Studio pop-in with Rosanna Ford

pins.jpg
birdseye.jpg
From the student halls of Central Saint Martins, to the glamorous workrooms of Diane Von Furstenberg, to the evocative craft villages in India - it seems you have followed your heart in a very constructive manner, entwining your passion of textiles and traveling. I've been so lucky to be able to visit and work in all the places I have. I've gathered so much inspiration along the way, particularly from my visits to India, which shaped my work and the way I see the world in equal measure. I think my travels allow me to access my creativity like nothing else, and if necessary I'll use imagined journeys to get going. The ultimate journey to follow my heart is the one I took to be with my husband in Australia. Now I'm in the happy position of enjoying this incredible country as a permanent traveller. You have an impressive repertoire of traditional surface embellishment techniques. Have you been able to apply this knowledge as much as you had hoped? What do you think the future holds for these ancient skills? When I started teaching textiles I set out to prove to my students that these techniques didn't have to just be about craft, but also about cutting edge design. I looked for examples of specific techniques on the catwalk to show my students that they really are relevant and I surprised even myself with how many examples I could find. You'll never see these unusual and time consuming techniques at the lower end of the market, but for anyone creating something special, techniques like cording give an incredibly modern look, partly because they've been largely forgotten. I love seeking out more and more obscure techniques from history and reworking them into pieces that look fresh and contemporary. Dropping names here, but what was it like to work for the incomparable Grayson Perry?  I created an opera jacket for his collection of costumes, which he wears in his professional appearances. He's such an intelligent and down to earth person, but also a surprisingly difficult customer because he didn't just want to look like a flamboyant cross dresser, but wanted to minimise his waist, show off his legs but look good in flat shoes (years of high heels ruined his back). He gave an incredibly entertaining and detailed brief, and what I chose to take from it was his love of astrology and maps, and his interest in bondage, which led me to Japanese rope bondage and ultimately cording. So I have a lot to thank him for because this is now one of my favourite techniques.  Rosanna Ford is a stunning (and ethical) bridal design label. Describe the dress you are creating for your own wedding this year. I love sharing ideas and I'm also a bit of a gossip, so it's been hard keeping it under wraps! I won't give too much away, but I'm using a vintage lace harvested from a wedding dress I bought a couple of years ago at a market, as well as Fairtrade hand-loomed silk from Cambodia. It's very true to the aesthetic of my collections, which is fairly minimal in silhouette, with the fabrics doing the talking, and a modern look underpinned with a bit of vintage. I've already previewed the jacket that will go with it - comfort is a big factor in my designs and I want to keep warm on the day. It's been a strange experience being my own customer, and I could have created a hundred dresses so settling on just one design has been hard.  Rosie is leading both the Cording class on Saturday  the 18th of April and the Trapping class on Saturday the 23rd of May.  All photos courtesy of Heartland.

From the student halls of Central Saint Martins, to the glamorous workrooms of Diane Von Furstenberg, to the evocative craft villages in India - it seems you have followed your heart in a very constructive manner, entwining your passion of textiles and traveling.
I've been so lucky to be able to visit and work in all the places I have. I've gathered so much inspiration along the way, particularly from my visits to India, which shaped my work and the way I see the world in equal measure. I think my travels allow me to access my creativity like nothing else, and if necessary I'll use imagined journeys to get going. The ultimate journey to follow my heart is the one I took to be with my husband in Australia. Now I'm in the happy position of enjoying this incredible country as a permanent traveller.

You have an impressive repertoire of traditional surface embellishment techniques. Have you been able to apply this knowledge as much as you had hoped? What do you think the future holds for these ancient skills?
When I started teaching textiles I set out to prove to my students that these techniques didn't have to just be about craft, but also about cutting edge design. I looked for examples of specific techniques on the catwalk to show my students that they really are relevant and I surprised even myself with how many examples I could find. You'll never see these unusual and time consuming techniques at the lower end of the market, but for anyone creating something special, techniques like cording give an incredibly modern look, partly because they've been largely forgotten. I love seeking out more and more obscure techniques from history and reworking them into pieces that look fresh and contemporary.

Dropping names here, but what was it like to work for the incomparable Grayson Perry? 
I created an opera jacket for his collection of costumes, which he wears in his professional appearances. He's such an intelligent and down to earth person, but also a surprisingly difficult customer because he didn't just want to look like a flamboyant cross dresser, but wanted to minimise his waist, show off his legs but look good in flat shoes (years of high heels ruined his back). He gave an incredibly entertaining and detailed brief, and what I chose to take from it was his love of astrology and maps, and his interest in bondage, which led me to Japanese rope bondage and ultimately cording. So I have a lot to thank him for because this is now one of my favourite techniques. 

Rosanna Ford is a stunning (and ethical) bridal design label. Describe the dress you are creating for your own wedding this year.
I love sharing ideas and I'm also a bit of a gossip, so it's been hard keeping it under wraps! I won't give too much away, but I'm using a vintage lace harvested from a wedding dress I bought a couple of years ago at a market, as well as Fairtrade hand-loomed silk from Cambodia. It's very true to the aesthetic of my collections, which is fairly minimal in silhouette, with the fabrics doing the talking, and a modern look underpinned with a bit of vintage. I've already previewed the jacket that will go with it - comfort is a big factor in my designs and I want to keep warm on the day. It's been a strange experience being my own customer, and I could have created a hundred dresses so settling on just one design has been hard. 

Rosie is leading both the Cording class on Saturday  the 18th of April and the Trapping class on Saturday the 23rd of May.

 All photos courtesy of Heartland.