Q & A with By Cecilia Child
Location: North London
Discipline: Handwoven Textiles
Please describe your creative process/practice:
My weaving process begins with gathering inspiration from a diverse range of sources – photography, architectural details, or thoughts and ideas I’m exploring. I create designs in a sketchbook using found imagery, photography, mark-making, and stitch work, which suggest weave structures and colour combinations.
My intuitive process allows the materials and craft to guide me from start to finish. Every handwoven piece tells a unique story through colour, texture, and form. Weaving is a meditative practice that transforms raw materials into something beautiful, imbued with a calming energy. My handwoven wall hangings and accessories celebrate imperfection – the subtle variations that give craft character and demonstrate the hand of the maker. Whether displayed as art, worn as a statement scarf, or aids relaxation as an eye pillow, my textiles aim to nourish the senses.
In addition to the handwoven, I work with a micro mill in Bristol that unites the handwoven with more traditional industrial methods and British heritage. My aim is to create contemporary handwoven textiles designed as future heirlooms.
At my core, I’m an artist who is passionate about the restorative power of creativity and craftsmanship. My journey with weaving began during my studies at Camberwell and Central Saint Martins, where I discovered a profound connection with textiles. After a decade of professional roles in production, I founded By Cecil in 2018 to embrace my love of hand weaving. I strive to foster meaningful connections – to our heritage, mindful making, and the value of authenticity. By taking time to craft original textiles with intention, we can rediscover the joy of creating and meaningfully engage with the world around us. My hope is that my handwoven pieces will inspire others to nurture their own creativity.
Your Influences and motivations
My work aims to foster reconnection to the world around us and the handmade process. I’m influenced by traditional textile techniques, the heritage of ancient craft, and timeless, functional design. I find inspiration from assorted sources – from bold geometric patterns in architecture to the muted palette of nature. Above all, I’m motivated to encourage mindful making and rejecting overconsumption. My pieces remind me to slow down and appreciate the harmony between human hands and crafted tools.
The technical, mathematical nature of weaving also profoundly motivates me. I revel in the joy of problem-solving – planning the warp and weft, engineering each twist and turn of fibre. I seek to infuse functional art with warmth, elevating natural materials into meaningful keepsakes. The meditative ritual of weaving promotes well-being, providing space for reflection. My objective is for each handcrafted piece to spark reflective comfort. I firmly believe that art has the power to nourish and connect us with our creativity.
Does your work have a particular colour palate, or link to a particular styling?
Though I intend to create work meant to outlast trends, I’m deeply fascinated by the broader social history and psychology behind colour forecasting. In the textile industry, colour trends initially emerged post WW1 as a tool to reduce fabric waste – fashion houses collaborated on colour palettes so they could align production and reduce risky guesswork. However, this practice has spawned an unintended culture of overconsumption, with many consumers constantly chasing the next “new black” each season.
My Eclectic Folk collection was inspired by a chapter in View magazine, which emphasised the importance of uniqueness and handmade items over mass-produced goods. This movement is both aesthetic and environmental, as overconsumption is a significant problem that affects us all. The collection of merino wool scarves celebrates colour and how it affects us. Although colour can be broken down into light bouncing off a surface and passing through our optic nerve, it is something we experience on a visceral level. It’s a highly sensory experience, and I have vivid memories of sitting in the Rothko room at the Tate when I was an art student and genuinely feeling the power of colour for the first time.
While I stay attuned to colour forecasting reports, I do not design collections based solely on colour trends. My priority is creating timeless pieces that maintain their appeal across seasons, crafted to last through years of use. By thoughtfully balancing complementary hues, I aim to build a nuanced colour palette that feels fresh yet enduring. My hope is for each handcrafted piece to have enduring appeal beyond fleeting trends, evoking comfort and confidence through its unique colour story.
By Cecil, Eclectic Folk Shirley Scarf, £115.