Chelache creates knitted accessories for women and men in Hackney. She won the Textile Designer of the Year Award in 2015 so don’t miss the chance to see her products MADE London - Canary Wharf
Interested in finding out more about her work? Read our interview below!
1. How and when did you want to be a maker and how did you start to realise that aim?
I've been knitting since I was six and have always loved crafts and making things. I studied Constructed Textiles at university and worked in the fashion industry for many years, first as a knitwear designer and then as a production manager for high end fashion labels. I missed being creative and making things which drove me to start making again and share my own designs with the world!
2. Who did you learn from, who inspires you? What or who were your early influences and how has your life/upbringing influenced your work?
My Irish grandmother taught me to knit when I was just six years old. She was a prolific knitter who never used a pattern and clothed the whole family in chunky aran designs in many colours. Aged eighteen I left home and moved to Vienna for a year where I fell in love with the work of Austrian artists Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt amongst others. Fine art is still one of the biggest inspirations in my work and I make sure to go to as many exhibitions as I can.
3. What is your chosen medium and what are your techniques? Tell us a bit about your process and what environment you like to work in?
I'm a knitwear designer, working with textiles and building shapes, patterns and textures with yarn. I'm obsessed with colour and I find yarn is the most vibrant way to express it. I use vintage industrial, hand-operated knitting machines in my home studio and hand knitting whenever I'm out and about and in a queue or on a bus. At the moment I'm using space dyed cotton to create lacy summer scarf and berets.
4. How has your work developed since you began and how do you see it evolving in the future?
It has become ever more colourful! I started by using very muted colours and concentrating perhaps more on texture, but now my main trademark is my use of and blending of colour.
5. Which book would you recommend as inspiration?
Any catalogue from an exhibition that has excited you. I'm currently poring over Dada Africa, from an exhibition I saw in Paris recently. Unfortunately my French isn't really good enough to read the text, but the images fill me with inspiration and ideas.