Catching up with Felicity Alice
Felicity Billings is a bespoke British embroidery designer based in the UK. She has a first-class degree in Embroidery from the Royal School of Needlework and has won several awards; for Personal innovation and development, and received a commendation in 2020 for her contribution to the Bradford Textile Design Competition. Felicity runs her own embroidery studio completing commissions and independent embroidery projects. She also completes a diverse range of freelance work; couture fashion with Alexander McQueen to fine art with visual artist Susan Aldworth, and everything in between! We’re lucky enough to have Felicity partner with the Guild as a tutor for a short series of workshops called Embroidery Explorers!
We’ve had a chat to Felicity to find out more about the Embroidery Explorer’s workshops and her work as an embroidery designer
How did you get into embroidery as a career? I’ve always been the kid that loves crafts, and glitter (I’m a glitter fairy – getting glitter from one end of the house to the other in the blink of an eye!). I loved getting yarns and embroidery materials for Christmas and birthdays, and they have never left my side. At school, I enhanced my passion further with Textile design and then one thing led to another and I began my degree at the Royal School of Needlework – a dream that I’d never thought would come true to this day – but here we are a professional, couture embroiderer – doing the job I love every day.
Can you explain a bit about the Embroidery Explorers workshops and what they cover? Embroidery Explorers is two 2-hour experimental workshops that looks at the fundamentals of mark-making. You should expect to embark on a journey that allows you to let your imagination run free. We will experiment with a range of mixed media material and a contemporary twist on traditional stitch techniques. With supported tutor time and access to Explorers Stitch Bank* which is located on my website you will develop exploratory sampling – which will form the foundations of a contemporary “your style” piece. As we develop through the workshop, you’ll generate your own individual, mixed media embroidery piece that highlights your own unique hand embroidery style.
* The Felicity Alice, Explorer’s stitch bank is your one-stop shop for the workshops (ever evolving, additional support) for all you need to know to pick up a new skill or level up the skills you already have. With a stitch library, pictorials, diagrams and tips & tricks, you’re sure to find something to help you get creating.
Do you think you have a particular style? What influences your work? Whilst completing my degree, the monochromatic tones and textures of nature were the foundation for my work. Today, in my own practice, my preferred method is embracing a simple colour palette highlighted by a deep, rich accent colour. When working with clients I focus on the individual and their style – so I’m constantly changing to fit their brief.
What will those attending learn from attending the Embroidery Explorer workshops? The aim of workshops is to explore and create a piece of embroidery that reflects your own personality using mixed media, threads, paper, wire, ribbons, beads, the choice is yours. I would like workshop participants to be able go away more open to the world around them, alert to new potential inspiration sources – you never know what you might find! As the workshop leader I will be looking to boost each person’s confidence in what they can create and foster a BELIEF IN THEMSELVES – so often creatives can be dismissed or put down – you and your work matter!
What has been your favourite collaboration or commission to do date? Why was that? It’s hard to choose a favourite collaboration, they all hold a special place in my heart. I choose to work with those that hold the same values. If I was wrestled to the ground – from a personal point of view I would have to say, being part of the Main AW 2022 embroidery team in New York for Alexander McQueen and completing a bespoke butterfly scene to mark a special birthday were right at the top of my list. I love working with a diverse international range of people, communicating and building strong working relationships to meet tight deadlines. The McQueen collection can be seen over on their instagram page, and the picture here is a snippet of the Butterfly scene.
When you’re not creating beautiful embroidered art, what do you like to do in your free time? I live and breathe embroidery! A day doesn’t go by when I am not embroidering something. When I am having a bit of down time, I like learning new creative skills. At the moment I am learning to knit! Have to say a little bit tricky to get my head around, but where there’s a will there’s a way! Aside from that, I love, nature walks, and breathing fresh air into my lungs!
Felicity, thank you for talking to us, it’s been a pleasure finding out more about you and Embroidery Explorers workshops. We wish you all the best for your upcoming projects and look forward to partnering with you again on future workshops.
Felicity’s website: https://www.felicityalice.com/