In September 2022, a stall at the Ely market caught my attention, not just because every woven piece was beautiful, but because I saw at the far end of the table a small weaving loom, which made me think, quite rightly, that the creator of these lovely pieces was worth having a chat with.
Rosie-may Greenbank is a traditional hand-weaver, cloth designer, maker, photographer, and web designer. Working with heritage skills to create artisan cloth, she uses traditional wooden looms, very much in the same way weavers have for hundreds of years. During the first lockdown she set up her business Mays Wonderfully Woven with the help of the Prince’s Trust. She designs and weaves artisanal cloth, which is then hand-crafted into a variety of bespoke apparel, furnishings, and gifts.
In this episode, Rosie-may shares her take on creativity and her creative process, from having a specific inspiration point – a colour or yarn, a visit to Bletchley Park, or the sharp contours of a piece of metal or even paper – to drawing and creating a design based on a series of numbers in a grid system, which she translates into a piece of woven cloth.
To her, weave is a language. Her designs are meticulously planned, allowing her to have a flexible approach when creating her pieces, to experiment and immerse herself in the flow of weaving.
Rosie-may describes the magic of building fabric, effectively creating a piece out of nothing, how the tradition of weaving has been passed on through generations, the emotional connection she has with each piece she weaves and the pride she takes in not only carrying out such a tradition, but in making it accessible to others through her online tutorials.
Fabric, as she reminds us beautifully, is an integral part of our lives and each of her pieces has a unique story. This conversation made me want to grab a pencil and draw, so I hope you enjoy it and will feel equally inspired by it!
Meet the women working wonders with thread
ABOUT THE CREATIVITY FOR ALL PODCAST
A maths teacher can be creative. So can a financial adviser, a community builder, and a yoga teacher. Not to mention a speed painter, a potter, or an actor!
Creativity is everywhere and I love nothing more than to explore it in The Creativity for All Podcast, either by focusing on a theme – such as perfectionism, feeding your creative brain, or the pressure to be creative – in my solo episodes, or through my conversations with all manner of creative people.
I want to challenge the perception of creativity and, in the process, debunk many myths attached to it: it's painful, for artists and the chosen few, etc. My guests and I are keen to zoom in and dissect the origin of an idea, the impulse that makes us engage with our own creativity, with the hope that it will inspire listeners to get creative too. My podcast is designed for anyone who’s already being creative, or is tempted to use their creativity, in particular those of you who think they are not creative or can never be. I would love to change your mind!