We sat down with textile artist Sarah Trowsdale and textile designer and author, Lucy Rowan to find out a bit more about their creative practice and why they decided to rent a studio here at Colonnade House;

Sarah’s work has strong cultural and historical research elements which explore women throughout history who have been physically engaged in warfare, rebellions or acts of aggression against oppressors. Sarah uses the information she finds to create dynamic art quilts representing them. Presenting their stories in this way makes her research easily accessible to a broad range of socio-economic groups and shares history across cultures and countries.

Find out more;


A stack of books in Sarah's studio

What do you like about working at Colonnade House?

Having my own space to create, this is the first studio space I’ve had and I can feel and see the difference its made to my artistic practice. Having enough physical space to move around my work and view it coming together has allowed me to try out new techniques and made my work more dynamic. Everyone is friendly and encouraging at Colonnade House and I enjoy seeing the different exhibitions that come to the gallery space.

What creative projects have you currently been working on?

I am currently working on a long term project that involves in-depth research into women throughout history. Using this information I create art quilts representing them. 
My work will be exhibited in libraries around West Sussex next summer.  

What inspires you to create?

Being able to discover untold stories and bring them to light for a wider audience. The knowledge my research gives me sends my mind off in so many different directions and brings me no end of inspiration. Textiles are such a versatile medium and I enjoy incorporating different textures and techniques in to my work, giving it more depth. 

What piece of advice helped you on your creative journey?

If you don’t try, you’ll never know.
That’s how everything started for me. I was unsure how to begin with art as a career, whether I could apply for funding and a million other things. But then I thought if I don’t try I’ll never know. Always try.
Also, do what interests you, what you love. Don’t get caught up in what others are doing or what you think you should do. If you are truly invested in your practice you’re going to be the best at it.

Lucy Rowan is a textile designer and maker specialising in weaving. She has been featured in many publications including Mollie Makes and Elle Decoration. She is the author of 4 craft books and you can often find her hosting workshops in the South of England passing on her textile skills.

Find out more;

Facebook   Instagram   Website

What do you like about working at Colonnade House?

Ah, I love it, I love the community, the light, the location. It’s such a brilliant space and I am so happy here. I especially love that I can just about see the sea from my window too. I’ve exhibited a couple of times in the galleries downstairs and have friends who have studios here so I’m no stranger to the space but it’s so lovely coming here to work and having a dedicated space for my looms.

How did you get into weaving, and what inspires you to create?

I’ve been weaving for about 8 years now. I trained and worked as a graphic designer before and have been doing this alongside my weaving for a long time. But after having my daughter I decided to just concentrate on textiles. I’m a self taught weaver and have been addicted ever since I got my first loom. I find inspiration everywhere but especially being around other creative people, boot fairs and charity shops mainly. Definitely fellow weavers too, I’m currently studying at West Dean and love being surrounded by other weavers, there is something very special about that.

Can you tell us a bit about any upcoming projects?

At the moment I am building my website which is dedicated to my weaving space and teaching. I will be holding workshops here in the Autumn on various weaving looms and techniques and I can’t wait to open my studio doors to all. I’ve also got a book coming out early next year so that’s pretty exciting.

What piece of advice helped you on your creative journey?

Oh, that’s tricky, but I think it doesn’t matter if you make a mistake and give yourself time to play. I think it’s so easy to just give up when you feel like a project or a piece of work is not going well and sometimes you just have to push through. So many times new ideas have come from this.

Interested in having a studio space at Colonnade House? Visit the studios page on our website or get in touch for more information.