follow me on instagram @avivaleightextiles
I live and work in Norwich, a ‘fine city’ in the county of Norfolk, England that once was famed for its rich and colourful textiles. My studio space is located in the heart of the old artisan district, where dyers and weavers lived side by side with merchants and middlemen to produce finely woven cloth for export around the world.
Inspired by a 'slow' ethos that celebrates artisan skills and local provenance of materials, I colour my world with natural dyes such as madder, weld and woad, using traditional skills to produce contemporary woven and stitched textiles.
I am also passionate about sharing my knowledge and skills with others through workshops and creative retreats in Norfolk and further afield, visiting Morocco as often as I can to soak up the sunshine and collaborate with local artisans.
2017-18 Geoffrey Squires Bursary creating weave samples using 18th century natural dye recipes
City, Coast & Countryside quilt project with Norwich High School for Girls & community during Makers Month
established FRESH Artisan Market at The Shoe Factory Social Club, St Mary's Works, Norwich
2016 Co-founded The Workrooms creative learning space in Norwich offering textiles workshops in weave, dye & stitch
2015 Blue Hands Studio residency and interior design/renovation private beach house at Cart Gap, Norfolk
2014-15 95 Pottergate residency and interior design/renovation of private residence in historic Pottergate, Norwich
2013 Strips, Stripes & Stories community weave project at The Forum, Norwich
2012 set up Slowstuff Studio and established Slowmakers Group in Norwich
Project Officer Heritage Lottery funded project with Worstead Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers, Norfolk
my learning journey...
working with natural dyes is a never ending voyage of exploration - constantly asking 'what if?' After completing my first 7 year 'apprenticeship', I continue as a 'journeyman' working towards mastering some of the magic of plant colour, especially blue...
With a background in fashion in South Africa, I rediscovered textiles after a 'eureka' moment on a roof terrace in Marrakech in 2007, when I decided to quit my boring corporate job in the UK, follow my heart and become a full time art student. As George Eliot allegedly said... "It's never too late to be who you might have been"
2013 Post Graduate Certificate in Textile Design - Norwich University of the Arts
2011 BA (Hons) Textile Design (first) - Norwich University of the Arts
2008 Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (distinction) - Stamford College, Lincolnshire
2007 Level 3 Diploma in Interior Design (distinction) - National Design Academy, Nottingham
words & pictures
2018 appeared on Channel 4 'Britain's Most Historic Town' - "Tudor Norwich" dyeing madder with Dr Alice Roberts
2014 participant on More 4 'Real Craft' Weavers episode with Monty Don
The Wheel - Ashford magazine 2014 - Mindfulness & Weave
EDP feature Weekend February 16, 2013 feature "Where weaving isn’t just an historical yarn"
No Serial Number Magazine
The Resurgence of Natural Dyes, Eco Textiles and The Slow Fashion Movement:
An Interview with Aviva Leigh by Naina Bajaria