I’m Holly; I'm 23 and I am a textile designer/maker based in North Somerset. To start from the very beginning I first discovered textiles in secondary school where I chose it as a GCSE and then went onto study it at A-level. Through my school years when choosing a project for textiles it was important for me to choose topics I related to. To name a few, I have created projects around Kenya, following a 16 day (life changing!) visit; I also created a project all about Pelham puppets which had a link to me as my Grandfather was a children’s entertainer. A fun project I took part in was one all about sweets – I grew up with my Mum running the local village shop, inside included over 100 jars of sweets which plastered the back wall. For this project I created a chair which could be sat in to admire the jar covered wall. The chair was inspired by liquorice allsorts and retro designs. The colours I used were a cobalt blue, mustard yellow and baby pink which added a pop of colour to the surroundings.
Hello, here's my story...
Following that love of textiles I made cushions and book covers for friends and family outside of education. The reaction was that I should sell them to a wider audience so that’s exactly what I did. I went on a long walk one day when I was 15 and I thought long and hard about a business that I could create that was all about sewing and would give me a little bit of pocket money but doing something I enjoy. After a long think I came up with ‘StitchItWithStyle’. I attended many local craft fairs in the early days which enabled me to get an idea for my customers and what they wanted. I then took to the wonderful (but scary) online world where I used Instagram and Facebook to show my customers my makes. In the 6 years of StitchItWithStyle I was asked to create some wonderful things, my favourite being the birthday items. I worked alongside many photography companies supplying birthday crowns, hats and badges for little ones. For the first five years of StitchItWithStyle I worked from my desk in my box bedroom. In 2016 my parents kindly offered to build me my very own workshop in the garden. It was great - until it got cold in the winter and I'd be huddled around a heater to keep warm. I now work from the warmth of my cottage just outside of Clevedon.
So that’s school done. I then went onto think about university and if this path was the right one for me and if I would benefit from having a degree in my textile field. I decided to go for it. After looking around many universities and attending a few interviews I got a place to study textiles in Cardiff. University is an experience – I wouldn’t particularly say I enjoyed every moment I would say those three years made me see life from a different way and although university is fun, it was my loneliest three years.
During my first year I lived in halls with 7 other students that I didn’t know previously – without my business in first year I truly believe I would never have finished first year. It was my escape and something that kept my mind busy from thinking about living in halls. I ended up moving flats in halls to one where the students were a lot more welcoming of my ‘prefer to stay in than a night out’ kind of ways! I am incredibly thankful to certain individuals who helped me in that difficult year. After that I started to enjoy university life a lot more and getting into a routine of uni, coming back to halls, cooking tea then cracking on with StitchItWithStlye work. Onto my second year – it’s a year I look back on and feel I lost my way. I feel I lost who ‘Holly’ was and I was looking for something that wasn’t quite there. My university studies carried on but it wasn’t something I really enjoyed like previous years. I missed those nights when studying GCSE that I would sit with my sketch book filling up pages until the book was bursting at the spine – I needed to get the Holly textiles buzz back. After a long summer back at home after my second year I was over university I just wanted to start ‘life’. Over summer 2016 lots happened which have made me love, me again. I lost over 2 stone in weight and am currently still losing! With that weight I feel a lot of negativity went with that. As cheesy as this may be I feel in life I should never regret anything, because once in my life I thought it was the right thing to do and it made me happy at that time. Ooo this is getting deep! Ha-ha!
To start my third and final year I actually felt like a new woman. I was ready to tackle third year head on and get my Bachelor of Arts degree in summer.
I try to be a positive person and although we have our down days I am an overall happy person – a lot of this is to do with my Mum, a woman who is my best friend and someone I can confide in whatever the matter. She’s full of great ideas and positivity that always lifts me and encourages me to come back fighting. Back to third year I firstly had a greetings card project which I called ‘Holly’s Sweet Treats’ and I created fun stitches that were on cards which had recipes inside to create biscuits for an activity for children. In my third year my friendships really blossomed and I can say third year was my favourite. My final project to end my three years of uni was my favourite to date. The Ted and Tilly Adventures – I wrote short stories and created 31 fabrics samples as part of a children’s interior range. This story writing is a new love I have found and something I hope to develop as I currently have new stories in the works! StitchItWithStyle has been with me through all of that but I decided it was time for a change. As I grew older I wanted to add more ‘me’ into my business and really push it in the direction I wanted to. With some new products, some of the classics, same love and passion, in the summer of 2017, HollyEdwardsTextiles was born! I now work in a workshop a short walk from my house. My workspace is filled with fabrics, pompoms and lots of fairy lights. I also offer workshops where you can come to my workspace and learn about the wonderful world of sewing and textiles.
I hope my story inspires others to follow your dreams and your passions, no matter your age. If you need a nudge to start something you’ve always wanted let this story be that nudge. If you want something to happen go and grab it with both hands and don’t let anyone stop you.