My name’s Jayne Childs. As a designer/maker of lace textiles, specialising in digital embroidery, I combine historical influences with contemporary design to create wearable pieces and art.
I learned my digital embroidery skills working in sales and education for a sewing machine manufacturer, having learned to stitch by my mother’s knee when small. Continuing to use these skills for my own creative business, I moved away from full time employment to establish my own textile brand in 2010.
As JC Middlebrook, I make lace jewellery for sale online and in person at fairs and exhibitions. In previous work, I taught creative sewing and embroidery, and digital embroidery software. I’ve run workshops and talks for a number of interested groups and am currently regional coordinator for the creative support network Design Nation. I’m a part-time instructor on the Fashion BA at NTU, working with first year undergraduates in fashion manufacturing.
I returned to formal education myself in 2018 having reached the limit of my design abilities, and studied for a Master’s degree in Fashion Textile Design at Nottingham Trent University. I used the MA to develop to my design skills, learning new techniques and how to make use of research. I expanded from wearable textiles to interiors, incorporating lighting and artworks.
The work I developed during my MA creates a narrative within the lace. I developed my own interpretation of lace ‘sprigs’ and ‘brides’, both terms used in traditional handmade lace. Sprigs is a term for smaller motifs in Honiton lace which would be made individually, then joined together to make a larger piece, brides refer to a type of join between lace motifs. I used these concepts to tell a story within my lace design, and within the making. For my MA project I highlighted the discovery of an important fossil close to my childhood home, incorporating themes of girls and women not being believed, and how light can reveal but also distort what you see.
I was delighted to be awarded one of three 2020 Scholarships by the Embroiderers’ Guild, allowing me to continue developing Sprigs and Brides beyond my MA.
I’m pleased to also be a Fellow of Design Nation, the organisation for UK designer-makers.