Self taught textile artist Nicky Grace started collecting vintage fabrics in the 90’s and began making appliqué pictures, bunting, patchwork quilts and other gorgeous crafts. Since then she’s gone on to work with Cath Kidston, and has recently opened up a beautiful green shed in her garden where she teaches crafts, and hosts workshops for children and adults. She also hosts open house events and pop up shops in her colourful home which has been featured in Selina Lakes book Pretty Pastel Style. We had a chat over a cup of tea (in vintage tea cups of course), to find out more about the crafty fabric collector in N10.
1. When are you happiest? What initially captured your imagination about making things with vintage fabrics?
Just the wonderful colours and patterns. I started making vintage fabric bunting about 25 years ago for my son’s bedrooms. I didn’t have a sewing machine so I did it by hand and It developed from there.
2. What inspires you?
What inspires me in life is food, colour, flowers, kindness, animals, generosity, great comedy – and good customer service.
3. When are you happiest?
I’m happiest with my friends and my children.
4. You’ve recently opened up The Green Shed in your garden for craft workshops and events – What do you love most about teaching people?
I love seeing people’s enjoyment when they’re creating things with the fabric that I’ve been collecting all these years and The Green Shed is such a lovely place to be. It’s like a beach hut in the countryside.
5. Do you have time for personal craft projects, if so, what are you making right now?
There’s a lot of fabric preparation for my workshops and children’s parties so that’s what I do at the moment – Sorting, washing and ironing.
6. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people.
I’m half Dutch and I was a florist for 10 years in my twenties.
7. If you could invite any three people from history to dinner, who would you invite?
I’d invite my grandma, my sister and Spike Milligan. If only it could actually happen.
8. Your house is very colourful and has been featured in Selina Lakes book Pretty Pastel Style. What’s your favourite room in your home, and why?
My favourite room is the kitchen because it’s where I spend a lot of time. It doubles up as an office, I can gaze out at the garden and I’m never more that 3 feet away from the fridge!
9. What areas of your work or personal development are you hoping to explore further?
I’m hoping to do more children’s craft parties and vintage fabric collage workshops for adults. It’s lovely being in The Shed and I love sharing it with people.
10. What’s the last thing that made you say ‘wow’?
The last time I said Wow is when I had a ‘panini tuna melt’ at the Grove cafe at Ally Pally where I walk the dog. The owner plays loud Italian opera music. I think the bread had been fried in olive oil and it was one of the most unexpectedly delicious things I’ve ever eaten.