crossing borders with stitches

Six Branch is a collaboration between students of Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, and the Women in Hebron cooperative in Palestine. It is a platform for cultural exchange through textile design, celebrating traditional embroidery skills passed from generation to generation. 


Women In Hebron is a collective of 120 embroiderers based in the Hebron area of Palestine. They teach traditional skills and produce textiles drawing inspiration from patterns passed down through the decades.

Nawal Slemiah, the founding director of the collective, met Linda Florence, Senior Lecturer at Central Saint Martins in 2015. Slemiah was eager for the collective to find new challenges for making and new avenues for selling, while Florence wanted to open the students’ practice to new ways of working, and the collaborative project was born. Myself, Sabrina Lopez and Caf Fean joined to make the Six Branch team. 

Since then, the two groups have been working together to establish a new ethical design society that travels across borders.

This project is a starting-point, with the hope that a series of collaborative collections can grow, promoting cultural exchange through the stitches of embroidery. 


We're so very proud of the beautiful designs the students and the cooperative have produced, and we have exciting leads we hope will create new opportunities to ensure the Women in Hebron go from strength to strength.


Photography by Mark Blower for the Camden Arts Centre. 

Photography by Mark Blower for the Camden Arts Centre. 

Textile Narratives: Politics, Belonging, Material Culture and Memory

Led by master printmaker Faye McNulty and cultural theorist Dr. Sian Weston

What universal issues emerge from Duro Olowu’s curation of Making & Unmaking? ‘Let Me Tell You a Story’ will draw out key elements highlighted in the exhibition, including cultural appropriation, cultural identity, textiles and protest, collecting, collections and bricolage, and gender stereotypes. Each week, participants will cover two distinct areas in order to understand the wider meaning of the works included in the exhibition. In the final seminar, participants will have an opportunity to take part in a ‘show and tell’ session, where they deconstruct a treasured object from their own collection. 

McNulty and Weston take polar opposite positions in terms of ‘making’ and ‘un-making’:
McNulty is an acknowledged master of making – she understands construction and the measures needed to create objects.
Weston uses fashion and textiles to deconstruct meta-themes that reflect a wider society – she picks at the seams to understand the role of fashion, craft and photography within the cultural landscape.
A wooden print block (unknown year) and fabrics from Yinka Shonibare's installations 'The Victorian Philanthropist's Parlour' and 'Nelson's Ship in a Bottle'. 

A wooden print block (unknown year) and fabrics from Yinka Shonibare's installations 'The Victorian Philanthropist's Parlour' and 'Nelson's Ship in a Bottle'. 

Over the weeks of August, myself and Dr Sian have been leading seminars at the Camden Arts Centre. We were overwhelmed with the engagement of the participants, unafraid to discuss and impressive grasp of the content. 

Thank you Camden Arts Centre for the invitation, we enjoyed the exhibition greatly.

Research: Marian Clayden by Faye McNulty

Tie dyed rope piece

After finishing the second Innovation Project with the Topshop print design team at the beginning of April, myself and fellow print designer Elizabeth Clay visited the Fashion and Textiles Museum in Bermondsey for a textile nerd-out. 

We just caught the final days of Art Textiles; a retrospective of luxurious art textiles in silk, velvet, cotton and felted wool by internationally collected designer Marian Clayden. The exhibition celebrates the influence of a British-born artist who transformed psychedelic tie-dyed fabrics into a million-dollar fashion business in the United States. 

stencils used as part of the tie dye process achieved soft, beautiful motifs. 

stencils used as part of the tie dye process achieved soft, beautiful motifs. 

Tie dye is having quite the moment, having sampled it for Victoria, Victoria Beckham last year and have been exploring shibori techniques for a upcoming Couture Collection (more on this will be revealed once the show has happened).

This was a great show, demonstrating the productive and highly skilled work Clayden created. She demonstrated a high level of control on what can be a very difficult to predict process.

Another inspired curatorial programming from the museum, and very much looking forward to the upcoming Missoni exhibition opening this week.


Tactus (No1) part of Sonic Pattern exhibition, Kaunas by Faye McNulty

Tactus (No 1), James Bulley, 2015

The Tactus series is an investigation into direct communicative artworks for the blind and visual impaired. The textile based scores are haptic sound generating surfaces that celebrate the braille music notation system of Louis Braille and the graphic scores of Cornelius Cardew. Tactus explores the interweaving of the auditory and tactile, and offers a questioning of the nature of art objects and their presentation in galleries and museums.
The series began in 2011 as a result of an award from the Leverhulme foundation and a residency at London Printworks Trust. A new wall-mounted installation of Tactus has been commissioned by Crafts Council UK and will be exhibited at the Kaunas Biennial, 2015. I worked with James on both Score Study II and the newest incarnation, exploring the possibilities and needs required to create a textile print in legible Braille and additional tactile qualities.  


Tactus (No 1), James Bulley. Private View Sonic Pattern exhibition 18 Sept 2015

The Kaunas Biennial’s partner, Crafts Council (UK), has explored the impact of new technologies on contemporary art by organising an international seminar and curating an exhibition called Sonic Pattern, in which interdisciplinary sound, video and visual art projects are presented. The installation “Dataflags” by Fabio Lattanzi Antinori, recently seen in the V&A Museum, and James Bulley’s project „Tactus“, creating experiences of Braille via sound, engages with the audiences; connections of images and sound were explored by David Littler, Knyttan and Alex Mclean’s live performances as well.

The exhibition is open to the public now, following the opening on the 18 September as part of the Kaunas Biennial at Mykolas Žilinskas Art Gallery, Lithuania until 1 January 2016.

Linda Florence: Wallpaper printing for Shanghai by Faye McNulty

I had the pleasure this week of supporting Linda complete a wallpaper commission for a retail space in Shanghai. A stunning process of layers of interlocking colours in golds and shimmering metallics - specifically designed for the colours and effects to work with the space's lighting design.

 I have worked with Linda for the past eight years, and seen her work first hand - an example of beautiful modern/traditional designs and imaginative uses of design in a installation context.

Here is a little bit more about Linda's work:

"Linda Florence produces bespoke hand printed wallpaper and installation artwork for public, commercial and private interiors.  Florence’s printing techniques incorporate a mixture of traditional and new technologies including silk screen-printing and laser cutting.

Florence draws inspiration from the materials, craft practice and historic and social context of the project site and builds a narrative for each project. Stories can play an important part in creating a sense of place, both as a design tool and a way to engage with everyone surrounding a project including clients, consultants and users."

You can also see her printing process in action below:

Newest edition of Holdfast Magazine by Faye McNulty

Issue #5 Of Land, Sea and Sky has now hit the 'stands' of the internet, featuring my latest front page illustration.


his issue examines the importance of location and landscape in speculative fiction. Check out some fantastic new short stories by Ian Whates, Arike Oke, Stephen Thom and Colleen Quinn in the Fiction section, read about space stations in TV and games, the joys of hubs in video games and our Mad Max movie marathon in Cross Media. 

Holdfast is a wonderful free online speculative fiction magazine, well worth a look:

1-2-1 Acid Dye Course by Faye McNulty

In December 2014 I had the pleasure to teach Zoe, a Fabric Technologist working in the fashion industry. We spent the day exploring how acid dyes work with certain fibre types, how to expose silk screens, creating the dye pastes using recipes and how to colour match.

Zoe achieved some wonderful prints in an ambitious 6 colour design and printed them beautifully.  Below you can see the results of her hard work.


Zoe will be continuing her one to one courses with me in the near future, and learning more exciting print processes that will help develop her industry knowledge and create designs she knows will work well when developing for Italian mills.