I met Naomi Ryder in her studio, the Cockpit Arts in Deptford over two Christmas’ ago at the bi-annual craft fair. I remember being delighted to purchase a signed girly yellow stitched print of a lady strumming the strings of a whimsical guitar. I have since become slightly obsessed with her elegantly crafted attention to detail and original take on illustration considering she draws in textiles. So being able to find out more about her background, inspirations and motivations was real treat. Naomi uses freehand machine embroidery, print and ‘drawing with stitch’ to create exquisite pieces of contemporary textile art reflecting everyday life. Her style is often figurative and her talent in mixing mediums into extraordinary everyday compositions caught my attention. Enjoy…
Hello Naomi, can you tell me where and what you studied? My BA Honours degree was at Manchester Metropolitan University from 1991-94. I studied Fashion and Textiles (specialising in Embroidery).
What inspired you to work with textiles? The thing I most loved on my degree was all the drawing and painting we had to do as part of the course. It was only after whilst working for designers in Dublin (John Rocha and Lainey Keogh) that I began to understand about quality and luxury in material. I felt my search satisfied when I combined my love of drawing with luxury fabric.
How do you promote your work? At my studios in Cockpit Arts in Deptford we have open studios twice yearly where I have returning and new clients. Social networking plays its part with twitter and Naomi Ryder illustration on facebook and not forgetting self-promotion.
What makes you special? I love learning and keep my pushing my skill level. I also like to stay focused with my own ideas and vision. I also like to stay current and like to change and developing projects each year, therefore keep moving forward.
Why does craft matter to you? Craft is a combination of design but mostly about skill. Skill in craft is important because at this time of fast fashion combined with the disappearance of manufacturing, it is important to show the high level of what we can produce. I most enjoy using traditional skills in sewing and combining them with new technologies for example; hand-stitch into laser cuts or machine embroidery into digital print. My grandma taught me to knit, sew and make and it has always been part of my life since I can remember.
Which artists do admire creatively? I love the paintings of Alex Katz. He stays contemporary yet has a 60s feel to some of his portraits. I like the way that Grayson Perry works and can relate to some of his processes. My friend and artist Katharine Morling who plucks her drawings from her mind (the opposite of what I do) and I admire the designer Thomas Heatherwick for his stripping back of design to the beginning.
You can take 4 things with you on a yearlong trip to the moon, which 4 things do you take? If it cannot be people then I will bring a wind up radio so I can sing really loud. Pencils and endless paper (moon rocks to keep the paper down) sewing would be annoying with the thread floating around. I would have to draw lots of rocks I guess. My mac Computer (with earth internet. I guess I wouldn't need the radio then- I will have a scanner instead) My amazingly comfy bed.
What’s next in the pipeline for you? I am working on a new exciting personal project of a graphic novel which I am writing with a friend with my textiles illustration. I feel it is a natural progression for my work where there has always been some narrative used.