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    Mae Finlayson, Contemporary Textile Artist

    Mae Finlayson
    Contemporary Textile Artist

    What is your professional or training background?
    I lived in London for 15 years and studied textiles for 6 of them! I completed the BA(Hons) at Goldsmiths College University of London, which was a very fine art based textiles degree, and I received my Masters in Constructed Textiles from the Royal College of Art.

    While still at college and for a time after graduating, I worked for the genius hat makers Bernstock/Spiers who designed the topless straw hat that Kylie wore on her first ever album cover. After college I had my own clothing label for a while and also made costumes and one off fashion pieces for exhibitions and ad campaigns. One of the best jobs I had was helping to develop a vintage fabric and print archive that we exhibitied and sold at international textile trade fairs such as Premiere Vision in Paris and Direction in New York.

    Although I LOVE fashion, an equally huge passion for me is creating art works that combine print and stitch and weave and knit - and during 2008 and 2009, before returning home to Melbourne, I had two solo exhibitions and began teaching creative stitched textiles.

    What do you make, create or do?
    I work in different ways to produce embroideries that use stitch as a form of expression rather than simply decoration. I call it CRART - where art meets craft or 'craft with concept'.

    I sometimes print photographs onto canvas and stitch into them mixing up imagery and materials, or other times I take drawings and stitch them out by juxtaposing traditional and non traditional embroidery techniques. I like to use a lot of found fabrics and old haberdasheries.

    What other creative areas would you like to explore as a side-project to your current work, or move into full-time?
    I would love to work on some collaborative projects in art or fashion or furniture or ceramics... mmmm embroidered ceramics...

    What skills do you have that help you run your business, or what skills would you like to develop?
    I'm lucky enough to have craft skills that people want to learn and even luckier that I love teaching them. I am currently running creative stitched textile classes at Gallery Grangie.

    I would like to be better at time management (everything ALWAYS takes 10 times longer than I think it will) and marketing my work. I'm really only interested in the creating bit - the rest seems so daunting and a bit boring - but it really is a necessary evil. I have recently been introduced to a business coach who specialises in helping artists and designers make a career from their talent and passions.

    List five people, businesses or websites/blogs that keep you motivated and inspired, and why?
    + I studied with Cath and Maxine at the Royal College of Art in London. Setting up on your own and building your brand is HARD HARD work with many ups and downs, but both of these talented textile ladies are an inspiration to me with their never ending drive and determination.

    + My cousin Grant Nimmo is a melbourne based artist who creates amazing paintings that make me smile.

    + Vinh Van Lam is teaching me how to 'attain goals' and 'honour my creative spirit' - which all sounds good to me.

    + and Susan is a gorgeous new friend I have made on the Melbourne craft circuit who introduced me to Tess and the very excellent Creative Women's Circle.

    Contact Mae via her blog at http://thimblism.blogspot.com/

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    Posted by: Tess McCabe
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