Emporia Fabric & Craft is the only shop of its kind in Ashford, selling beautiful fabrics as well as a fabulous selection of handmade accessories, jewellery, cards, decorations and crafts from local artisans. What’s more, the store hosts sewing and knitting groups, plus classes and courses, perfect for fabric fanatics who want to learn or improve their crafting skills.
From 9 June until 1 July, Emporia have organised a special Quilt Exhibition to be on display in the window of Unit 25 Park Mall, which is located opposite their store.
We caught up with Clair, Manager and Owner of Emporia, to find out more.
Loveashford: Who has made the quilts for your exhibition?
Clair: The window display will be quilts made by our patchwork teacher Mandy Munroe. Since moving to Ashford from New York, Mandy has designed quilts for Popular Patchwork Magazine and has taught at quilting events including The Festival of Quilts at the NEC.
Loveashford: Why did you decide to put on this quilt display?
Clair: We wanted to put on this exhibition to showcase the skills you could learn in one of our patchwork classes with Mandy. Plus, we think it’s a lovely way to brighten up Park Mall in the summer!
Loveashford: Where can you learn to patchwork quilts like this?
Clair: We offer classes within the Emporia shop and they’re led by Mandy herself. If you’ve never tried patchwork, it’s a great class for beginners as well as more experienced sewers. We hope it will inspire people to embrace their creative side and learn a new skill – don’t be scared to give it a go!
Loveashford: Why give patchworking a try?
Clair: Well, it’s a great way to learn a new skill and it’s easier than it looks. Plus there’s the mindful element; sewing can be soothing and relaxing and provides a window of peace.
Loveashford: What does the course involve?
Clair: The course allows you to create a slightly different looking quilt using the same basic techniques. It's suitable for beginners and the class allows you time to choose fabrics and create your first block with Mandy, before you finish off the rest at home. It costs £75 which includes the fabrics
Mandy creates one-off pieces for exhibition and to commission. Interior pieces are typically made from hand dyed cotton presented over canvas. Banners are stitched from weatherproof rip-stop nylon. Mandy's work is in private collections in the UK, Europe and the US.
Check the Emporia Facebook page and website for details of Mandy’s next class