Q & A With Jacky Puzey

Award Winning Embroider Specialising in Luxury Home Furnishings 

Jacky is an award-winning specialist in embroidery who demonstrates natural creative flare to make some of the most luxurious embroidered products. Combining traditional embroidery skills with digital technology, Jacky can stitch stunning 3D tableaux that spans across furniture, walls and clothes. In her designs, Jacky uses a variety of materials including fur, velvet, organza and feathers to design rich, luxurious textures to really bring each piece to life. From interior screens to metallic bomber jackets, Jacky’s work is influenced by mythology, baroque decadence and punk rebellion. Each piece is intricately detailed, and her interior collections range from statement cocktail chairs through to couture embroidered wallpapers. Jacky creates stunning statement pieces and also undertakes bespoke commissions too.

Jacky launched her embroidery business in 2014 after testing her business model and ideas for two years. The business grew organically through her bespoke embroidered suits and textile artworks that she was creating while she was completing her PhD in Fashion, Textiles and Visual Culture at Bath Spa University. Drawing on her background in fine art, painting, installation and textile artworks as well as fashion and bespoke tailoring, Jacky decided to pursue her love for embroidery and colours to launch a new venture. In 2015 Jacky’s work was recognised with the Hand and Lock Prize for Embroidery. This was followed in 2016 when Jacky was selected to become part of Crafts Council UK’s National Hothouse scheme for designer makers and she also exhibited at New Designers, One Year On. Since then the business has gone from strength to strength where Jacky regularly showcases her work including bespoke luxury interior furnishings and wallpapers at events such as Decorex, Focus 2019 and London Craft Week. Jacky also exhibits her textile art pieces including attendance at an event, Material: Textiles at Messums Wiltshire in 2019. She has also exhibited her work with London Connoisseur through their website. Jacky’s work can also be found in many private collections and properties throughout the world including a private collection in Texas where a statement Parakeet Cocktail Chair sits alongside works by Yves Klein and other notable artists.

Every piece created by Jacky starts with a drawing. She maps out all of her ideas on huge boards which are displayed in her studio. It is here where the creative process really gets to work. She will collect and pin samples, browse through sketchbooks and undertake in depth product research to formulate unique, creative and eye catching designs. The hand drawn sketches are then transferred into digital format and the drawing continues to evolve using graphics software to convert the designs into a suitable format for design and embroidery. The designs are then brought to life using digital embroidery machines and the latest techniques to test ideas, stitches and fabric designs for new pieces. Much of her work uses laser cut applique along with layered fabrics and fibres within her designs. All of the production is carried out in house so Jacky can keep a close eye on the quality of the finished product. The upholsterers, printers and framers Jacky work with all share the same ethos so in a combined effort she can deliver some exquisite, embroidered pieces.

How did you start your embroidery and textile artworks business?

I launched my embroidery business in 2014, after testing my ideas and business model from2012. My business grew organically out of my bespoke embroidered suits and textile artworks I created while I was completing my PhD in Fashion, Textiles and Visual Culture at Bath Spa University. From a background in Fine Art, painting, installation and then textile artworks, fashion and bespoke tailoring, my love of embroidery and rich colours took over to start my business. I love the dual meanings of embroidery as both surface embellishment, and the metaphor of 'embroidering' or embellishing a story with beautiful details. In 2015 Iwon the Hand and Lock Prize for Embroidery. In 2016, I was selected to be part of the Crafts Council UK’s National Hothouse scheme for designer-makers and exhibited at New Designers One Year On in the same year. Both these events really boosted my business and my business plans, confirming my love of bespoke craftsmanship and rich, detailed, intricate embroideries, and my audience of global collectors and appreciators of my fusion of bespoke craftsmanship and contemporary textile art. Now I regularly showcase my bespoke luxury interior furnishings and wallpapers at Decorex, Focus 2019, and London Craft Week, and exhibit my textile art pieces, most recently for Material: Textiles at Messums Wiltshire 2019, and, in 2020, with London Connoisseur on their online site. My work can be found in private collections and houses across the world including, notably, a private collection in Texas where a statement Parakeet Cocktail Chairsits alongside works by Yves Klein and other artists.

What attracts you to the material and fabrics you use?

I love the textures and colours of my embroidered pieces, and the fusion of decorative luxury with the concepts and stories behind each piece. I use fabric I've designed and had custom printed for my work so that the print and embroidery combine to give a great sense of depth and colour. The concepts work with the embroidery, so for example the squirrel and pomegranate cushions began from a love of Persian and Indian textile patterns, from pomegranate motifs to Chintz stylised flowers and foliage, but the design becomes a contemporary take on this, as urban grey squirrels take over on an abandoned country estate garden, and the foliage runs wild from the glasshouses. The feeling of the velvet and embroidery is plush and tactile, and the concept gives added creative interest for me.

"Everything starts with drawing - I draw out all my ideas and have huge boards on my studio walls where those drawings and other inspirations and samples are all pinned, and big piles of sketchbooks and research images."

We would love to know how you make your bespoke embroidered cushions, what is the process behind the craft?

Everything starts with drawing - I draw out all my ideas and have huge boards on my studio walls where those drawings and other inspirations and samples are all pinned, and big piles of sketchbooks and research images. I then take my drawings onto the computers; drawing continues as I use the graphics tablet to turn the paper drawings into digital drawings for print design and embroidery. I work in digital embroidery, painstakingly creating embroidery samples stitch by stitch on the computer, then using my own digital embroidery machines to create the finished embroidery. First, I sample, to test the ideas and stitches and fabric designs for the new pieces. I use a lot of laser cut applique and layered fabrics and fibres within my designs, so I love to see how those interact in reality with the stitching and texture of the cushion fabrics. Then I will edit as required and begin production - as a craftsperson I have deliberately kept my production in house for the embroidery, so that I can oversee this from start to finish on all my pieces. My upholsterers, printers and framers share the same ethos, and we work together closely to produce the final pieces.

Where do you get your inspiration from for your designs?

My work is inspired by both the detail and depth of 19​th​ century landscape painting, and the desire to reflect 21​st​ century urban landscapes. The embroideries create a beautiful meditation on ideas of decoration, historical patterns and landscape. I love the exchange of patterns and pattern histories across cultures, from Chinoiserie to Chintz, from patterns that have moved from fashion to tradition and back again.  I love to carry out archival research into textile and wallpaper decorative patterns, working with conservators where I can, but I also inspire from contemporary fashion and busy multi-cultural city environments. What do you find the most exciting part of your work? I enjoy all of it  - the drawing, research and development is exciting, but as a craftsperson I also love the process of creating the finished pieces. I also like the bespoke process, when Iwork with a client on a piece that is particular to their home. What sustainable aspects are there to your brand? I only make to order or to bespoke, in order to work to a zero waste philosophy. All my threads are fully Oekotex certified, from German manufacturers who are leading the world currently in environmental standards. I use a printing process that does not impact water resources. The backing fabrics for my cushions are all from UK based companies who are working with recycled and natural fibres, and everything is made here in the UK, mostly by myself and my upholsterer based in Bristol.

The Design Buzz invites you to view all of Jacky Puzey’s embroidery and luxury home furnishings available for sale here.