I’m an artist, designer and knitter with a rich and diverse portfolio steeped in the artisan traditions of the Arts & Crafts movement, and inspired by my love of Britain's ever-changing landscapes, parks and cottage gardens. I trained in the fine arts, studying painting and sculpture before undertaking an apprenticeship with Quaker potters in the Welsh Marches. As a passionate believer in making joyful, practical and accessible pieces which add a welcome splash of colour to everyday life, my work encompasses everything from knitting design to creating beautiful flooring, tableware and stationery with partners including Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the National Trust and Museums & Galleries (you can see past and present collections throughout this website).
The Arts & Crafts tradition of working across different media has been a major influence on me, and I'm sometimes hardly even aware that I've put down a paint brush to pick up a pencil or my knitting needles! I love 'playing' with materials and seeing where things take me. Whether I'm working on designs for knitwear, ceramics, stationery or flooring, though, I begin by painting or drawing in my sketchbook. I’m endlessly inspired by the natural world surrounding my home studio between the Black Mountains and Bannau Brycheiniog (the Brecon Beacons). My sketchbooks are a visual diary of my life, and their pages quickly become filled with drawings, watercolours, pressed leaves and flowers as I record all of the enchanting details that catch my eye throughout the seasons. From the colours and patterns of a wild flower meadow on a summer’s day, to the shadows formed as a cloud drifts across the mountains, or the ethereal quality of a butterfly’s wings, it’s often the tiniest of details that plants the seeds of a design. These designs are constantly evolving, and many of my latest motifs have their roots in sketches I made years ago.
Having knitted since I was a teenager, I love translating my sketches and watercolours into gorgeous, nature-inspired knits and colourwork motifs, which can be used and treasured for years to come. There's something incredibly special about the way that knitting combines art, craft and practicality but most of all I love the way that knitting weaves all of us and our stories together.
I hold regular knitting design workshops and botanical art classes for knitters in spectacular venues worldwide such as Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, during which I guide participants through the process of designing and charting colourwork motifs based on favourite plants and flowers. It's always a delight to see the participants' creativity blossoming as a workshop progresses.
I'm the author of several knitting books, the latest of which is The Knitted Fabric: Colourwork Projects for You and Your Home (Laine Publishing). The book is a celebration of art and making, and it invites you to step inside my world of colour and creativity. My other books include A Story in Yarn: How to Design and Knit an Intarsia Heirloom Quilt, which leads the reader on the journey to making a beautiful and deeply personal quilt that can be passed from generation to generation.
From knitting books and knitwear designs to exclusive stationery, rugs and flooring collaborations, I'm constantly working on new and exciting projects. Everything I do stems from my love of colour, texture and working with different materials, as well as from my passion for creating and sharing pieces that are a joy to use or to wear. Please follow me on Instagram (@deehardwicke) for regular, behind-the-scenes updates on my latest projects, and for details of my forthcoming workshops and events.