Margo Selby

"my loom keeps me driven"

Tell us about your work

Weaving is my passion and the starting point for all I do whether it be a one-off art piece or a commercial design. The two are intrinsically linked and symbiotic.

Could you expand on that?

I’m pushing the boundaries of weaving to make different types of textiles, all stylish, bringing together the very best weavers and high quality fibres. I sell my hand-woven and batch-produced textiles through shops and galleries internationally. I am first and foremost a craftsperson and you can see the time spent designing on the loom in the final result. I work in an intensive and detailed way and I will often go through many versions of an idea before reaching the final design.

So how did you train?

I studied textile design at Chelsea College of Art and Design and then did a postgraduate degree at The Royal College of Art, graduating in 2001

What’s your design process?

Everything’s developed at the studio. We weave on hand looms and then process ideas with CAD (computer aided design).  I explore constructions and colour combinations on handlooms to find fibres and structures for new qualities and patterns. I then work on computer packages for bold graphic geometric artworks to turn into Jacquard fabrics. It’s even more important for me to keep hand-weaving since the business has become commercially successful. It’s being on a loom that keeps me driven and inspired.

Share some key moments in your career

Opening my Bloomsbury Craft gallery in 2007; and mentoring three students as part of the BBC’s Mastercrafts programme with Monty Don. Then I’ve collaborated with Alternative Flooring since 2015 – we’ve led the trend for patterned carpets. And I launched fabrics with Osborne & Little in 2016.

What’s your studio like?

My studio (open to the public) is an old abattoir in central Whitstable, with its thriving creative community. I live locally and walk to the studio. I have a team of eight women – lots of light and a great working atmosphere. I just love coming to work.

Ambitions?

I want to keep pushing the boundaries of decorative woven fabric, embracing collaboration and innovation along the way.

A few words of advice?

Have a very clear vision of who you are and your business goals. Then it’s easy to understand whether opportunities can add value to your business – the value isn’t always monetary. Lots of projects will bring you knowledge, experience and exposure.