Our first feature of the new year is with the fabulous Lydia Morrow from What Lydia Made. Mum to Ransom and full time designer, Lydia, 22 lives in Glasgow with her partner Dave - also a designer at Boxdog Inc.
How long have you been making and creating?
I have been drawing and sewing as long as I can remember, I first learned to knit when I was around 7 years old and I started painting at around 16 but I've actually only been crocheting (my primary way of making these days) since I was 20!
What got you started or inspired you to start?
I went to the Glasgow School of Art and studied Painting and Printmaking which had been my goal all through high school, however while I was there my focus turned towards printing on fabric and then to making those prints more permanent by knitting and crocheting the images instead. I started making clothing and textile sculptures as my main practise by the end of art school and I was making my own clothes at home. When I became pregnant I started making clothes for Ransom and things just started snowballing from there!
What is your favourite thing to make and why?
Hmm, that's a difficult one, if I make the same type of thing over and over again for too long I get antsy and want to start a fresh thing! I think I have the most patience for making bras because I can get into a really good rhythm with them and make a few at the same time and the end product feels really rewarding, but I think I find it the most exciting to work on really weird one off knitwear pieces with loads of detailed imagery.
How long does it take you to make each piece?
Well, for a baby jumper it's at least 10 hours straight of crochet, I don't know where on earth I find the time with having a baby but I'm making it work! Other things take less time but require a lot more focus. I love to sit and chat or watch Netflix while I crochet.
Did having a baby get you started on children's wear or did you always love this area?
As I said, I started making kids wear when I was pregnant. I had a super tough pregnancy and had loads of plans that never really happened during that time but working on occasional small, less time-consuming things like a wee baby grow felt productive and didn't totally drain me.
We love your Instagram - how do you use this to get your brand out there?
Thank you! To be honest Instagram is my brand! I like to use my Instagram as sort of a blog and a place to vent as well as a way to stay accountable to myself and keep making work, if I don't have a new thing to post every few days I feel like I've got to kick it up a notch! I think I really like selling through Instagram as it allows me to make sort of personal connections with all my clients which I feel is really cool if somewhat unsustainable. I don't actually even have an online shop yet, my whole business is conducted via Instagram.
What has been your biggest success or most exciting moment?
I guess my most exciting moment was probably when I had started making bras about a year ago and I asked if anybody would want to buy one to test it out. I had 15 spaces for orders and they all filled up within the next few hours! I had sold some prints before but this was so exciting, I was in shock that this many people would actually want to buy from me and it felt like I'd found something I could really see myself doing for a living (I was in my final year of art school at the time and getting that graduation terror!)
What advice would you give to people starting out?
That's a funny question since I am definitely just starting out myself! I suppose just keep making the things you are excited by, and keep asking if people want to buy them, I'm consistently surprised that I make regular sales and if I hadn't had the confidence to put this stuff out there I would never have known it was possible. It's really difficult asking for money for your work when you work in the arts or a non-traditional business but it's so worth the effort! Also I suppose don't feel the need to stretch yourself too thin to 'legitimise' your business. I always held back from attempting to work in any kind of fashion because I didn't have the business know how or the time to set up a shop and get stockists etc but getting to your destination via a super DIY method working around a baby in your home studio (or whatever your circumstance is) is just as valid!
What can we expect from What Lydia Made this year?
From March 24th my art work will be on show at the RSA New Contemporaries Exhibition in Edinburgh, I also am hopefully going to be showing work at Nomas Projects in Dundee this spring/summer. On March 7th I will be teaching a class on sewing stretch fabrics at Restoration Yard in Dalkeith country park. My husband and I are looking in to collaborating on making some new things with custom designed fabrics and I am hoping to also set up a shop website to make buying and selling my work a lot easier, otherwise I'll just be trying to keep my baby happy and well fed!
Where can we find your designs?
As of right now the best place to see my designs is on my facebook What Lydia Made or my Instagram @WHATLYDIAMADE, my website whatlydiamade.com has a lot of work on it as well, but I'm ashamed to say it hasn't been updated in quite some time!