Q&A with Aiveen Daly
Aiveen Daly is a London based textile artist. She has a studio which designs and makes embellished textiles & art for interior designers and architects.
Aiveen enjoyed textiles from a young age, but pursued a more academic route – studying Business & Russian at Trinity College Dublin before a career which covered marketing, working for Newsweek magazine and a dotcom start up. After career changing courses at Central St Martins and the London College of Fashion she founded her studio in 2006. Her work can be found around the world from private properties in Hong Kong to super yachts in Europe.
We are delighted to have the opportunity to learn more about Aiveen, her work & inspiration and what she has planned for the future.
This interview was conducted via e-mail.
Aiveen, thank you for agreeing to answer our questions. Please can you tell us a bit more about your background?
I am from Cork in Ireland originally but have been living in London for over 20 years.
I began the business about 16 years ago buying antique furniture and adding textile artistry finishes such as hand beadwork, embroidery or specialist leather work to the upholstery.
What prompted you to focus on textiles when you decided to make a career change?
I have embroidered and knitted since I was a child. I always loved textiles and the decorative arts, but I didn’t know how to convert it to a career. I came from a professional family, quite academic so a creative life seemed a million miles away. When I started learning upholstery it opened my eyes to the world of interiors and this was a fantastic foundation on which to build my passion for textile artistry.
Was it nerve wracking when you set up your own studio? What were the biggest challenges you faced?
When I started learning upholstery I was repeatedly told not to bother by seasoned craftsmen. I think they were jaded by the insatiable appetite for throw-away high street furniture. Clients didn’t want to invest in repairing or updating existing furniture. This has now totally changed and younger people are much more focussed on sustainability. We offer a high-end ‘luxcycling’ service. Clients can bring existing furniture to us and we will reimagine it by adding sumptuous hand embroidery or leather manipulation. It makes the piece relevant again and often collectable – perfect for the next stage of its life.
It seems like such a delicate art form, how much planning is involved before you can start work on a commission? How long does each piece take to make?
Some of the commissions we work on are 2 or 3 years in planning before we begin making. We spend a lot of time developing new techniques particular to our projects. Commissions take from 10 to 16 weeks usually but the time increases depending on the complexity of the work.
You’ve worked on some amazing projects throughout your career – are there any that particularly stand out to you?
We thrive on difficult commissions that nobody else wants to touch! We have hand beaded panels with over 40,000 beads and upholstered with antique tapestries that cost tens of thousands of pounds. Clients trust us with their most ambitious projects and ideas. It’s high stakes and not for the faint hearted.
Photo Credit: Capital Interiors
It might be like asking you to choose a favourite child, but are their any pieces you have created of which you are most proud?
It’s usually the latest piece I am working on! We’re currently making a large architectural pleated and hand beaded artwork for a super yacht. The commission has devoured metres and metres of luxurious silk and I am proud to say that all the hand bead work will be done here in our studio in London.
Tell us more about your style inspirations – interiors and generally? How do they influence your work?
My own home is quite eclectic with lots of antique textiles juxtaposed with contemporary furniture. I rarely look to interiors for inspiration to be honest as I want to give something totally new to my clients. I love examining couture, fine jewellery, and ceramics for inspiration.
How has the last 18 months affected your work? Have you had to make any changes to your day to day working practices?
The last year has been awful and wonderful in many ways. I love to design quietly on my own so having more time in the studio has been very productive. I really miss seeing my clients though and travelling. We now do so much via zoom which works really well whether the client is in London or Singapore.
What are your plans for the rest of 2021 and beyond?
I’m excited to say that we have been working on some fantastic collaborations during lock down. They are top secret for now but all will be revealed before the end of the year.
Next year I hope to be able to travel again and to visit my clients in the US and Asia.
Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. You can learn more about Aiveen and her work here: www.aiveendaly.com