much a part of the conversations and laughter at the table, which I love. It’s not a huge table but it has the magic ability to make enough room for everyone!
Describe your perfect coffee or tea moment at home.
I must admit (don’t tell my kids!), my favourite cup of tea moment is usually after I get home from dropping my kids off at school. I choose the mug that suits my mood (strange I know!), fill it to the brim with English Breakfast tea and a tiny splash of milk, grab a biscuit or something with chocolate on it and head to my studio space to sit down and start the creative day. I love it! I cannot start my day without that cup of tea and the feeling of calm and satisfaction that comes with that ritual.
We’re giving away four Wattle&Loop slow stitching kits! Each kit includes an embroidery needle and threader, a collection of colourful cotton, a selection of fabrics, and an instruction booklet to help you make a one-of-a-kind textile artwork. Head to our Instagram now to be in with a chance of winning!
To get you in the creative frame of mind, watch this lovely video by Kylie and her team, which shows you what’s included in the Wattle&Loop kits and how to get started! For more info, visit https://wattleandloop.com.