Karen Nicol – March 2019

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Very few of our speakers have had such a prestigious CV as Karen Nicol.  Karen’s mother was a keen flower arranger and she was brought up with flowers everywhere.  Flowers, animals and birds can be seen in the majority of Karen’s work.

Karen gained a 1st class BA at the Manchester College of Art and then went on to the Royal College of Art where she studied textiles.  For many years she taught at the Royal College of Art and has been visiting speaker and artist in residence all over the world.  

Karen kindly bought a wonderful selection of her work for us to look at.


​Karen then went on to show us images of her work.  A large number of them included animals, birds or flowers and ranged from dresses to bedding, table linen and even large animal rugs.  She mentioned working for designers like Alexander McQueen, Jasper Conran, Givenchy,  Betty Jackson and John Rocha.   In time Karen decided to expand her horizons and exhibit and accept commissions under her own name.   She started with an exhibition in London and one in Italy with the theme of lace skirts but has subsequently exhibited all over the world.  In 2015 Karen was awarded the Royal Designer for Industry.
To our amusement Karen told us that her favourite machine was a 47 year old Singer.  She sources a lot of her materials from car boot sales and jumble sales and is always experimenting with unusual materials.

This was a truly inspirational talk which opened up a world I knew little about.

Apologies to Karen for the quality of some of these images which were taken from her presentation.  I now know how to adjust the brightness on the projector!

Photos and report by Ros

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