10 bullet points ABOUT A…
The Collagist is Charlotte MacMillan.
I am the daughter of a secret knitter, embroiderer and crocheter..that was my Dad. My mum taught me to sew, paint and that being the only female in a drag show can only be a good thing.
I went to Art School. I dipped out before I completed my Fine Art Degree to do something creative that would pay the bills….little did I know that photography would be 70% hard hustling for work and 30% trying to get paid. I was not good at achieving either.
I got a post graduate diploma Photojournalism at UAL when the course was in its infancy. I was taught by 3 Magnum Photographers who reignited my love for storytelling through imagery. I was nominated for the Ian Parry Photojournalism Award for my portrait series ‘Recovery Rooms’.
While carrying out portrait commissions for The Telegraph Magazine, I worked for Mario Testino as part of his retouching team. I retouched the first photographs of Brangelina’s baby bump.
When I was pregnant with my first child, my husband bought me a sewing machine. In between vomits, I sewed a monster out of a cashmere jumper I had shrunk in the wash.
I have 3 needlepoint kits that I completed after a break-up. You can tell by the tension of the stitches how I felt about that person; tight and distorted. I can now look at most of my stitched work and remember what I was feeling at the time.
I was so appalled by the secret recording of Donald Trump’s “grab them by the pussy” quote that I thought it should be sewn for preservation. That was when I became obsessed with Embroidery.
I have two mechanical babies…one is a Juki LZ 271 freehand embroidery machine and the other is a 1855 Cornely chainstitcher. Both require different techniques akin to rubbing your belly and patting your head at the same time.
I love collaborative projects and thrive on creating designs that incorporate an array of techniques. From decorative surface design to outrageous and subversive subject matter, I see the beauty of embellishment and sewing as an art form in itself that can transform any item of clothing or household product. It also has a permanence - that’s why handmade or hand guided work will always be niche.