"I design and make leather accessories and bags under the name of Little Red. When I first started, I was working out of an open plan one bedroom flat which I shared with my boyfriend. The flat was just too small to cope with my growing stash of fabrics, leather, zips, buttons and thread. Also the endless noise of the sewing machine in such a small flat turned home space into industrial space; so it really wasn’t a situation that could last forever.
"A friend told me about the Arches studios in Southampton which gives creative graduates residencies to start and launch their own creative endeavours. It is an amazing space, located under a bridge in the city centre with spaces for approximately 20 artists/craftspeople. I applied and gained the residency in 2006 and I am now just entering my fourth year.
"I have my own individual space within the Arches and 24/7 access. It is a wonderfully vibrant environment to work in; allowing me to develop my own practise while interacting with the other artists in the studio which is both inspirational and supportive. My studio is painted white and I try to keep it clean and practical. My cutting table takes up most of the space along with my ironing board and sewing machines.
"My creative practise has definitely grown as a result of having this studio space away from my home. It has allowed me to experiment with my materials, the size and scale of my work but most importantly it has given me a chance to work free of the distractions which I would suffer in my own house, such as house work.
"I have just been accepted for a two year extension on my residency at the Arches. I am really looking forward to pushing forward my design and making practise with a view to eventually spreading my Little Red wings and entering the big wide world with my own studio and boutique."