Martha Steadman


Martha Steadman, 22. Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, BA (Hons.) Textile Graduate 2009.

– specialism: Woven Textiles. 


Design Background:  

Before moving to London to do my degree at CSM, I studied at UWIC in Cardiff doing my art and design foundation. Before that I was fresh from comprehensive school where my A levels were in art, product design and textiles, as I always knew this was a passion that I wanted to make a career and lifestyle. My motivation for designing is fuelled by my self criticism and challenging my self at all times, I thrive off being under pressure and in a way I am usually the cause of my own stress! I love researching different trends and other factors in design that all bounce off and effect each other. In truth I like to use the logistic as well as the creative side of my brain when I am designing and brainstorming. I have assisted in design studios such as Olivia Rubin London and Alexander McQueen.


What was the most valuable you learned before starting at your education?

Always face the sun so that the shadow falls behind you. To keep persisting with your creativity at all times. Input= output.


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Project title:

Welsh Heritage



Looking back to my homeland in Wales was my inspiration. I have tried to change conceptions of this concealed country. I looked back at my country’s association with coal mining, the Valleys, welsh costume, traditional fabrics, Celtic patterning and the infamous dragon. Blending all of these influences into an atmospheric contemporary collection I have sustained the sense of belonging to a by- gone era. 

Taking the double cloth carthen (blanket) weaving as my foundation, the woven collection is created from a base of graphite black and crisp white cottons and silks. It uses seersucker to create volume and structure that harks back to my homeland. Blocks of dust pink and mined gold punctuate the landscape like the terraced housing of the Valleys. The narrative of the Principality’s history is depicted through coal blacks, slate greys, daffodil yellow and highlighted with fiery red and pink. 

Traditional images and practices re- emerge through a series of unique fashion fabrics making this collection a truly intimate and personal journey. 




Where do you get inspiration from in general? 

Inspiration is all around, I am  quite fickle when it comes to inspiration as I can take it from anywhere, usually places I visit, galleries, wandering around anywhere with a camera, exhibitions etc. Look at everything through artists eyes.


How is your process when you design? 

My designing always begins with hand drawing and brainstorming. Briefly looking into a number of ideas and where they can take me then I just run with the strongest. From that I develop my colour palette, yarn choice and trend direction. 


What do you find most difficult about the design process? 



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What are your strenghts? 

Use of colour and composition. Understanding of what yarns and fabrics can give me what looks. Experimentation.


What are your weaknesses? 

Not being able to concentrate on one thing at a time. Stress.


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Describe your collection with three words? 

Personal, colourful, refreshing.


What techniques did you use:

To create my collection I used both dobby and jacquard machines to weave. I used a technique called seersucker where the tensions on the warp are loosened to create volume and a ruffled effect on the fabric. My main technique was experimenting with double cloth weaving and making a Varity of fabric weights in the collection.


Do you have a technical or conceptual approach to designing?

My approach is both conceptual and technical. The technical side of designing gives boundaries in which you have to fit your concept. I like to work around things and change my ideas throughout projects. Sometime your best work can be un- planned ‘happy’ accidents.


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What technique is your favorite?

Any weaving interests me but I would say pleating and seersucker excite me the most because there is an element of risk and I like to see 3d fabrics being constructed on loom.


How long did you work on this project?

The development was around 3months and the practical, 2 months.


Is there something you regret not doing in your collection?

It is not so much regret but to have made complete garments would have completed the project I feel, although I do quite like the versatility of them as fabrics alone.


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What made you pursue Woven Textiles? 

Weave appealed to me because of the intensity and the satisfaction of seeing your fabrics that started from a cone of white yarn. The technical side of setting up and planning helps you get a thorough understanding of the process. Dying yarns teaches you what works and what doesn’t and properties of different fabrics. Knowing that what you made was totally from scratch is a geeky buzz.


What designers inspire you?

Luella, Chloe, Etro, Burberry, Giles, Margiela. My interest for designers is vast; it depends on what I am working on at the time!


Which designer would you like to work for in the future?

Developing fabrics for a house like Chanel, Jaeger and Burberry. But I also could see my work and attitude to fit in with Luella and Chloe.


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Why did you choose Central Saint Martins? 

Applied on an off chance and got in.


What did you think of the education?

Independent studying but always supported technically and by tutors. Key is to communicate with them. 


During your education, which project has been your favorite?

Final project.


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What advice would you give new students?

Although everyone says this cliché…It is really important to stick to what you believe in and follow your creative path. If you trust and believe in it, other people will too! Nothing spells success more than the appearance of success.


What was your childhood dream job?

I always was creative and wanted to peruse a life in fashion and textiles.


Have you ever been nominated or won a design competition? 

Texprint weave winner

Rosemery house creative weaver award

Worshipful company of weavers scholarship.




With one word, what is your best quality?

Open minded.


Were can we find more information on you?




Contact info:





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