My name is Selina Chudleigh and I work on the Costumes Project.
I came to it via NADFAS of which I’ve been a member off and on for many years. NADFAS is a wonderful Association for anyone interested in any sort of Arts and Crafts and history. It’s also a great monthly meeting ground for like-minds.
I have a life-long interest in art and sewing, having been taught by my godmother, who was a couture dressmaker, to sew my own clothes when I was a child and have always rummaged in fabric and charity shops for materials that could be fashioned into something a little different from the run-of-the-mill. Less now so, alas, as my bog-standard wear tends to be black jeans!
However, when I was first married – nearly 40 years ago (to the same man!) – we lived in Cornwall and I used to help the costume designer at the Minnack Theatre, which, as you probably know, is open air, so had it’s challenges! I also worked at Penlee Museum, entrenched in amazing Cornish artworks by the likes of Stanhope Forbes; Harold Harvey; Walter Langley, etc.
Then when we moved up here and my children were young I managed to work at home making silk drapes and cushion covers for mainly London clients and had my own company. Over the years I became fascinated by stitching and eventually sallied forth to do a City and Guilds qualification in embroidery, which not only taught me much about present day and the history of stitching but also design, so it brought together all my best loves of art; design; textiles and sewing and I am now into textile sculpture.
When I’m not doing that, I draw and paint in all types of mediums and collage; attend life drawing classes weekly, go to exhibitions, and of course, the Museum Costume Project, which I do with three others who all seem to come with very similar backgrounds and interests, so it’s like meeting old friends once a week. I really enjoy it and have learnt lots, not only from the fabulous dresses and gowns of bygone eras, but also from the sharing of knowledge in the group.
I reckon the Project will go on well past my sell-by date…but I’m lucky to have been able to give to and benefit from such an interesting and worthwhile cause.
Selina Chudleigh Costume Project