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A chat with our new resident artist, Abbie Brunskill

Abbie Brunskill is the latest addition to our Resident Artists at The Base. Abbie runs a clothing business, Abbie Louise Handmade Clothing, and is passionate about bringing her textile creations to life, catering for all different body shapes and sizes. We spoke to her to find out more...

Firstly, tell us a little bit about you, your background and the style of art that you produce?
My name is Abbie, I am 20 years old. For 12 years I have dealt with chronic conditions and poor mental health. From this I have grown my creativity and artistic ability from passion and pain. I am a big believer in everything happens for a reason and every experience shapes and moulds the amazing people we can be. One thing I am super grateful for is my natural ability to draw and paint, animals mostly, capturing their essence and personality. In 2018 I also began to sew; this swiftly became a business in 2019 that I continue to grow and love to date. I create funky, fun and flattering pieces that I make completely custom to my beautiful customers. I am passionate about creating new clothing designs and have even begun designing my own fabric.

Who, or what, are your inspirations - and how have they influenced your style?

I pull inspiration from all kinds of places. My own creations and ideas, the natural world, people I admire such as friends and clothing retailers that are popular. I often begin with finding fabrics that are visually pleasing in colour or pattern. From there I will consider what style of clothing would suit it best.

Do you have current favourite textile piece that you’ve produced so far?

The favourite thing I have produced is the wide leg trousers. I have selected stunning fabrics that work so well with this style and make for super unique outfits. The fit of the item itself I have developed to be super flattering.

The most recent fabric I have designed, I call it ‘flower power’ print, has to be one of my favourite fabric designs. It's amazingly simple with an eye capturing finish and hippie festival vibe that I adore. It works so well in many clothing items, I am currently designing a collection for my shop based just around this jazzy design.

Is there a typical process or pattern for you when it comes to taking an initial idea into a finished product?

My main process is trial and error! I begin with an idea and do a few quick sketches. I will then pick a fabric that will work well with the piece and begin cutting and sewing, checking against myself, a mannequin or friend as I go to make sure the shape works. Once I have practiced a few and know I can make them efficiently for different shapes and sizes I will then get them photographed and ready for public purchase.

I often make my items completely custom to my customers. I use their very own measurements and sizes and work with just these. No patterns! This allows room to be super creative and produce a beautifully unique piece.

If someone is interested in taking up fashion design – do you have any tips on how they can get started?

To someone taking up any creative/design project or job I would say mostly allow your passion to flow into the piece, allow experiments and mistakes as this will all lead you to creating a piece that is truly unique to you and special to others. Work with your style and things that capture your eye, this will allow you to create the piece to its full potential.

More specifically with sewing, practice of certain techniques is vital. I made the mistake of creating too many products at once and was not able to make them as well as I would have liked. Working with just a few items allows you are able to make them to a great standard and it is much more satisfying.

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Abbie. Next time you visit The Base, why not pop upstairs and see Abbie (along with our other Resident Artists) at work? Often we only see the final piece of art, but here, you have the chance to see the creative process from a whole array of artist mediums.