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Maker in Focus - Jan Knibbs

Maker in Focus - Jan Knibbs

Jan Knibbs specialises in embroidered bridal wear, and won the Embroidery category in the British Bridal Awards in 2001. Jan continued to improve her couture embroidery skills by studying for an MA at Bath Spa University, where she developed a range of embroidered jewellery incorporating her signature style of embroidery with vintage finds for her label “something old…something new”.

Jan now uses all her skills to create both bridal wear, accessories, jewellery and wearable art, perfect for dressing up on and off stage

What did you want to be when growing up?

When I was growing up I wanted to be either a ballerina or fashion designer and started designing
and making my own clothes as a teenager.

What training have your been through to get where you are now?

At school I was good at languages but it was always Art that was my favourite subject and I started going to the local Art College to do Art A level. I continued to do my Foundation Year there and spent a year on a Weave course but it was always surface embellishment that interested me most so I applied to do a degree at Loughborough as they offered Embroidery. Years later I did an MA at Bath Spa University.

How long have you been a member of the Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen?

I’ve been a member of the Guild for over two years.

What does your average working day look like?

My practice has usually had to fit in with looking after children or family members so I work when I can
although I was able to have my own shop for three years which gave me more structure.

What’s the best thing about your work?

The best thing about my work is that my love for embroidery has always been the one constant solace through life’s ups and downs.

What’s the worst thing about your work?

The worst thing is that it’s incredibly hard to make money from such a niche product but that has never been my main motivation.

Who or what is your inspiration/motivation?

I’m constantly inspired by nature and the changing seasons but also by the incredible work of couture designers such as Alexander McQueen, Christian Lacroix and Dolce and Gabbana. I admire their vision, incredible imagination and attention to detail.

Have you worked on any special commissions recently?

I’ve recently made several outfits for Jackie Llewelyn-Bowen for a photo shoot for Hello magazine and she also borrowed one of my outfits to wear to J.K.Rowling’s New Years Eve Party.

What do you do to take time out?

If I have any spare time I love going to the theatre or ballet and if I hadn’t been a designer maybe I would have been a ballerina!

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