Mary Kilvert: Designer-Maker Images may take a moment to upload...
In the historic town of Frome, the Mary Culvert shop stands quaintly on the old cobbled street. Designer-maker Mary Kilvert is an illustrator, whose colourful designs now decorate an array of products from stationary, to homewares and textiles. This year for the first time, Mary has a chalet at the Bath Christmas Market, where she’ll be selling her charming designs. Mary has been rapidly gaining success since her signature woollen sheep collection first sold at the Country Living Fair in 2011.
“I started selling in small markets in London and gradually did bigger ones, until my stall almost became a shop. I also had became part of Cockpit Arts, which help small designer-makers grow their business and they have open studios in Greenwich and Holborne". In 2008 Mary dreamt up the fictional character of Baartholomew, a sheep with his own multi-coloured coat. Dry needle-felting became the method of choice as Mary used wool from Herefordshire Lleyn sheep, once bred by her own family, which is then organically washed and carded in Wales. The distinct jumpers are all knitted from soft Scottish lambs wool from an ancient mill in Aberdeenshire. The sheep soon became collectable items, each with characterful faces, seasonal jumpers, a signature button sewn on the back of it’s coat and a certificate of authenticity. From there new products soon emerged, from homewares such as trays and mugs, to stationary including wrapping paper and textiles such as tea towels, blankets and cushions.
In 2013, Mary left London for Frome, - which built it’s fortune from wool in the 17th century - and opened the shop (also formerly a wool carder’s shop) in Catherine Hill. Her studio lies above the shop from where she designs her new product ranges and works on commissions.