Gina Lillycrop Designs, Wigtown
Tell us a little about what you do and why you love it
I’m a traditional trained soft furnishing designer, specialising in bespoke textile home wares and interior decorations, such as lampshades, children’s rugs, cushions and wall art.
I design my range of home furnishings, from my remote farm studio near Wigtown. Most of my inspiration comes from the surrounding countryside, its wildlife and Scotland’s own rich textile heritage.
Why do I love it? Goodness I’ve never been asked that before. To say it’s a passion doesn’t seem to cover it for me. It’s like a fire that gently simmers beneath my skin all the time I’m designing and making. If I have a few day concentrating on other tasks, the fire starts raging until I feel I’m going to explode unless I make something or sketch the ideas that are flying around my head. If I didn’t have my own business I would still have to design make all these products (and more) for my home and family. So, to design and make to sell is the perfect food for my soul.
What makes Dumfries and Galloway special to you?
Well if home is where the heart is, then my home is nestled among the rolling hills on our farm near Wigtown. Surrounded by fields, dry stone walls, trees, rivers and lochs, with warm and friendly neighbours. A place where scenic roads lead to picturesque villages. Where cars double park, and friends stop in the middle of the road to chat. Where every town you travel to in Dumfries and Galloway hosts a plethora of talented artists, authors, makers, musicians and cottage industries to name but a few, and between each town lies miles of unspoilt country side. The community spirit is second to none. It doesn’t matter how big or small the villages and towns are, they pull together to create fantastic book and, music festivals, craft, art and food fairs. The locally produced produce can be purchased on every corner, from Jams and home baking to locally grown meats, game and fish. This is what makes Dumfries and Galloway special to me.
Are you involved in other arts and cultural activities?
I’m lucky enough to be part of the wonderful Galloway Creative’s, A group of nine artists/makers/friends who came together to create interesting exhibitions of work. Our work varies greatly in styles and mediums, but is all inspired by the natural beauty of Dumfries and Galloway.
What projects are you involved in right now?
I am currently collaborating with ‘Heartfelt by Liz’ (as co-designer and maker) on a large order of Giant, felt book covers for a publishing company in London. Last year we completed the order for Prince Charles’s book The Highgrove Florilegium. This year we have been commissioned again for a new, but currently undisclosed author.
I also have an exhibition with the Above mentioned Galloway Creative’s at the Beltie Books in Wigtown, Which is on until the 5th of April
Hopes, ambitions or plans for 2015?
I’m looking to invest in a new all singing all dancing sewing and embroidery machine to bring some of my own sketches and photographs into my textile home wares. Its software will allow me to transfer my designs from paper to embroidered print. I’m very excited at the prospect, though my father who has been asked to sponsor this investment is not quite so!
I will be exhibiting with the Galloway Creative’s in the Harbour Gallery in Kirkcudbright from the 7th – 20th of June, and again at venue 40 of the Kirkcudbright Arts and crafts trail from the 31st July – 3rd August
Have you always been in this role – or have you/do you do anything else?
I originally qualified as a Nursery Nurse, before being dazzled by the glamour of the entertainments industry and becoming a singer with a Meat Loaf tribute band. I managed to juggle the two careers for a number of years until my Son was born. It was at this point I thought I would need to settle down to give him some stability rather than dragging him up and down the country, sleeping under tables and in dressing rooms. It was my love of making my own home furnishings that led me to retrain as a soft furnishing designer in order to start a business where I could work from home.
It appears you can take a break from performing, but you can never stop. So many years on and I’m still juggling life as a singer with a business, only now I’m a farmer’s wife too, with a new baby (who, just like her brother, sleeps under tables and in dressing rooms) and now I also haul grain in the Summer for the family farm.
If we asked a friend to tell us something surprising about you, what would they say?
David Coulthard is a huge fan of our band and booked us to play at Silverstone for his F1 after show party, where David, Jacques Villeneuve and Jenson Button, came and jammed with us on stage.