About – Leah Nikolaou

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Leah Nikolaou is a British Textile Designer creating contemporary embroidered paper art, embroidery kits and curios which fuse the two vintage past times, hand embroidery and flower pressing.

One summer whilst roaming the fields and parkland around her then home with her little daughter they began picking flowers and pressing them. Also embroidering in her evenings, suddenly unintentionally these two soul fulfilling past-times happily collided.  After having struggled with an awkward commute and lack of passion for her media job and having stepped away she was looking for ideas in which to create a creative world for herself.  Thinking it would be straight forward to build a business with a MA from the Royal College of Art in London and experience working in the textile industry she was bowled over by just how much she needed to learn to bring her ideas and business to fruition.  

Not one to give up lightly Leah continued to find inspiration in the world around her.  Looking closer into the world of botanists and pressed flower collections she discovered the 17th century botanist George Clifford.  George Clifford unlike the majority of his counterparts displayed his pressed flowers in little 2D paper urns and vases.  Loving this concept she developed her own collection of original botanical pressings which she displays in chunky hand embroidered paper vases, planters and urns.  The chunky wool leaning towards the more contemporary phenomenon of bringing hygge meaning cosiness and wellness into the home.  As Leah's journey developed so did her appreciation of the mindful benefits that embroidery offers and she placed so much importance on this. 

George Clifford botanist

Leah's early career revolved around hand knitting which saw her designing for Patachou and Gharani Strok as well as publishing numerous knitting patterns for Rowan Yarns and Vogue Knitting.  Re-kindling her love for pattern writing and technical illustration her products naturally developed into kits to allow people to make their own mindful treasures.

Leah now grows many of the flower she presses in her garden as her gardening skills improve year on year as well as foraging and filling in gaps from a local flower farm.  Not only does gardening provide her with flowers but it extends her mindful practise. 

Seeing so much waste around her it is important to Leah that her products are valued and not throw away. The development of recycled and specialist papers has also inspired Leah's work. She loves to experiment with papers of different weights and uses hemp, kraft, bamboo and recycled papers in her work.  As well as vegetable oil based printing where she can.  Being as eco friendly as possible is always in her consciousness when designing.

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