Nel is a painter and artist and one of maia’s licensed designers.
Nel has recently designed a range of fabric for Free Spirit called Happy Go Lucky. You can see some of her projects by clicking on the images and the links to the right...
The following is an interview in association with Cross Stitch Collection magazine...
When’s the last time you looked at a piece of artwork and thought “I wish I’d done that” and what was it?
The last time I went wow was when I went to the Lucian Freud exhibition in London... His figure paintings are raw and very sculptural.
Which designer or artist from outside the needlework world influences you the most and why?
I find I am most inspired by nature and actively avoid looking at other people’s work in the same field. I tend to gravitate to other art forms if I want to see art i.e. sculpture or theatre.
Where do you get your best work done?
I feel as though I get my best work done when I am playing music I love, very loud, in my studio. I seem then to just be in my own little world. My husband often finds he can be standing at the door of my studio and shouting my name but I just don't hear anything as I am so absorbed.
Desert Island – you’re allowed six items to help you keep designing/stitching/painting to keep you busy/sane – what are they?
Ooh, what a good question. An easel, a board, can I have an endless supply of pastel sand paper and canvas, all my materials but mainly my oils and pastels... perhaps that's pushing it! Something to play music on as I cannot work well without it... choice of CDs. If I really had to hone it down, I would say music, brushes, oil paints and canvas, as I need to spend many hours learning what this, relatively new media to me, can do. A comfy seat and pair of scissors!
Tell us about your worst ever design (or painting) or designing disaster?
We all have days when with hindsight we all wonder 'what on earth was I thinking?'. Usually mine happen when I am working far too late and in the cold light of morning I realise that I should have just gone to bed!
What’s the one thing about the art world you wish you could change?
I’d like the Arts in general to have greater importance in the national curriculum as they cultivate our minds and souls. The greatest scientists are both creative and scientific, without the one the other is always a lesser thing.
What or who can you not live without when it comes to designing or painting?
I could not paint without having the support and love of my family.
What foodstuff is mostly likely to accidentally get dropped, spilled, smeared or sprinkled on to your designs?
Oh I love these questions! Chocolate, of course, and bread crumbs seem to put in an appearance quite a lot, can't think why?!
Confess one thing you’re absolutely terrible at...
I could give you a list but probably top would be my inability to learn a language followed by spelling, as I am mildly dyslexic. Actually also swimming under water as unlike the rest of my family I was not born with the dolphin gene. Rebecca Adlington can rest easy I will not be challenging her for her next gold at 2012!
Read more about maia and Nel Whatmore; discover more about Nel and her paintings on her own website.