My Bag

artisan collection

Meet The Makers: Charlotte Edey

We’re bringing the Artisan collection to life with beautiful crafts from around the world. The jewellery has been shot on four amazing makers in their studios & first up is Charlotte Edey. A London based artist & illustrator working across print, tapestry and embroidery. Myth, mysticism and femininity are at the heart of Charlotte's work.

How did you first get into art & illustration?
I spent so much of my childhood reading - usually fantasy - which definitely staged an interest in world-building. I suppose trying to visualise what I couldn't see was what made me fall in love with drawing, it was like learning a language.

What is your favourite medium?
Drawing has always been the base of my practice and is the most immediate way I communicate. I see most of my material exploration as an extension of drawing; the tapestries are pencil drawings translated via digital jacquard loom and the satin-stitch embroidery follows a similar pattern to line drawing. Drawing feels most intuitive but textile is most exciting. I think the material relation of textile to the themes in my work is the most in line with my outlook.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I read a lot. A lot of my work is concerned with the politics of space, centered on the experience of women of colour: who can occupy it, and the spatial structuring we navigate. The present limitations of this lend themself to seeking the sublime. I find imagining a parallel existence quietly powerful. 
I think often about the Octavia Butler quote 'There's nothing new under the sun, but there are new suns'.

How have you found lockdown & what have you learnt about yourself during this time?

I'm still adjusting, it's stranger than fiction. Primarily, I'm a lot more conscious of the vulnerability of myself and my loved ones and feel gratitude often, which is healthy and important. I value the luxury of having time during this period, the ability to listen, and to make. I miss and don't miss elements of my past life in equal measure.

What are your most popular pieces?

It differs offline and online, but I find the tapestry works tend to provoke the most thought.

What’s been a favourite project you’ve worked on over the years?

My solo show 'Echolocation' at PUBLIC Gallery opened in September, the culmination of most of the year's work. I was really proud seeing the shared context and engagement of that finished body of work. It was followed by the Great Women Artists residency at Palazzo Monti in Brescia which really crystallised the intent from Echolocation. The residency set the tone for the works I've been making these last few months, with a playful exploration of altar panels and objects of desire.

Who are your favourite artists?

Betye Saar, Kay Sage, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Florine Stettheimer, Lenore Tawney, Agnes Pelton, too many to name!

What do you love about your craft?

It can be meditative, particularly embroidery, and I love the loose quietness of my work. It can feel like a sanctuary; I feel like I've really fallen in love with making again recently. A lot of my work is portable, I enjoy that it is adaptable. I have been very lucky to work in different places across the world and see how it informed my practice.

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you travel?
Mexico City

What is your favourite travel memory?
I rediscovered some scallop shells in lockdown that I found in the Paracas desert in Peru. There was a surreal amount of them half-covered by the sand, far inland, in the most beautiful tones of blue and pink. The Paracas desert is formed of soft pastel dunes, ringed by a red sand beach that meets the Pacific ocean. The idea that I was once cycling across that moonscape feels like another lifetime. The shells have lived in different places in my homes since and I keep coming back to them in my wor k recently. It holds a very special place for me.

Whats your favourite piece from the Artisan collection?
The beautiful basket pendant necklace!