Welcome to our very first blog post. We hope you will enjoy to read our monthly journal delving into the lives of inspirational women who have inspired Faune...
Alice Mary Lynch
Alice Mary Lynch, a textile artist, creates the most exquisite custom made dolls using vintage finds.
Growing up in Somerset with artist parents Alice loved to scour flea markets with a magpie eye! She now dedicates her time to creating whimsical characters in a fairytale world from such vintage textile treasures.
Each doll is the most beautiful keep sake to be handed down through generations (something we also adhere to). Having been hugely inspired by the wonders Alice has created we wanted to discover a little more about her life as an artist and mother.
What inspired you to become a textile artist?
I grew up with successful artist parents, so earning a living from your art was sort of instilled in me, it was a natural way of life. I was thinking of studying languages but when I took a year out on my own in Spain after A Levels I reconsidered things and felt the pull of the art world. I loved fine art, but I chose to study fashion because it gave me more realistic work opportunities. And I always loved costume. However, after working in Paris Fashion Houses for a few years, despite the truly fabulous whirlwind adventure that it was, I felt I needed to work in a more sensitive environment, with less background noise and more space to breathe.
When I became a mother at 27, this gave me my moment to recalibrate and I began to devote myself to making little textile characters full time. With small children in the house it seemed to fit in with family life, and it was a wonderful way to channel my thoughts and imaginings.
How did you chance upon designing and making your first doll?
While I was studying fashion at Kingston University, a jewellery designer, Jacey Withers, was looking for someone to make some little dolls/puppets. It just felt so right. I made a lobster boy, a wolf boy and Siamese twin cats. Then later a pair of black and white unicorns. It sparked something. On this small scale I could combine what I loved in art, fashion, theatre and storytelling. I was quite shy at the time and they became a form of personal expression, taking me on magical journeys as I made them.
Where do you find inspiration?
Stories, dreams, circus, theatre, dance….. and personal emotions. As I often work on bespoke commissions too, I also have to follow other people’s briefs, sometimes they have their own research or stories to tell, this can be challenging, but I enjoy entering other people’s fantasies.
What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?
There are so many, I find each new collaboration becomes the greatest one, I love it! Then the path takes a new turn and I arrive at something more marvellous than the last, I just keep riding the wave.
I had a solo exhibition at Anthropologie Kings Road entitled “Winter Circus” in 2016 which was a fantastic opportunity to produce a cohesive body of work which represented my eclectic style and ideas entirely. It was a great success and rewarding to see so many people sharing in the pleasure I have making them all.
But I am really happy with my new collection at Harrods. After a successful debut there last year, they asked me to create a new collection for them this year. I love working on their Christmas themes and I have pushed myself to develop new creations that have never been seen before.
What would you say are the most challenging and most rewarding aspects of being an artist today?
Being able to work remotely, yet communicate and collaborate with people and projects all over the world is fantastic.
It can be challenging working all day on my own, I am probably an introvert, but I sometimes miss working as part of a team. And I enjoy collaborations.
Working alone in my studio thought, there are some brilliant podcasts to listen to these days, which are stimulating and keep me company.
Another personal work challenge is that when I am in the midst of a particularly creative and inspired bubble, I get incredibly obsessive, and then putting on my other ‘life hats’ can become a bit of an inconvenience. I try to find some kind of balance, but it is sometimes difficult! I need to work on this!
Have you ever exhibited your work?
Yes, as soon as started making my textile art pieces, I exhibited them in various group shows. When I was a child, my parents often had exhibitions in our house, so exhibiting felt like a natural progression.
I had my first solo show in Somerset in 2011.
Other solo shows :
Anthropologie, Kings Road in 2016
Jonathan Cooper Gallery, Park Walk,
London in 2017.
Have you ever collaborated?
Yes, many times. I love the new directions you can go in each new collaboration.
I have most recently collaborated with Harrods. Other collaborators have included Alice Temperley, Anthropologie, Pearl Lowe amongst others.
Each project has inspired new research and exciting journeys.
How do you think your art impacts the World we live in today?
I am making objects to be treasured for years to come, not discarded after a season. I am not going to change the world with what I do, but in ever uncertain global situations and increasingly odd political times, I can still hope and dream as I work and the creatures I sew carry those hopes and dreams. And perhaps they are triggered in other people too. We could get lost in a digital abyss, but I still want to touch people. Make them smile and feel.
What I do is instinctive and I like the idea, that, after everything, we should all still trust our instincts.
Is life at home a creative hub? Are your daughters also artistic and likely to follow in your footsteps?
Ha! I have absolutely no idea. Our house can be quite chaotic, which I suppose is partly creative?!
My husband is creative too, so we tend to have a lot of chat about our projects. I show my daughters almost every piece I make, and I ask them their opinions, they give me their input and have become my fiercest critics, which I enjoy! I also like taking on their ideas and perhaps they might get involved in the future. Or maybe they won’t. But they will find their own paths. They are growing into very strong individuals. They have always enjoyed art, making and music, but, unlike me, they are quite sporty too, so it will be exciting to see what they end up doing. They certainly have a rather ‘sparkly’ childhood - finding beads and crystals everywhere, in the floorboards, in their beds, even in their hair!