16 November 2017

Christmas Makers' Market: an interview with Caitlin Hinshelwood

Posted by the Bookshop

On Sunday 3rd December, the London Review Bookshop will be hosting its first ever Christmas Craft Market. We’ll be welcoming a range of artists and makers who will be selling their work instore from 12-5pm. We’ve got something for everyone: prints and textiles, ceramics and jewellery, book-making kits, drawings, homeware and more.

Bookshop Manager Natalia says: "We have been meaning to invite artists to come to the bookshop and the cake shop to share the space with us for some time now. Christmas seemed the perfect time to do so and an array of artisans and crafty people will join us on Sunday 3 December to offer our customers a unique Christmas shopping experience, and it will help me get all my Christmas shopping done in one day!"

Our fabulous Cake Shop will be open all day serving mulled wine, hot whiskey and apple, tea, coffee, their famous homemade cakes and their own range of gifts. What’s more, we’ll also be offering 10% off books for market-goers, so you really can get all of your Christmas shopping done in one go.

We spoke to Caitlin Hinshelwood, one of the makers setting up shop on the 3rd, to find out a bit more about her inspiration, her process and what she’ll be selling. Caitlin is a London based artist and designer who produces distinctive collections of illustrative, hand-worked, printed textiles.

What can visitors to our Craft Market expect to find at your stall on the 3rd December?

My signature hand-dyed and screen-printed colourful silk scarves, handkerchiefs, pocket squares and flags, alongside cushions and smaller accessories like purses and tea towels.

Where do you look to for creative inspiration?

Much of my inspiration comes from visits to museums/archives and my travels. I'm drawn to folk art and traditions, ethnographic collections, the natural world, things that are hand-rendered or feel like a real labour of love.

Can you tell us a little bit about how your prints are made? How long might it take to make one scarf, from earliest conception to finished form?

All my textiles are screen-printed, the majority using a complex process called colour discharge printing which allows you to achieve pure colour on a dyed ground. I print with dyes so the imagery becomes part of the fabric and doesn't affect the handle. It will take me at least a day to develop the artwork depending on whether it's hand drawn or made from paper stencils. The more colours you have in the print the longer it takes. I hand dye all the fabrics and will usually spend a day dyeing a batch of fabrics - I dye each background for my scarves different colours so each one becomes a kind of one-off. I'll then spend time printing the fabrics - I can usually print around 5 three-colour scarves in a day if everything is going smoothly.

Once printed the fabrics have to be steamed to make the colours fix and the discharge process occur - this essentially bleaches out the base colour to replace it with the colour dye in the paste - this is the moment you find out if all your efforts have actually worked. The fabrics are then washed out in hot and cold washes and finally they will be hand-rolled to finish the edges - this is the only part of the process I don't do. So, from start to finish the process is spread over a number of days but I'll be able to be produce multiple scarves in this time.

On your website, you mention your interest in the ‘narrative possibilities of textiles’. Is the presence of a narrative integral to your work?

I think so, it's always there I guess. In some pieces it's more apparent or more deliberate. In others it may just be a suggestion. But I like telling stories or suggesting narratives with my work. It's what I like in others’ work, there's an engagement with the imagery, what it means.

How does collaboration feature in your process? Do you ever work with other artists, makers, galleries, individuals or groups?

Collaboration happens when I am working on commissions, adapting someone else's ideas into my style of working. I've recently been working on a number of private commissions - these are always fun as you are interpreting a narrative for someone.

For those who can’t make it to the market, where else might they find your printed textiles?

Most items can be found online at www.caitlinhinshelwoodshop.co.uk. I'll be selling at Renegade Craft Fair the following weekend 9/10th December and my stockists Brixi and Cecil Sharp House in London and Atelier 51 in Brighton also have some of my silk pieces.

Tickets for the Craft Market are free, but booking is recommended. For more information about the makers or to reserve your ticket, visit the event page.

We also have a selection of exciting prizes to give away and many more makers to introduce, so keep an eye on our Twitter and Instagram accounts over the next few weeks to stay up to date.