I’m a traditional trained soft furnishing Designer, Making bespoke made-to-measure curtains, blinds and pelmets, with my own range of textile home wares and interior decorations, such as lampshades, Children’s rugs, cushions and wall art.
I began Gina Lillycrop Designs in 2004 after returning to full time education at the age of 28, to study City and Guilds in Soft Furnishing and advanced Higher Art and Design. My business was originally based in Hollybush, Ayr from 2004 – 2010 until I met my Husband. I then had to relocate and start the business again from my husband’s farm in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.
It was during the relocation that I realised there were certain difficulties to moving to beautiful Wigtownshire. Firstly the lack of population (and possible clients) in this rural part of the country and Secondly, most of the local population were also very talented artist, designers and makers and were self sufficient in the art of sewing, so I needed to do something a wee bit different. It was this same rural location that was the catalyst in my first rug designs.
I design my range of home furnishings, from my remote Farm studio, where most of my inspiration comes from the surrounding country side, its wildlife and Scotland’s own rich textile heritage, and personally hand-make every item to ensure all my work has been given the utmost love, care and attention to detail.
To say it’s a passion doesn’t seem to cover it. Designing and creating is like a fire that gently simmers beneath my skin all the time I’m doing it, but If I have a few days concentrating on other tasks, the fire starts raging until I feel I’m going to explode unless I make something or sketch the ideas that are flying around my head. If I didn’t have my own business I would still have to design/make all these products (and more) for my home and family, So to design, and make-to-sell is the perfect food for my soul.
I had originally qualified as an NNEB Nursery Nurse at the age of 18 and had worked as an emergency relief nanny / nursery nurse around the country. At the age of 21, I entered the world of entertainment and was very fortunate to land the lead female role in Scotland’s Meatloaf tribute band. I was able to combine both nursery nursing and singing for several years until my son was born.
I chose to re-study when my son was 3 years old. It was my love of making my own home furnishings that led me to retrain as a soft furnishing designer in order to start a business where I could work from home, to give him some stability rather than dragging him up and down the country, sleeping under tables, stages and in dressing rooms.
Well, It appears you can take a break from performing, but you can never stop. So many years on and I’m still singing, though I now have my own band (Electric Velvet), and I’m a farmer’s wife too, with a new baby (who, just like her brother, sleeps under tables and in dressing rooms) and to add to my résumé I also haul grain in the Summer for the family farm.
Currently I’m lucky enough to be part of the wonderful Galloway Creative’s, A group of 9 artists/makers/friends who came together to create interesting exhibitions of work. Our work varies greatly in styles and mediums, but is all inspired by the natural beauty of Dumfries and Galloway.
I am also mid collaboration with ‘Heartfelt by Liz’ on a large order of Giant, felt book covers for a publishing company in London. Last year we completed the order for Prince Charles’s book The Highgrove Florilegium. This year Heartfelt has been commissioned again for a new, but currently undisclosed author.