Inside our workshop

Inside our workshop

Embroiderer Kate Clark describes her workshop, her inspiration and the detail that goes into each piece we create…. I always wanted to be an embroiderer; it is part of who I am. My  great grandmother was a court dressmaker, great grandfather a tailor and my grandmother was great at sewing as well. My mother is a quilter, maker and I’ve inherited her fine eye for detail. I am so lucky to have a job that fulfils a dream. I am also fortunate to have a job I can work around my family. The level of detail and hours required can be all consuming – I quickly bonded with the Mexican craftswomen over our ‘embroiderer’s’ sore shoulders! My workshop is in the old kitchen of our home in Tisbury, Wiltshire. My husband was born in this house – it is his family home. That makes it sound very grand but it is actually just a 1930s bungalow that until recently desperately needed a new roof. It is charming though and the workshop has big windows with lots of light. There are beautiful views across fields and down to the river. Like most embroiderers I am a bit of a magpie. I tend to fill any space with pretty and interesting things I have collected. Over time as the business has grown I have needed to move most things elsewhere to make more space. There isn’t even really room for pictures on the walls – every surface is covered in shelving, fabric and cushions! The materials we use are so colourful and beautiful though it really doesn’t matter. I love working...
The new Elvia collection of cushions made with Mexican artistry and British herringbone cloth.

The new Elvia collection of cushions made with Mexican artistry and British herringbone cloth.

The Elvia collection A first edition for a British winter        Each cushion in the new Elvia collection is embroidered by hand in Mexico and finished by hand in Wiltshire. Suitable for the sofa, chairs, beds and window seats, each cushion is backed with a dark grey British herringbone by Tinsmiths.   “In an artisan shop in rural Mexico we spotted a beautiful purse that had been left on a chair. We had already been through piles of cloth looking for colours and designs that would bring comfort in a cold British winter but without finding what we wanted. And then there was this purse that had been hand-embroidered without a pattern or direction, and the design was exactly what we needed.” Kate Clark, co-founder of Montes&Clark     Retreat to the sofa The Elvia collection is our response to the British winter. When the cold sets in and we retreat to our sofas and firesides, we wanted to create a deeply, restorative space when we can hibernate and recuperate. With Mexican artistry and British herringbone cloth, the new collection offers warmth and charm as an antidote to the long, cold months of winter. An artistic relationship  We source much of our embroidery from a co-operative in Chiapas, Mexico. Set up by indigenous women, it enables the embroiderers and weavers to earn a sustainable living, and over the last few years we have become one of the co-op’s main customers. It is an artistic relationship that we value. Both the embroidery designs and skills are passed down generation to generation. The women work from memory, without patterns, and although...