Milomade started in 2008 with a box of vintage buttons and some elastic thread but in truth the inspiration happened long before.
I had a very practical ‘make do and mend’ kind of upbringing and was taught to sew, knit, cook and bake from an early age. I remember aquiring a suitcase full of beads and broken jewellery along with some proper jewellery pliers (that I wish I still had). I think it belonged to my grandmother. I got to work combining old with new. Then, when I was a little older, I began salvaging copper and aluminium wire and making larger pieces of jewellery as well as decorations.
Out in the ‘real world’ and unhappily studying for a teaching degree, I switched to art and never looked back. Having studied printmaking, pottery and other media, I eventually settled on Sculpture and this is where my passion for rubbish/waste and recycling began.
I ended up learning arc welding so that I could work with scrap metal and iron. All my work was made from waste: wrought iron garden gates were turned into floral wreaths, rusty grill pans were turned into female torsos, carpet grips were fashioned into tactile cubes and bed springs into hanging orbs.
The next chapter in my creative development was studying photography at Blackpool & the Fylde College. I was an avid photographer from an early age and built my own tiny darkroom in a cupboard underneath the stairs that was so small and well sealed that I had to take regular breaks from developing and printing to gasp for fresh air. I graduated with a first class degree and my final work was all made using found images, text and objects salvaged from the streets around where I lived. I combined these with historic family photographs and ones from my childhood and weaved intricate stories and memories together.
After my studies I moved to Scotland and began work as a volunteer in Stills – a photographic gallery in Edinburgh. Here I met the man of my dreams, began an interest in web design and animation and had some of the best times of my life. I worked for many large and small design firms before deciding to become my own boss in 2003.
After living in Edinburgh for a few years we found ourselves moving to Fife to get more ‘space’ and to start a family. We now live in an amazing cliff top house in Kinghorn on the East Coast of Scotland with our son and trusty four legged friend.
In 2008 I was awarded a grant to set up Milomade from the Craft Artist Grant Scheme available to artists, designers and makers in Fife and was lucky to be awarded subsequent grants in 2009 and 2010 to build and grow my business. Milomade was temporarily put on hold (but kept ticking along gently) for a few years as I wanted to take some time out on maternity leave and spend this precious time being a fulltime mum.
In 2013 I applied for and was awarded a place on a new funding and support scheme for craft and visual artists based in Fife called ‘Next Steps’. It was a tailored support programme that spanned a whole year and focussed on personal, professional and creative development. I received 1-1 mentoring as well as funding to help with training, learning new skills, travel and research, buying new equipment as well as new tools.
Next Steps helped me refocus and get Milomade back on track and to work towards doing my first trade show in 2015. I have since attended many more trade shows and my work is now showcased and on sale throughout the UK in many Galleries and shops.
I would like to thank everyone at Fife Contemporary Art & Craft, Arts & Theatre Trust Fife, Creative Fife, Fife Council, Creative Scotland and Fife Cultural Trust for helping me grow as a business.