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Fran Reilly 

I have always had a love of fabrics and particularly enjoy repurposing vintage textiles with all of their hidden meaning and memories, into something new.


My love of crafting was sparked by my Italian grandmother who taught me to knit and crochet as a child.  As a teenager I was obsessed with patchwork, adding patches to my jeans, making patchwork bags.  I continued to sew in between working and having a family, but it was a friend who persuaded me to go along to a memory quilt workshop with her about 10 years ago that rekindled my passion.


I slowly progressed, attending workshops, joining and exhibiting with local groups.  I had a moment of realisation in 2015 when I was participating in an exhibition at Nature in Art in Gloucestershire.  My piece of work was chosen by the committee to be presented to the Duchess of Gloucester who came long to open the Exhibition.  This was a real vote of confidence for me.


This led to my enrolling onto the City & Guilds Machine Embroidery course at Malvern School of Art later that year.  Following the completion of this course a group of ex-students set up a Textile Art Group, and we continue to meet once a month in a studio to support and develop each other’s work, as well as curating our own exhibitions.


And now I’m a cliché of the Covid pandemic!  After 18 years in the NHS the time was right to change career and do what I had always wanted to develop my textile art into a full-time career.  2020 was the perfect time to do this.


In partnership with my sister, Dr Mary Harlow, (a Textile Historian and retired Senior Lecturer from Leicester University), we teach workshops in all the things we love, natural dyeing, indigo dyeing and Shibori stitch.  


There is always so much to learn and I continue to attend creative workshops.  I particularly enjoy the collaborative creative process with other participants and tutors.

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