Makers Tales


Makers insights – Philippa Brock

Our members talk about what has inspired them, how they work and how to survive as a maker.

Makers Tales Collective: Philippa, welcome to the Makers Tales Collective, we are really looking forward to working with you and sharing your story with the Makers Tales Collective audience. We would love to know a little more about talks about your design practice and the importance of breaking boundaries in your weaving, who has inspired you?

Philippa Brock: Ann Sutton OBE, has been a major influence on my woven textile practice as she supports the notion of taking risks and experimenting at all times with your creative practice to progress as a creative designer/artist.

My creative development has been massively supported by Neil Thomas’s continual support in letting me go wild on the Bonas power jacquard loom at the Gainsborough Weaving Company and not flinching!

Adam Briggs, my husband, is my greatest supporter, sounding board and critic.


MTC: Your working day must be very full with the combination of your creative practice and as leader of the Woven Textile Pathway at Central Saint Martins, not to mention all the research work you do?

 Philippa Brock: I have to make a very early start to my day, much of which is spent on admin and answering emails. My teaching takes up the next part of my day and then my design and weave development work is in concentrated blocks of time in thinking, designing and physical making of cloth.

MTC: What has been your most exciting project?

Philippa Brock: The Nobel Textile Project, 2008 where 5 textile designers each worked collaboratively with a Science Nobel Laureate, learning the science behind their accolades and then translating it through textiles, to communicate their award principles. This was a seminal art/science project, which has had many offshoots since as a project model. It was funded for 2.5 years by the Medical Research Council, Communications Department, resulting in an 24/7 exhibition in greenhouses in St. James Park, and seminar at the ICA, London.

I worked alongside Sir Aaron Klug and developed a range of woven textiles which self-assembled spontaneously as the tension was taken of the loom beam.

This work was the first time that I could go large with my work, with Gainsborough Weaving Company allowing me access to one of their jacquard power looms, where I could supersize the scale of my pieces, running the loom with experimental warps and the Company taking the risk of letting me loose on one of their looms.

MTC: Do you have any tips for survival in keeping a creative practice going?

Philippa Brock: Coffee, not working weekends if possible, taking holidays!

MTC: What is the most essential tool in your process?

Philippa Brock: Threads, my hands and brain, squared paper and propelling pencil with a rubber on the end, and a laptop.

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