New Designers Favourites// Sarah Rivett

Sarah Rivett produces beautiful pieces of embroidery by hand. Delicate and romantic, the pieces are very tactile and intricate. Time is a factor in her collection for so many reasons – not only do the pieces reflect a time of long ago, whilst remaining totally modern, they also take so much time to make. When you see all the stitch techniques she has used, such as satin stitch, french knots and bullion knots, you know it is not just an aesthetic you are looking at. You are viewing a beautifully, carefully crafted piece of work. Her collection and her methods are like works of art.

Early inspiration stemmed from embroidery pieces from the Victorian era. Rivett says “As I researched deeper into [embroideries] history it gave me a lot of insight into the significance and meaning of embroidery which compelled me to start my own embroidery work”. Challenging herself to learn the different stitches and techniques, Rivett’s work takes traditional methods and aesthetics and develops them into contemporary pieces. Researching 16-18th century jewellery pieces, woven textiles, Victorian era embroidery and the Haute Couture embroidery of Francois Lesage all influenced her final designs.

Her graduate collection, ‘In It’s Imperfect Setting’, came from studying the poverty that many female embroiderers live through today and throughout history. Those women struggled to keep the techniques of embroidery alive. An admirer of the work of photographer Tim Walker, she took inspiration from his images which Rivett explains “captures beautiful models in Haute Couture dresses against an ‘imperfect setting'”. These ideas came together and Rivett used these inspirations to create embroidery work “reflecting women of poverty who created beautiful pieces of work with their every stitch”, which are contrastingly intertwined with an imperfect setting to “capture embroidery and have it recognised as an art”.

Rivett used some thoroughly modern techniques of her own to convey a worn, deconstructed look. She used teabags and frayed the edges to make the pieces seem more vintage. This is combined with 1920-30’s era and an art deco aesthetic, adding another element to her work. It compliments her embroidery pieces and really enhances the glamourous, precious side to them. Golds and white were used to “capture richness and purity”.

Of course, hand embroidery is a very long process, especially when you are sewing to this level. Rivett found the pressure and time limit to be the most difficult thing about creating. She worried she may lost her creativity if she was to rush through her pieces. However, hand embroidery is definitely her passion. Rivett says “Since discovering my ability to embroider it has become a very important journey in my life in discovering who I am as a person”.

Rivett intends to continue to make individual, unique pieces to be sold. She wishes to continue designing, embroidering and to make a collection of accessories. She would like to create one off garments, for example bridal wear.

These images are all from the following website: