Meet the Maker: Elise Cakebread

Elise Cakebread’s wild & woolly designs are driven by her love for the tactile, colourful and frivolous. We caught up with Elise to talk about her journey to becoming a textile designer, her inspiration behind the upcoming limited-edition collection and so much more.

Tell us about your journey to becoming a textile designer?

I became interested in textiles at an early age when my grandmother taught me how to knit and sew. I enjoyed coming up with new ideas and ways to apply the techniques I learnt to make something unexpected and beautiful, in fact not much has changed - I still do! After school I originally studied a Bachelor of Creative Arts and dabbled in art history, drawing and theatre studies, whilst also doing a fair bit of travel. I even had a stint interning at a glove atelier in France – and it was at that time that I decided what I really wanted to do was design and make things. I knew that my skills weren’t at the level I wanted them to be and so I came back home and enrolled in the BA in Textile Design at RMIT.

After Studying I freelanced as a commercial textile designer whilst working on my own creative projects and after being offered some large commissions decided to take the plunge and strike out on my own.

What inspired the wild and woolly designs of the Cakebread One & Only limited-edition collection?

The Pile High Club Cushion has been a much love Cakebread design since we launched in 2015. They are made using a technique I developed back when I was still studying, and this collection is an absolute celebration of that technique.

The inspiration behind this collection was the idea of really pushing the boundaries what that technique has to offer. My aim has been to create a collection of absolutely unique pieces that are each their own never to be repeated exploration of shape, colour and texture. I hope that each piece will have its own vibrant character and personality.

Can you give us some insight into the creative process of producing this collection?

It’s been an incredibly intuitive and organic process. I tried to approach each piece with a fresh eye to colour, shape and texture.

I have a large collection of specialty yarns and fibres that I have sourced from all around the world that I don’t often get to use, and this collection has been the perfect excuse. Many pieces have started with the inspiration of a beautiful silk, wool or mohair yarn and then the rest has evolved from there.

With other pieces I’ve had a shape or technique in mind that I’ve wanted to explore, and the piece has developed out of that. I’m always looking for the interesting contrasts that emerge between the materials I use. I like pairing shiny yarns with matt wool or fine single ply yarn next to thick slubs. It’s a very playful approach to making and design.

With my main collection I usually have a studio assistant who helps with the production but with this collection I have hand made every single piece myself – I wanted to be the one to have all the fun!

When you’re not creating, how do you spend your time?

In the past year I’ve had a baby and moved to country victoria – so life has changed! I’ve been spending most of my time with my family and enjoying the bush and birdlife in our new location.

Favourite travel destinations?

Can I have a top three? Japan, Morocco, France. All places with inspiring textile traditions (not to mention amazing food, architecture and natural beauty).

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

‘Keep a tight rope‘ I can’t remember if they were referring to knitting or tightrope walking but it’s good advice for business and life too.

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