QM Creative Talents: Holly Macartney Filgate

Holly Macartney Filgate is from rural Cornwall and is studying English Literature at QM. Aside from embroidering, she is currently writing and serially publishing a novel. After university she hopes to work in either editorial publishing or copywriting and can be found at either towncountrymouse.co.vu or on Twitter: @HollyByTheSea

When did you first develop an interest in embroidery?

I’ve been interested in sewing and needlecraft for ages, really, ever since my nanny cross-stitched me a wall hanging based on a fairy named after me (a Holly tree fairy) from my favourite book. I embroidered a few things here and there as a child but never really took it up. A few years ago I got into appliqué and needlepoint (something very similar to cross-stitch and very popular in America) and then I started to research the hobby in earnest! I’ve been properly embroidering for a few months.

Do you have any main sources of inspiration, like particular artists?

The main artists I am currently inspired by are Lucy Sparrow, who is currently doing a popup in East London (Aug 1-31st) of a corner shop where everything from the milk pints to the till is made of felt! Other inspirations are Benja Harney and Olympia le Tan.

How do you generate an idea for a piece of embroidery?

For me, embroidery is a really graphic form of art so I tend to look at designs and illustrations. Inorganic forms like brand logos and architecture are particularly inspiring.

Holly’s current project is a piece of heraldry she’s doing as practice for a present she’s making her grandfather. She explains, ‘I’m embroidering him our family crest and have never done a project entirely in stem stitch before, so did this other design as a test run! Save the laurel wreath, which are in daisy stitch, and the red stars, which are in chain stitch, everything’s done in stem.’

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