Textile artist Corinne Young creates beautiful 3D botanical art, from her workshop in her tiny 17th century cottage on Morecambe Bay, just a few miles from the Lake District. Wildflower spoke to Corinne about her fascinating approach to creating her beautiful and unique textiles…
For as long as I can remember I have loved fabrics, and the textures and forms that can be achieved with embroidery. My father taught me a lot as he worked in the cotton industry. My Aunt, (with whom I spent summer holidays as a child) was a seamstress and I was fascinated by how she could effortlessly turn flat fabric into a beautiful item of clothing. As I got older, I loved the embroidered work of the art nouveau period and Kaffe Fassett has always been a hero of mine.
I have stitched since I was a child, gathering skills as an adult by taking fashion and tailoring classes. My early career was in fashion retail and interior design, with a short stint as a knitting wool shop owner. I then decided at 40 (when my children were older), to study for a degree in textile design. I focused on plants during my degree, as to me they have always been synonymous with textiles. Embroidery, print, botanicals, and interior design featured in my final third year collection. Along the way I studied at the RHS Library and Kew Gardens, for inspiration. I started making embroidered Pot Plants, which have become the most popular of my products.
My methods start with studying and researching botanical specimens, preferably from life. I often grow the plants I study from seed. As I work in 3D, I then make templates for the various parts of the plant. I make linen paper as a background, and then draw out, paint, stitch (using freehand machine and hand embroidery) cut out and sculpt the stitched pieces into the finished work using stiffening solutions and wiring.
My mother taught me about plants. We lived near Harlow Carr Gardens in Harrogate, which was built when I was a child. I loved to visit these gardens and others with my mother and help her to grow delphiniums and roses in the garden. I was never indoors if the weather was good enough to be outside.
I always look at plants and imagine how I could make embroideries from them. The form, texture and colour are all such an inspiration. Once I had a garden of my own, I experimented by growing wild plants such as nigella, poppies, and cornflowers. I have many favourites, including passion flowers, poppies, scabious, and primulas. Auriculas have become a passion because of the fascinating varieties, history, and their connection to textiles through the Huguenot weavers who brought them to this country. I love meadows too, and I am planning a new collection of work featuring wild plants.
I now work in a small bright studio in my 17th century country cottage home. The studio has a door opening into my courtyard garden, which I use as an extension of my workspace. The garden is overflowing with plants of all types and varieties. They are grown more from the point of view of being interesting specimens than because they look good together, but somehow it works!
The piece which has most inspired my current work is a large 3d Passionflower piece I made in 2009. It was the first time I worked in 3d and was very sculptural and detailed. I made it for an exhibition, thinking that if it didn’t sell and I had to live with it for a while I wouldn’t mind (it sold!).
I spend my spare time in beautiful countryside near where I live and visiting historic properties whenever I can. We are blessed with having beautiful limestone crags and woodland on our doorstep and take a daily walk in this lovely environment. We have NGS open gardens in our village and visiting them is a highlight each year.
This Autumn I am taking part in the Silverdale & Arnside Art Trail from my home studio, and a Crafts Fair at Blackwell House – a gorgeous Arts & Crafts house on the banks of Lake Windermere. Most exciting of all, this September I am collaborating with Griffin Glasshouses to show my work at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
To commission or buy a piece from Corinne, you can contact her: