Five Go Mad

Wednesday 22 September 2010

Q and A with Louise Presley of Hope and Elvis

Louise Presley a professional artist and qualified adult tutor runs private day workshops from her studio in the stunning location of Welbeck Abbey, North Nottinghamshire. Holding an extensive and fascinating collection of vintage and salvaged materials, Louise invites people to create something personal to them, something for the home, a friend, or gifts for yourself. With the range of materials available on the course, you have the chance to create something that is truly a one off.

How did Hope and Elvis start up?
I was made redundant from the textile industry and I decided it was an opportunity to follow my instincts.

What's your background?
I have been collecting and making things since childhood. I studied Fashion and worked in the industry as a fabric designer for an international company. Recently I completed a Masters in Fine Art.

What's your earliest memory of being creative? 
I was about ten years old and bought myself a sewing machine from the mini ads in the local newspaper. I just kept fiddling with it until I worked out how to make it sew. I made clothes for my tiny tears.

Have you always loved making things? 
I have always loved collecting things. Making things became a by product of that, the things I collected were always in need of repair or in some way in need of re-loving.

Why did you decide to start running courses? 
I was invited to run a handbag workshop by a Gallery and they filled the spaces three times over so I realised there was a need. I also enjoyed sharing my ideas and fabrics. It's so gratifying to see discarded textiles items given a new life and a new sense of purpose. It also means I can keep on finding things without feeling guilty about the amount I have!

Tell us about your studio?
The studio is part of The Harley Foundation which is a charitable trust, set up in 1977 to promote the visual arts and crafts and to ensure the continuation of specialist craft skills in an age of mass production. Located on the private Estate of Welbeck, Nottinghamshire at the northern most tip of Sherwood Forest it covers the site of the Estate's Victorian gasworks and kitchen garden.

Who are your courses suitable for? Do you need any prior experience?
The courses are open to all no matter what ability or experience as the focus of the day is to support and develop ideas, skills and creative confidence. From the novice to the professional everyone seems to go home with a smile on their face.

Where do you source your vintage fabrics and materials?
Most people ask me where I find all my materials but I always have the same answer, it's absolutely everywhere I go! It's just a matter of seeing things differently I think. I still have vintage garments that I bought from the jumble sale when I was a child, there is no hope for me!

What comes to mind when you think "Quintessentially British"?
The Queen & Tea.

What's next for Hope and Elvis?
I am about to open a shop area in the studio for people who come on workshops. After all the years of collecting its now time to get tough and start sharing all the treasure!

Liz Appleby


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26 September 2022 at 19:11  

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