Friday Finds - Melissa Watts - Textile Designer - Maud Designs

Morning all - today's creative is an emerging textile and pattern designer Melissa Watts who is a member of the Cultivate Art Collective. I love her pattern work - the colours and shapes are stunning, but her textile work, which I was less familiar with is incredible! Very sculptural. Melissa's product business line was named after her Grandmother Maud but her surface pattern design business is under her own name.

 © Melissa Watts

When did you start your business and why? Did you plan how you started meticulously or was it almost accidental?

My 'day job' is working as an Operating Department Practitioner at a local hospital and as you can imagine the work can be pretty stressful at times. It was during one of these 'times' that I decided to take a break and with it came this sudden, out of the blue urge to create. I immediately went out at bought a sewing machine. Excited, I found I couldn't thread the needle to start with (I find it difficult to open the instruction booklet!), I didn't even know what I wanted to make, a bit of an oversight one might think! I played with scrap pieces of fabric for a few hours and then put it away, thinking well that's that, bad idea. The following months, I spent hours upon hours searching every inch of the internet, feeding on the knowledge and visual delights I would encounter. FIVE months later I made my first 3D Wool felt cushion, a Christmas present for my mother. I think I ended up making all my Christmas presents that year (to my partners dismay as he had to do all the cutting)! I think you could say it was accidental........certainly NOT meticulously planned.

Did things take off immediately or has it been a slow burn?

The following January (2011) I continued on the 3D cushion theme and also added the Tilly throw to the collection. I was encouraged to continue making by a lovely lady called Catherine from Woolsoft who provided me with 100% British wool cushion inserts. It was much appreciated, she made me believe it could be done. 

Textiles from © Maud Designs

Later that year I was offered the opportunity to make a large piece of work for the SCIN Gallery, Clerkenwell, London, (which is a resource gallery for architects and interior designers). Annabelle Filer who owns and runs SCIN, sources innovative and cutting edge materials worldwide and is a great supporter of new designers. I created a 2.7m x 2.7m H.M.Queens head made up from 8100 3D 'felt pixels'. Pixel Felt, an acoustic wall tile was launched.

© Maud Designs-Melissa Watts

Since then, I've also been involved in two exhibitions with Campaign For Wool at Somerset House (2013) and Southwark Cathedral (2014). My work has certainly evolved and I thrive on a challenge. I love exploring something new and I don't consider many things out of reach, I'll try anything! It's now late 2014 and I'm enjoying Surface Pattern Design. I hope to continue to explore, learn and create in whichever way I choose.

© Melissa Watts

Do you do your business part time or full time? 

I work at my business part time. It can be a difficult journey and success very rarely happens overnight. My plan is to hopefully one day create full time.

Which aspect of your work do you enjoy most? Is there anything you would've done differently if you were starting your business today? 

I obviously love the initial research and making/creating. I enjoy the gaining of knowledge and trying something new. I honestly can't get enough of it. I didn't really know what I wanted at the beginning, it was all about the creating, I hadn't considered the future or selling! There wasn't much thought in the early days, it just drifted in a particular direction. If I was to start again I would definitely do a lot more research into how to run a business. A business plan, finances, marketing and PR all need to be considered and I wish I had understood the importance of it all when starting out. Big Fail!

© Melissa Watts -meeting HRH Prince Charles during Wool House 2013 with her piece Relentless the Ram Needlepoint. Wool on canvas 2013. 1.6 m x 1.2 m. Almost 500,000 pixels converted into stitch (based on original image courtesy of David Bennett, quillcards)

Are you someone who sets goals regularly or more instinctive?

Until now, I've never set main goals. As I still work the day job part time, I like to keep an open mind and make/create what I like, when I like which is a nice position to be in. If I decided I wanted to make a piece of furniture next week or a large painting, I would. It wouldn't matter to me that I hadn't attempted it before, I would just do it......after a lot of research of course. I like to be free to feed my creativity in whatever way takes my fancy. I personally think the crossing over of skills and knowledge you gain can help individuality.

© Melissa Watts

What is a typical day for you in your business as it is now? What would be a dream day for you-business or otherwise? 

I don't really have a typical day. I could be sewing one day, researching the next or quite easily spend 12 hrs creating pattern design. I never get bored!

Finally, please tell us where we can buy your work?

Surface pattern designs are available for license or purchase. 
Textiles are bespoke and made to order. Commissions are considered.
Available for freelance work.
Please visit for more information.

Thank you so much Melissa - I am so impressed at how you taught yourself how to make those meticulous structural textiles. Lovely to find out more about you :)


Post a Comment

I love to have comments and read every one.. thank you!

Popular Posts