Using the natural world as her inspiration, Millie Rose Chadwick has produced some ground-breaking works of textile art
Ribble Valley textile artist Millie Rose Chadwick made quite a name for herself as a student in Manchester producing large scale 3D tufted works of art.
Before going to university, Millie studied textiles, art and English at St Mary’s College in Blackburn.
“I started off painting and then hand stitching over my paintings, I then started printing my drawings using a lino cut on fabric then I stitched into the fabric. I love using different techniques.”
Having an interest in the natural world, Millie began using an unusual technique to inspire her course work: “I would grow mould in agar jelly then I would put my phone lens down a microscope and see the cell images, then I would produce drawings and embroidery samples based on what I saw.”
Her ingenious and unusual methods based on science and nature, won her a place on a Foundation course at Manchester School of Art, moving on to study for a degree in Textiles in Practice.
“When I started at university I didn’t really know what I would end up doing,” recalls Millie. “I found the course really interesting as it involved different areas of textiles including print, knitwear and 3D embroidery. During my second year, the 3D embroidery was something I worked on a lot using a tufting machine creating different textures. It became my new passion.”
Millie began creating rugs and contemporary textiles, again using the natural world as her inspiration, much of it based on cells and crystals: “It really pushed me out of my comfort zone from creating small detailed A4 size samples to much larger scale pieces. I worked with a mixture of sculpture, tufting and furniture which opened my mind to a mixture of possibilities.”
Among her collections produced at university was a series of tufted pieces inspired by the 1970’s ‘groove’ scene using a repeat pattern of the Greater Manchester map in a mixture of tufted colours.
A collection of her work was exhibited at MIAO – a Manchester art exhibition for which she produced all the catwalk installations in the form of rugs, armchairs and stools.
“It was based on Chinese embroidery mixed with Manchester culture. The work I produced featured lots of reds and greens,” recalls Millie, whose graduation show was based on human blood and vein cells.
“I have had some commercial interest in the rugs as I think the inspiration behind them are real talking points,” adds Millie, who is hoping to move to Berlin where she would like to open her own rug shop.
“I love Berlin, it is a fantastic city – full of art and culture. Doing what I do, it would definitely be the place where I would want to show my work.”
Millie is currently working with an animation artist in Brighton, who is creating a film promoting her work featuring rugs that she has created for a pop-up textile exhibition in Manchester on 7th November.
“My rugs are being exhibited and the animated film will be on the wall.”
Having a love of any sort of sewing, embroidery and tufting, Millie’s technique is constantly evolving.
She recently began experimenting with textile sculpture, making bowls using a technique whereby she knits a sculpted sample, dips it into concrete and places it on a balloon. When the balloon is popped a textured concrete bowl is revealed.
In previous projects Radio Limbo in Manchester asked Millie to produce an advertising campaign where she produced stitched samples using neon colours of the names of DJs, which were then transferred to digital print and she also produced posters and a logo in a redesign marketing project for Manchester-based independent record label Stutter & Twitch.
Having left university Millie now works from a studio at her home in Dutton near Ribchester: “I come from quite an artistic family,” she admits.
“My uncle is an architect and was involved in the redesign of Liverpool’s Everyman Theatre, which won the 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize, and my aunt is an artist in London.
“I paint a lot in my spare time in both acrylic and watercolour and that provides the inspiration for my textured work using a tufting gun. I really do have a passion for 3D work as it has enabled me to become much more adventurous. I get my inspiration from lots of different everyday things – I find myself looking at something and wondering how I can interpret it through my work.”