Frosty and crisp, Autumn is nature’s way of displaying its finest beauties for all to see. Amanda Cobbett, a graduate from University of the Arts London, recreates nature’s beautiful gifts through the art of textile printing.
Reporter: Holly Patrick | Sub-Editor: James Brookes
She takes her inspiration from her surroundings; the migration of birds, psychedelic mushrooms and the moss-covered forest floors.
Voice of London spoke to her as she created charming mushrooms in her workshop in Dorking.
Voice of London: Can you remember what inspired your love for nature?
Amanda Cobbett: I grew up in the countryside and have always celebrated each season by collecting and gathering whatever has been on the ground.
Colour is such a massive part of my life, I love putting colours together in a collection and so Autumn is my favourite season!
Why did you choose to train as a printed textiles designer?
I learnt from a very young age to sew.
Both my grandmothers sewed and so does my mother. Textiles and pattern played an important part in my childhood.
I also love illustration so studying for a degree in printed textiles seemed the natural thing to do.
When do you feel most inspired?
I’m inspired when I’m out walking, I have time to think, observe nature and enjoy the fresh air, even if it’s raining the colours of the sky and shiny wet leaves are just lovely.
What is integral to you as an artist and your work?
A well-presented piece of work with a high level of finish is so important.
It has to be the best that it can be.
How has your practice changed from when you began?
When I graduated from UAL Chelsea, I went straight into a career as a printed textile designer which I loved but after having my second child and moving away from London, my priorities changed and I needed to find something that initially fitted in with family life.
My mother-in-law gave me a sewing machine with a free machine embroidery foot and encouraged me to try some new techniques.
I’d studied sculpture at A Level so making three-dimensional embroidery seems like I’ve come full circle.
What are the most beautiful fungi you have come across?
They are all so beautiful and in so many ways.
Their intricacy is astounding.
Many of the Mycena are tiny and would be missed if you never looked closely, so I suppose I love these little wonders but not necessarily a particular one.
What kind of research do you do?
I forage every day on my dog walks and photograph a lot.
I also love going to arts, culture and science exhibitions.
There is always something interesting to draw from these experiences even if it is just the colours that surround you each day.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
Someone said to me recently that when someone asks me how long each piece takes to make that I should say that it’s taken me 22 years of experience to get to this point!
I think sometimes we forget that a person’s ability to make something isn’t based on the actual time it took to make.
What is the most remarkable response you’ve had to your artwork?
Several times people have asked me how I preserve the mushrooms.
This makes me smile!
Do you prefer doing intricate designs or more simple ones?
I love intricacy and adding my own little secret threads to the work that might not be obvious at the time but in a certain light, they shine out or sparkle.
What future projects are you hoping to work on?
I’d love to do a whole wall installation for a restaurant, boutique or hotel.
I’m doing a warehouse in Detroit next year which will be fun.
I’d also love to work with a mycologist and curate a whole collection for somewhere like Kew.
Capturing nature in its truest form can be difficult, especially as the seasons seem to be changing at different times every year.
But, as long as we look after our planet, the inspirations behind Amanda’s incredible creations will never cease.