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Mildenhall designer Sophie Clarke who set up textile business has bright future looming creating bespoke homeware

A young designer is busy weaving a bright future after setting herself up in business.

Sophie Clarke, 24, from Mildenhall, set up Sophie Clarke Designs in April this year as the country took its first steps out of lockdown.

She now runs the textile business making bespoke homeware accessories, which are all crafted by hand.

Sophie Clarke weaves bespoke home interior accessories. Picture by Mark Westley
Sophie Clarke weaves bespoke home interior accessories. Picture by Mark Westley

Sophie spends eight hours each day at her loom producing everything from cushion covers to table runners and small upholstery pieces.

“I spend at least eight hours a day at the loom,” said Sophie.

“I love the freedom weaving offers in terms of creativity. It’s quite time consuming and it can take up to a week to weave a pair of cushions, so I just put on some podcasts or music on and enjoy every minute.”

Sophie knew she wanted to work in interior design from an early age.

She first studied textiles, fashion visualisation and art at college before going on to study textile innovation and design for three years at Loughborough University.

"It was there that she fell in love with the loom, and its possibilities.

“It quite mathematical and first you have to do all the calculations,” said Sophie.

“I have core designs for the textiles and then discuss with people what they would like.

Then you spin the warp and feed this through the loom, before feeding the weft through the warp to make the fabric.

It’s a whole language in itself. It’s a fantastic art with endless possibilities.”

Sophie set up in business with the help of a start-up grant from West Suffolk Council.

She also recently qualified for the national finals of the Young Market Trader of the Year competition, after winning through in the arts and crafts round in the regional finals, held in Bury St Edmunds.

She sells and takes orders for Sophie Clarke Designs mostly through Instagram and Facebook. Each order is bespoke.

“I think I get my creativity from my nan who was a dressmaker,” said Sophie.

“I worked briefly for a textile designer in Brighton after university but because of lockdown I had to come home, and it was just me and my loom – so decided to go into business myself.”

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