Maker Interview: Lisa Bennett

Always making and creating as a child, Lisa now designs and makes practical but super-stylish aprons specifically aimed at other makers and artists – with pockets in all the right places. 
.
Who are you?
I'm Lisa from 'In The Making - Aprons'
.
What do you Make/Do?
I design and make handmade work aprons for makers, artists and artisan businesses. Aprons were historically humble garments, but they very much embody the maker's work ethic - put on an apron and you feel ready to create. 
.
Do you have a background in craft and design - when did you first start making?
As a child I was always drawing and trying out different crafts. I went to art college, a Foundation Course in Art & Design and a Degree in Fashion - followed by 10 years doing something entirely different, in the Music Industry, and a few years in book publishing. All the while though continuing to paint and make, always with a project on the go. I was lucky enough to get work designing applique t-shirt logos for a well known childrenswear company, for 8 years - I loved making the samples, playing with colour and beautiful fabrics. One Christmas, I made lots of aprons as presents for friends and family, which led to the creation of 'In The Making - Aprons'.
.
Can you describe your typical making process?
I draw design ideas on paper, draft a pattern using dot & cross paper, then make a calico (toile) version of the apron to ensure the design works properly. I make a scale drawing of the new apron, scan it and spend happy hours making a perfect diagram in Photoshop! Photoshop is also a great tool for trying out different colourways. After this comes fabric research and sending off for samples. Samples have to be washed, to measure shrinkage so I know how much fabric to order. When the fabric arrives I wash it to pre-shrink and remove excess dye, before laying out pattern pieces and cutting out. Turnings are measured and sewn, thick turnings hammered and all the thread ends hand sewn in. I make aprons in small batches, 2 at a time usually, so that each apron is individually crafted and I don't lose the joy in making!
.
What do you enjoy most about the process?
I really enjoy the problem solving aspect of design; especially working with artists, makers and businesses to devise specialist features and pockets. I am a bit of a perfectionist, making a really well made useful product, is very satisfying.
.
Can you describe your studio/workspace?
A few months ago I took a bit of a radical step, creating a new workspace at home, by taking over the entire front room! It's a lovely bright space, and now everything I need is in one place - fold up trestle tables for pattern drafting and cutting fabric, a sturdy table in the bay window for my sewing machines, storage for stock, a tailors dummy, files of patterns, boxes of threads and sewing equipment. I decided not to have my Mac and printer in the making space, too much of a distraction, so they stayed in my little office space upstairs.
.
What keeps you going whilst you work - soundtrack? Snacks? A fluffy sidekick?
I must have music playing while I work - Radio 6 Music or my itunes archive.
.
What can we look forward to seeing from you in the future?
Currently I'm working on mens/unisex apron designs and I want to introduce a bit more colour to the range too.
.
Three things you can’t live without:
Music - A project - My new glasses
.
Three favourite places:
I love my house in hilly-leafy South East London: The V&A - it's full of wonders, craft, fashion, and those incredible tiled restaurants, I've been going there all my life and I still get lost: The National Portrait Gallery, I'm fascinated by people and their stories.
.
Three favourite foods: 'Seafood Ravioli in creamy tomato sauce with vodka' at our favourite Italian restaurant; Delia Smith recipe 'Chocolate Bread Pudding' (made with brandy rather than rum); my Dad's Christmas dinner...
.
You can see a selection of Lisa's aprons in the kitchenware collection here.

.