About Francesca Rea
Francesca Rea graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design (University of Dundee) in 2020 with a degree in textile design. She caught the eye of Fife Contemporary’s panel of judges, looking at work by graduates from the Scottish art colleges with the aim of awarding a series of New Makers’ bursaries. As a result of this, she was featured in Fife Contemporary’s Materialise 4 from the Autumn of 2021.
In her own words, this is why Francesca does what she does!
“I was taught basic hand sewing by my granny as a child. I never did any actual embroidery until I did foundation art at Dundee University. For one project I decided to pick up my needle and thread skills and ‘draw’ some tiny flowers. They were a mess, but I loved it and have been doing embroidery ever since.
At the time I was planning on moving to Edinburgh to study photography, but that project changed my mind and I stayed at Dundee to study Textile Design.”
“For the first two years of Textile Design we had to do screen-printing and machine-knitting, but I had absolutely no patience for either. In my final year I pleaded my case to use embroidery for my graduate project, in which I designed eco-friendly burial wear. This project, called Return to Earth, won me several awards: I was a runner-up in a nationwide design competition, and had my work written about in newspapers and magazines. But the subject matter and style of the project is no longer a reflection of my taste, and I’ve done no more work like it since.”
“Due to the pandemic and the lack of jobs available, I kept up my embroidery by completing commissions for individual customers. I mostly stitch onto people’s clothing or make embroidered art pieces. These projects have all been illustrative, and I’ve always been drawn to this more than abstract work. I would love to illustrate a children’s book using embroidery! I really enjoy making
personal things for people, it gives me the opportunities to test out different styles, stitch types, colour palettes etc.
I have also done a little freelance work since living in Edinburgh and have plans to move to London and get a permanent design job.”