About Ellie Hipkin, textile artist & curator of Flourish
Hello. It’s lovely to meet you.
I’m a professional textile artist based in Brighton, England.
Endlessly inspired by the Sussex coastline and the South Downs, I connect with the calming power of nature through my art. (You can see my work at elliehipkinart.com.)
But it’s sharing my favourite techniques – and seeing your confidence and creativity grow – that brings me the greatest joy.
This sense of connection, and shared passion, is what inspired me to create Flourish Textile Art Hub.
Read on to hear about the central role that textile art has played in my life. And how it saved me.
How textile art was woven into my life
I fell in love with textiles in the school art studio nearly 30 years ago. Encouraged by an inspirational teacher, I went on to study fashion design, and worked in the industry for 12 years.
I visited traditional woollen mills in Italy, saw shows in New York and was stunned by the colour of Delhi’s fabric markets.
Techniques learnt in India – textile print, hand painting, embroidery and embellishment – feature in my work to this day.
A way to cope with unthinkable loss
Just as I stepped back from my career to become a mother, I was rocked by the loss, in quick succession, of my father, mother and three of my aunts. My brother had died several years earlier.
Around this same time, our daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes – a lifelong and life-changing condition.
Filled with grief and worry, I instinctively turned to textile art. I remember sitting at our kitchen table with my paints and silks spread out in front of me, with the backdoor open and the sun beaming in. In those moments my breathing slowed, my mind was focused, and I felt peaceful in the creative flow.
Art saw me through those difficult early days.
The path to becoming an artist
The more art I created, the more certain I became that this was my future.
A distinctive personal style began to emerge.
My work expresses the sense of profound calm that nature gives me. My starting point is always colour – how it varies with the changing of the seasons or how the sun reflects off the sea.
Foraging and beach combing for pebbles, seed heads and grasses, I use these finds to add monoprinting to my paintings, and to inspire the embroidery detail. The free-motion embroidery, with occasional additions by hand, brings movement and depth, and I often leave threads to hang free.
It was when I sold my first painting that I truly knew that I was an artist.
A creative life is possible
The final piece of the jigsaw came with a change of mindset.
I knew that making art fulfilled me and lifted my wellbeing, and that there was a market for my work. But like so many others, I felt that creative time was a luxury. I had to earn it by charging through a list of jobs, and making sure everyone else’s needs were met. Only then could I sit down to create.
It was my business mentor who taught me to ignore ‘the devil in the dishwasher’, to believe in the value of my creativity and to make time for art.
More than anything else, it’s this message that I want to pass on to you.
If you know that your life would feel richer with regular creativity…
If you want to connect with like-minded people as you learn new skills…
And if you share my belief that textile art is art, not just ‘crafting’… then Flourish is where you can take that first step towards a creative life.
Join Ellie and our creative community...
Become a member
Membership includes monthly projects, Q&As and inspiration through our private Facebook group
Choose a course or tutorial
Choose from a growing selection of short courses and tutorials to develop your skills
Guest talks by ellie
Get in touch if you’d like to discuss a talk for your group