Eva Walters – Jewellery, cross stitch, photography
Can you tell us about yourself and your background as an artist/maker?
Having held a pencil in my hand from a very young age, I graduated from Central St. Martin’s in London as a textile designer in 1970 and immediately started my career as a freelance textile designer. I did this for nearly thirty years, travelling all over Europe, the US and Canada, selling designs to textile manufacturers and greeting card companies.
In the late nineties, inspired by a trip to Thailand, I started designing and making cross-stitch kits based on the motifs of the colourful textiles embroidered by women from around the world on their clothing and household goods. I sold these to Liberty of London and other, smaller needlework shops around England and in the Netherlands.
As an accessory to these kits I started using beads as embellishments and thus became engrossed in the wonderful semi-precious stone and Czech glass beads which were available. So began my interest in costume jewellery and I started making necklaces, bracelets and earrings, which I now sell alongside my cross-stitch kits.
Tell us a bit about your creative process.
I have travelled through Europe, the Middle and Far East to find ethnic textiles which interest me. I then translate the textiles into cross-stitch and then proceed to make them into panels for bags, cushions, bookmarks, needle cases, scissor keepers, scissor cases and trinket boxes. It can take anything from one week to one month to design these artefacts, depending on size and complexity. I do not make drawings but work directly on the Aida fabric, letting the colours of threads and shapes of motifs direct the design. The jewellery making is a similar process, with the varying beads and colours dictating the design.
Where you do usually work from?
When we moved to Worcestershire six years ago I had outgrown the bedroom which I had used as a studio. We found a beautiful thatched black and white cottage with an amazing view and a purpose-built office attached to the house, built in a complementary style. I filled the white room with white shelves and two white worktops along two sides. My computer and printer sit on one work top and I work on the jewellery on the other worktop, surrounded by organised boxes of beads. My cross-stitch kit materials fill boxes on the shelves together with wall full of textile books. The room has double door which opens on to the spectacular view. The room is quite large and also contains white filing cabinets and a white plan chest.
Have you developed any unique or unusual techniques in your work?
I have kept the cross-stitch very simple, adding only a little running-stitch or long stitch in some of the designs, as some people are a little wary of other more complicated stitches. The arrangement of colours and the smallish size of the stitches are enough to make the designs appear more complicated than they really are.
In the jewellery I like to use bead-weaving techniques, as they make the jewellery more interesting. My jewellery designs are one-off designs and not kits.
Tell us about a favourite piece of work and what it means to you.
I have done so much creative work in my long career(s) that I cannot say which are my favourite pieces. I think the favourite piece is always the one which I am about to start!
What is your biggest source of inspiration?
As far as the cross-stitch is concerned, it is always the talent of women who live often in remote and far-off places who produce such beautiful and colourful handiwork, which is sometimes unknown to us in the so-called civilised world.
I was originally inspired by the beautiful stone work and mosaic work in Venice to produce the jewellery, but also the talent of the Czech glass workers.
What advice would you have for artists who are just starting out?
Do not be deterred by anything people say about you wanting to be an artist. Follow your heart and work hard. Do not be discouraged by others saying that they could do just as well as you – just show your determination to succeed.
If you sell your work, can you tell us more about how you do this?
Things have changed a lot since I started out. I have always found that selling my work in person is the best way. I have found that to have an agent is not to get the best results. I always travelled extensively to sell my designs . Now I do it at trade fairs or even craft fairs, as I no longer wish to travel so much.
How has lockdown changed your creative process?
Not at all. It has been difficult to sell during lockdown but it has increased the time I have had to produce new work.
Tell us about any future projects you have planned.
I intend to show my work at Worcestershire Open Studios.
I also have exhibitions at:
• 11am to 4pm on 3rd and 4th July 2021, Open Gardens Scheme, The Lodge, Dodderhill Common, Hanbury, Worcestershire, B60 4AU
• 13th November 2021, Worcester Craft Fair, Worcester Guild Hall, High Street, Worcester, WR1 2EY
• 27th & 28th November 2021, Worcester Craft Fair, Worcester Guildhall, High Street, Worcester, WR1 2EY
• 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th December 2021, Worcester Victorian Fair, Worcester Guildhall, High Street, Worcester, WR1 2EY
• 11th & 12th December 2021, Worcestershire Christmas Craft Fair, Worcester Guildhall, High Street, Worcester, WR1 2E
See more of Eva’s work on her Worcestershire Artists page.External website links: