An interview with Aneela Hoey
I’ve got Aneela Hoey on the brain! Aneela’s new collection, A Walk in the Woods, arrived in the shop last week and I was so excited to finally have it in my hot little hands I wrote her a note to see if she’d do an interview for the blog. The very next day, she made a surprise visit to our London Modern Quilt Guild meeting. We did the interview over email a few days later and I asked a few of the same questions that came up in our discussion at the meeting so even if you weren’t at the meeting, it will feel like you were right there with us! Read on to get to know Aneela a bit better, then pop over to the shop to have a browse of A Walk in the Woods…
The Village Haberdashery: A Walk in the Woods has arrived! Can you tell us about your inspiration for the collection and why you’ve said it’s your favourite collection yet?
Aneela Hoey: The collection is inspired by my love of the little red riding hood tale and also by all the cute Japanese little red prints I’ve seen here and there online. A lot of the cute Japanese stuff is hard to find and often is printed on heavier base cloths, so I thought it might be an idea to do a whole collection on quilting cotton which is perfect for quilts, patchwork projects and clothing. When I designed the group I had been using Illustrator for just under a year but I felt that with these designs it was the first time I was getting the kind of hand sketch quality I was after so it is my favorite collection yet for that reason.
TVH: I can count at least three more things we can look forward to seeing from you this year – a new collection at Spring Market, a book and a Christmas collection! What are you most excited about?
AH: Everything! but especially the book because its a new avenue for me and also I have been working on it for almost two years now, all the glimpses I’ve seen of it are fantastic. excited isn’t the word!
TVH: You’ve said that people often think you were “discovered” but that’s not how you got your start in fabric design. What is the real story?
AH: I had a background in textile design having studied for a BA hons in printed textiles and then spent time designing at a few studios after college. More recently I had been designing prints on my computer, getting them printed at spoonflower and then selling them in my etsy shop. They seemed to sell really well so I thought maybe it was about time I looked into licencing my work to a fabric manufacturer and contacted Moda.
TVH: Why do you think that quilting, sewing and other crafts have become so popular recently, especially among younger women?
AH: I think crafting is an end in itself, often we make useful things like quilts, bags or clothes but creativity for its own sake is just important to some people. We need to make stuff. Crafting is a soothing pastime that helps counteract some of the unwanted stresses that life throws at us – dealing with stress at work or unruly kids at home, worrying about money etc. Doing some embroidery, a little knitting or maybe just pulling together some fabrics for a future quilt – simple as it may seem – can do a lot to calm you down and keep you going.
TVH: You have two little girls at home. Are you teaching them to sew? What do you love to make when it’s just for yourself and your family rather than your job?
AH: My girls are both keen sewers and embroiderers, I didn’t set out to teach them but they have always been fascinated by watching me sewing and eventually began asking if they could try too. Usually if they want to try something, I’ll help them out by printing a pattern or getting their supplies together but after than I let them do everything themselves while keeping a watchful eye. I try not to interfere or help too much and I emphasize the importance of the fun being in the doing and learning rather than always ending up with something that is perfect. Children often feel that what they make is wrong because it doesn’t look exactly the same book as the picture in the pattern/tutorial but I always point out that what they make has so much more personality. Most of what I make is for me and my family unless I’m making a gift – I like to make things to pretty up my house so lots of quilts, cushion covers, table runners and so on.
TVH: When you’re not sewing with your own fabrics, whose do you love to sew with?
AH: I love lots especially Denyse Schmidt, Heather Ross and Lizzy House.
TVH: What are some of your favourite blogs?
Thanks Aneela! If you can’t get enough of Aneela you can visit her blog here.