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Denise Thompson

Having worked with textiles for almost 40 years, I believe I've gained a vast amount of knowledge and understanding of the industry.  I first began on the shop floor when I left school at 16. I begun my training as a flat sewing machinist. At the time of my training there where many textile factories across the UK. I worked for companies such as John Collier (Burton group) Marks and Spencers and Belstaff International. Working with a range of fabrics from georgette silks to wax cottons and leather. I honed a skill for garment construction. Sadly all these factories have now closed and work slowly got shipped abroad. I left factory work in 1983 when I got married and  settled down to raise my family. While my boys where little I took in sewing both dress and curtain making. In 1994 I started a few part time City & Guilds courses in both soft furnishings and Interior Decorative Techniques, it was here I was encouraged by one of my tutors to take up art lessons. As a young girl at school Art had always been my best subject getting straight A's. My ambition back then was to go to art college to learn graphic design and one day become a designer. Unfortunately this wasn't favoured by my parents and I was firmly told to go and find a proper job. like many from my generation you did as you where told. As my passion for learning grew, that ambition to become a designer became more feasible, I'd always had those two words floating at the back of my mind, "What If". So with the support of my Husband and after completing four years City and Guilds alongside A level Art and Design, I was accepted onto a degree course in International Textiles and Surface Pattern Design. In 2001 I graduated with a BA (hons) Degree. 

I took up freelance work in the first year of graduating as well as taught Fine Art Textiles at both six form and secondary education.


After a number of years as a tutor I started to feel disillusioned with the teaching profession. The pressure of the job was stifling my own creativity and for a while it was put on the back burner.  So I made an agonising decision to leave. I decided to make a change and continue to pursue my creative talent within the medium of fabrics , print and embroidery. I continued to work from my home studio, striving to find my niche market. I made both soft furnishings and garments mainly to commission as well as continued to paint.

As a self taught artist in the use of both watercolour and oil paints I found myself painting figurative for many years. I think this was a reaction to painting flowers for three years on my degree course. 


2018 has been a pivotal point with my art work as I've rekindled my love for painting florals. I'm a keen gardener and only now do I realise what a larder of inspiration I have around me. At the beginning of this year I felt that I'd lost something and was finding it hard to get motivated to paint so I began the #100dayproject on instagram. I set myself a challenge to paint or draw a flower study for 100 days. I'm now turning those studies into surface patterns and building my new portfolio.

At this point I'd like to thank you for taking some time to learn a little about me, I am available for freelance work and licensing If you would like to view my portfolio please get in touch for access, tell me a little about your company and we may discuss how we can work together.


Danti Prini - Italian tie manufacturer. working to industrial briefs to produce small scale repeat patterns for tie manufacture. I had the opportunity to Use the CAD Silicone Graphics System used at the time. Ties being made by Danti Prini included high end clients such as Gucci and Armarni. Later some of the designs where diffused for high street stores such as House of Frazer, Marks and Spencer and Burtons.

Mulberry /Scott Henshall - This was a collaboration. Scott was being appointed as Head of creative design at Mulberry and part of the launch was for him to produce a fashion collection. I was approached by Scott after he saw some of my printed and embroidered design work to collaborate and print these fabrics for him.

Emma MacDonald _ chosen as part of a team with Emma MacDonald textile designer. We produced illuminated lightboxes with devored silks using graphic images taken from album sleeves for inspiration. The work was then exhibited at the Ruskin Gallery Sheffield.


Tiger Print -  Working to an industrial brief to produce a range of innovative designs for the gift and card industry. My work was later chosen and submitted for a competition held at 'Surtex' New York.

Trinity Designs - working to an industrial brief to design and make interior products, my chosen product was lighting.

Paul Joseph Carr - Working and collaborating with North East England fashion designer producing a range of hand embellished garments for his A/W collection. This was exhibited at the 'PURE' Excel trade show London.

Sarah McManus - A collaboration with knitwear designer Sarah McManus using both Freehand machine embroidery and hand embroidery on a selection of knitwear collection for Bruce Oldfield.

Through my collaborations I have had work published in  Elle, Vogue, Times Magazine, International Textiles, Drapers Record. My work has also been shown at exhibitions including Intohome, Ruskin Gallery, Maderia, 'PURE' Excel London, Surtex NY and Indigo Paris.

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