Tottenham Inspired Textiles

Rose de Borman is a ceramicist and textile maker from London. She has a live/work studio in Seven Sisters where she works, runs workshops and art sales, as well as hosting a monthly Women in the Arts group. Amy Bush visited her at her studio on Lawrence Road to find out more.

Photo supplied: Rose de Borman in her studio

Where did you grow up and what brought you to Tottenham?

I grew up in Latimer Road, West London. I loved growing up around there but it started to change a lot and get quite gentrified as I got older. I then went to Brighton where I studied textiles at Brighton University. After that I came back to London and lived in Hackney for a while before heading north to Tottenham. I ended up moving here because I heard about these subsidised live/work spaces for creatives. You had apply and explain what you would do with the space - it was sort of like a competition – so my friend and I applied together and got the place. I didn’t really know that much about Tottenham before I moved here two years ago, but I love it! I never want to leave!

What do you do here in your studio?

I do a mixture of hand painted silk textiles and ceramic pieces. I mostly make sculptural ceramics, lots of strange creatures! I also do pots but they are more pseudo-useful, although they are good for going in gardens and as ornaments. I’m not a production potter in that way, all my pieces are one-offs; I like to just get a lump of clay, slice it in two and get stuck in.

I’ve also started using the studio space to run workshops and events. There is an art sale here every few months - the next one is 30th June. It’s open to everyone so it’s a great chance for people to visit the studio and buy handmade art and crafts. The sale is a collaboration between myself and my friend who I share the space with and I’ve invited some local makers to sell their work too which is really exciting. I’m beginning to run more workshops as well, such as a Bread Sculpture Party workshop on 14th June. Anyone can come along to learn about the history of bread, make a bread sculpture and then eat it!

Photo supplied: One of Rose's works, an illustrated map of trees in Tottenham

Does living in Tottenham influence your work?

Yes, I think it really does. One of the first projects I did when I moved here was an illustration commission for a woodland magazine. I was asked to draw a map of my favourite trees in my area which was a really fun job. I had only just moved to Tottenham so it was a great way to get to know my new surroundings. Later I did a big project called Marshland Magiflora which was based around the Tottenham marshes - I made silk screen prints of leaves and trees to make into cushion covers and textiles. I love the marshes, I don’t think I could stay sane without them! Especially as I work from home; I think it’s so important to get out in nature and I’m really lucky to have the marshes so close.

You run a monthly Women in the Arts group. Can you tell us a bit about that?

My friend and I realised that, despite having very different art practices, we were both struggling with many of the same issues when it came to being a creative - such as website design and organisation. We decided to put a call out to some women creatives to see if anyone would be interested in getting together on a regular basis to discuss the challenges we face as artists, share skills and learn from each other. The response was amazing, people got back to us saying "Yes! This is a great idea".

It's still quite new, we've had five meetings so far but it's been great. It takes place in my studio on Lawrence Road and is open to anyone who identifies as a women and is broadly involved in the arts. I've had a few people tell me that they've felt a bit nervous about coming, or feel too shy to call themselves an artist, but those are the people I want to come! We have a real range of women of all ages and at different stages in their careers. Some have just left University or are starting a creative career and want some advice and support, while others come along to learn new skills and meet other artists. Essentially it's a support network for women to discuss issues, share ideas and listen to other people’s stories, it can be very inspiring.

Photo supplied: One of Rose's fabrics which was created from drawing of the marshes

What are your favourite places in Tottenham?

The Volunteer pub is great. It feels like you’re sat in someone’s living room and you can get a nice fish finger sandwich. They love dogs too so I can take my dog, Pudding. I also love Mannions, the Irish pub; they have a brilliant jukebox and a really nice mix of people. Oh, and of course the Colombian market and the marshes!

You can buy Rose’s pieces from the following places:

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