Toast is a clothing company that has expanded into homeware. How does your fashion experience inform your quilt making?
My years in fashion taught me that making is crucial to me, but I don’t want to be dictated to by the seasonal collection model. Quilting is a way for me to make with textiles in a slower, more considered way, outside of fashion’s confines. Working in fashion has also given me an art direction and marketing point of view—useful as a solo maker where you have to wear all the hats.
Is the way you run House of Quinn different now?
When I was making clothes, I was really having to push it. I felt like I was jumping up and down in front of stockists and buyers to get them to notice. But when I started making these quilts, I didn’t have to anymore. I did a photo shoot, put it online and I had so many people contact me: stockists, buyers, press, customers and people that wanted to know about the quilting techniques. The enthusiasm for it makes it worth spending my evenings and weekends on. By integrating into the makers community, I’ve made so many close friends. Now I’m working with Toast, it’s incredible—I still can’t quite believe it’s actually happening!
Does working solo get lonely?
It’s difficult being in complete control; when I first graduated, I didn’t do well without a mentor figure. I do need to be by myself to recharge, but quilting is a long process and I have interns and volunteers that come in to help. I also invite friends, such as doctors who may not be outwardly creative, and show them what to do. They’ll be really good at it and surprise themselves. We become a small community of quilters just chatting away. It’s like history’s repeating itself.
This is the third in a series of profiles produced in partnership with Toast to mark the launch of the New Makers program; a long-term initiative to support emerging makers and foster contemporary craftsmanship. House of Quinn is one of five New Makers selected, alongside Alexandra Hewson, Takahashi McGil, Nicholas Shurey and Blue Firth.