My journey from nursing to becoming the founder of Studio Blackwell began with a conversation with my husband as we travelled up the M5. Working creatively with fabrics was the true source of joy in my life, but could I make it work as a full-time profession? Nervously, I texted a few friends to gauge their reactions and one friend immediately commissioned me, providing all the reassurance I needed to launch ‘Made by Nicky’: My fledgling business was born!
In those early days the cutting out and putting together took place on my sitting room floor whilst my toddler napped upstairs. As more orders came in, I took over a room in the house and my husband built me my first sewing table. After a while, I persuaded him that the summer house in the garden should be extended to make my first mini studio, with two sewing tables so that I could get occasional help from other drapers. He reluctantly agreed and set forth on one of many building projects.
Even with the additional space, it became apparent that my hobby-turned-job was growing, and with it my passion for fabrics and the special impact they have on homes… my business was evolving, and we needed a bigger space!
In 2018 we moved to a very old house on the Worcestershire/Gloucestershire border. Surrounded by nature and wildlife, the house came with three spacious barns, full of character and ripe for renovation. To date we have converted two of the barns and will convert the third and largest space into a spacious studio, with room for other artisans to join the Studio Blackwell team.
As a fabric-fanatic and the founder of Studio Blackwell, I lead our team with the invaluable support of Head Draper, Laura Farr. Laura has a background in textile design and is just as passionate about all things fabric as I am. She is in charge of the work scheduling and co-ordination as well as the training of new members of the Drapery team.
We have a growing team of trainee-drapers, whose needlework skills complement the style, ethos and high quality of Studio Blackwell designs.
Once you have commissioned a project you will be assigned a personal draper with a clear understanding of your vision and plenty of inspiration for the work ahead. They’ll suggest suitable designs and bespoke details, show examples and begin to sketch out ideas. And you can be exactly as involved as you like!