Frankly, The Folksy Magazine

Rachel Coldicutt – Inspired by…..

by Emily. Average Reading Time: almost 3 minutes.

We all take our inspiration from a number of different sources & it’s often fascinating to discover where other artists and designers take there’s from – if not just satisfyingly nosey. So I’ve created a new feature on Frankly which will do just that. I’ve asked artists, designers and creatives from around the UK to tell me the five things that inspire them most. From Breton shirts to Pokemon, 50’s ceramics to the Dead Sea, over the course of the next few weeks we should find ourselves inspired by things we’ve never seen, things we had forgotten and things we didn’t even know existed. Well, that’s the plan anyway.

So first up is the brains behind London based digital agency Caper, Rachel Coldicott. Rachel spends most of her time helping arts organisations develop digital strategies and use technologies in interesting ways. She is also a keen crafter – knitting, sewing, cooking and 3D printing – and an acquisitions advisor for the Crafts Council. These are the top five things that inspire her.

One… Sailors

I’m not a great lover of fancy dress, water or, indeed, military service, but I love dressing up and sailors get all the best clothes. My wardrobe would be a sadder place without the several Reefer coats, Breton shirts and square-collared sailor tops that I’ve collected over the years, and it is definitely true that navy and white stripes go with everything. My trusted stripy tops would be just as comfortable in an indie band, a Marseille cocktail bar or an MGM musical (handily covering my key areas of aspiration), and the promise of dressing like a sailor is one of the things that gets me out of bed in the morning.

Frank Sinatra, Jules Munshin and Gene Kelly in On The Town
Frank Sinatra, Jules Munshin and Gene Kelly in On The Town

Two… Funny Women

Or, more specifically, Tina Fey and Nancy Mitford.

Three… “The Jean Genie” by David Bowie

It seems possible that, in a previous life, I was a member of a glam-rock marching band. Guaranteed to cheer even the longest Wednesday afternoon.

Four… Folk Knitting

Rachel's latest folks knitting project

I’m a self-taught knitter and have spent hundreds of hours sweating over patterns and gawping at the underside of traditional Fair Isle knitwear. I’m irresistibly drawn to simple graphic patterns in primary colours, and am always pleased and amazed when slipping some wool around a needle eventually turns into a Lopi mitten or a beautifully bordered sock. The best folk patterns are echoed in textiles by designers such as Maija Isola and Eley Kishimoto, and many look as contemporary now as they did 100 years ago. Folk patterns reflect both individual and collective identities – they are designs that have emerged from communities and endured through generations, and it is always a privilege to recreate them.

Five… Persephone Books

End paper for Mariana, by Monica Dickens
End paper for Mariana, by Monica Dickens

Nicola Beauman’s imprint republishes rediscovered and neglected books by female writers. Beautifully packaged and thoughtfully chosen, a Persephone book is likely to make its reader laugh or cry, or possibly both, and – after admiring the endpapers and matching bookmarks – even more likely to send them to eBay in search of vintage fabric stock.