Ellie Laycock, who makes beautiful cushions from vintage scarves and linen, talks to us about hunting, stuffing and the challenges of combining making with being a single mother
1. Tell us about the name – Hunted and Stuffed. It conjures up visions of giant moose heads – but you make cushions!
I liked the cheekiness of the name – I didn’t want anything too serious. It’s quite appropriate: I hunt down vintage fabrics and buttons, turn them into cushions and stuff them!
2. Where do you source your vintage fabrics?
I scour eBay, car boot sales, Sunday markets. It can be hit and miss. Sometimes you don’t see anything, but at one sale I went to on Wandsworth Road there was a pile of vintage silk scarves in one corner and a heap of old linen in another. The stuff I bought there kept me going for months! It’s a bit trickier now with Malakai [her 10-month-old son], as I can’t carry as much as I used to.
3. You’re a professional photographer – why did you move across into making cushions?
I trained in sculpture, and I’ve been a professional photographer for 11 years. But when I had Malakai I was stuck at home and I wanted to do something creative. So I made some cushions from some vintage kimono material and showed them to a friend who is a stylist. She really rated them, so I went ahead and started making more of them.
4. What gave you the idea of using scarves and tea towels?
I kept coming across beautiful scarves, but I don’t wear them myself. I’m more into accessorising a room than an outfit! And tea towels are the same size as a standard pillow. Other cushions made from tea towels usually fold the tea towel in half, so you lose the impact of the full design.
5. Which designs sell best?
The iconic graphic designs, such as Penguin classic covers or London Underground maps, are quite popular. I’m drawn to souvenirs of London or royalty, street maps and illustrations of Britain.
6. You already have online shops on Etsy and Folksy. What was the appeal of joining Makerhood?
I just think it’s an excellent idea to promote local makers to local buyers. I also wanted to meet other people with something in common – not just craftspeople but people interested in buying locally.
7. How can I find out more?
8. What do you like about living in Brixton?
I’ve lived here for 10 years. Before I lived here I kept coming here and then had to get home, so I decided I might as well move here! It has a centre of its own, and I found it welcoming and fun. It’s the friendliest place I’ve lived in and it’s got everything I need – I don’t want to live anywhere else.
9. What’s your top tip for a bit of “hidden Brixton”?
Go for a café latte at Café Tana on Brixton Hill. They’re really friendly and do great coffee.
You can see Ellie’s fabulous cushions at http://brixton.makerhood.com/hunted-and-stuffed.