Practitioner Focus: Sara Noble

Tell us a bit about yourself and your work

I make things. From small accessories to large fibre installations and have dabbled in a bit of experimental filmmaking. I did my BA in Textile Art at a time when Craft was not at all fashionable, it was difficult to be recognised as either a Fine Artist or a Textile Designer. Teaching developed for me quite organically over the years in between other odd jobs. I started working freelance for the Crafts Council on the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef at the Knitting and Stitch Shows, installing textile exhibitions and teaching people how to crochet, I then picked up other regular workshops in public libraries and holding stalls at makers markets. Later, becoming an Art Technician in a fantastic department in a boys state secondary inspired me to further go onto do a PGCE. I completed my NQT this Easter whilst finding myself unexpectedly pregnant and am currently on maternity leave running around after my latest creation!  

Describe the space where you make your work

This is currently non existent, it was the spare room where my partner (who is an a comic artist /illustrator) and I shared our studio space, but everything is now piled up in the corner of the room as we’ve had to make space for our baby - how can such a little person have so much stuff! However, I usually make most things on the move, the spaces in between doing other things, my bag normally packed with knitting, crochet or a sketchbook to keep me busy on bus journeys.

What materials and techniques do you use in your work?

I mostly work with constructed textiles, screen printing, experimenting with different materials, anything that lets me build up layers and textures to explore colour. I have a huge hoard of all sorts of materials that I collect for their colour, texture or pattern, whether it may be drinking straws from a pound shop, particularly bright plastics bags, fabrics, all sorts of yarns. I spent a few terms at Morley College, learning how to use a knitting machine which was incredibly technical and frustrating but also fantastic. I used my machine as part of an installation piece for my final PGCE exhibition. I generally prefer working directly with my hands, knitting, crochet, drawing and printing.

Where do you find inspiration?

Although I mainly use soft materials and textiles associated with the domestic and indoors, I am very much drawn to architectural structures and urban spaces, graffiti, popular culture, music and bright colours.

Is there a favourite thing that you've made recently?

Over the summer break, when I should have been out lots enjoying my lasts days of freedom before motherhood, I became a bit agoraphobic worried I might suddenly go into labour as I was hugely pregnant, so I spent a lot of time at home. I selected fabrics from my hoard to make a patchwork quilt for my baby. All the squares have some story, fabrics either collected from various travels, from family members, or previous surface prints I had created.

How does your creative process work?

Each project is different depending on the technique or space I’m working to. I’m usually drawn to a particular colour, pattern or mood for a piece, take lots of photos, work out ideas by drawing in my sketchbook. Sometimes I just lift an observational drawing from my sketchbook, onto another surface or space.

Is there anything you'd like to try?

I would like to spend more time developing photography skills either in a dark room or trying more experimental techniques, I’ve only touched on this occasionally, I love the magic of an image appearing and not having total control over it. I really got into making cyanotypes earlier in the year and have recently dug out my Holga, medium format film camera.