Born in Yorkshire, England, Philippa discovered a love of sewing and knitting as a child and says it is difficult to remember when she first began to sew as "It was something that I have always done and something that was always being done around me. From being very small my mother made my dresses, one grandma knitted me an endless supply of cardigans and the other embroidered all kinds of lovely things." A second hand sewing machine for her 13th birthday enabled her to progress from making dolls clothes to full sized garments for herself, family and friends. "I sewed all the time making clothes, bags, rag dolls and just about anything else I could think of. At age fifteen I made a fully lined velvet jacket, and at seventeen a tailored wool trench coat with hand rolled linen interlining and hand-stitched gimped buttonholes. I decided that I wanted to become a 'fashion designer' - whatever that was!"
Leaving school at the age of eighteen Philippa enrolled on an intensive four year college course where she trained to be a clothes designer. "This was great fun and I learnt so much about the clothing industry - from how to calculate work study payments for machinists to designing a production line to tailoring and pattern cutting." On completion of the course Philippa worked in industry for 5 years designing lingerie, and by the age of 25 had been promoted to head designer which gave her a bigger role with a considerable amount of responsibility. She travelled widely and became much more actively involved in dealing with our customers.
Moving to Saudi Arabia in 1989 (to join her husband who was working there) Philippa set up a successful business making bespoke wedding and evening dresses.
It was in Saudi that she began to quilt. In 1996 a chance meeting with a Welsh quilting teacher led to a three morning course where Philippa made a small paper pieced pineapple quilt which used four fabrics. She was hooked! Philippa describes a 1999 visit to the US, where she took four days of classes with Margaret Miller at Quilting-By-The-Lake, as a 'Road to Damascus' experience. Here for the first time she was exposed to art quilts and the many techniques and styles modern quilting encompasses. From this moment on she has made only original quilts using her own hand dyed fabrics. These quilts employ intricate curved piecing and the heavy use of free-motion machine quilting with trapunto. Philippa feels her technical expertise and designer training have enabled her to bring her own style to her work.
Philippa has had great success in quilt shows in both the UK and America, and won many top prizes including awards in four consecutive AQS shows (including the 'Bernina Workmanship Award' with 'Pop Stars'in 2002 and 'Best of Show' with 'Lime Light' in 2003).
Most recently 'Star Sign' won the 'Pfaff Machine Artistry Award' at the 2007 International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX.
In 2004 after living in Saudi Arabia for 15 years Philippa and her family returned to Yorkshire, driving home - a journey of 10,000 miles across twelve countries over nine weeks. After a break from quilting to take time out to help in restoring their Victorian home Philippa is enjoying the opportunity to teach more widely when she's not working in her delightful purpose built studio.
Philippa travels internationally visiting the US at least twice a year to teach a wide range of design and techniques classes. These range from half day to five day sessions and cover all the techniques used in her own work. For more information email Philippa or visit her website: www.philippanaylor.com.