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Who was Winifred…?

Winifred Taylor

Winifred Taylor as a teenager

Winifred Taylor was my grandmother. She lived on top of a steep hill in Halifax, where she taught me to embroider and sew. Though I miss her greatly I have many of her things, including old sewing accessories and her wedding dress, which for years I carried around with me in bags that would get shoved into the attic. In 2009 I decided it was time to bring my grandma back into the open. I studied for a four-year City and Guilds qualification in embroidery; and as one the final projects for the course I created an embroidered book commemorating Winifred’s early life.

Winifred's birth and christening

Hand-made book to celebrate Winifred’s early life

It occurred to me while I was studying that many people have the equivalent of these bags in their attic – but also that old and half-forgotten textiles can have joyful as well as poignant associations. So, for another aspect of the course, I made an appliqued illustration for my husband’s newly-born niece, which featured her baby clothes – cut from the actual items she had grown out of – hanging on a washing line. Having completed my studies, I wanted to establish a business that makes bespoke, one-of-a-kind works of art transforming old material into new material. And I wanted to name it after my grandma because she was its inspiration.