Studio Nineteen

As ever, we are excited about the Wednesday interview. This week, even more so – we have two interviews for the price of one! Yes! Two!

The two gorgeous ladies behind Studio Nineteen, Becky and Rosie.

Studio Nineteen, the home of creativity! Based in Belfast we run a range of sewing, knitting and customising workshops for all ages and abilities.

We believe that learning is easy when it’s fun so our workshops are professional, relaxed, friendly and dedicated to teaching you lifelong practical skills. It is totally up to you whether you use those skills for pleasure or business, to save money or make money.

Our studio is located at Conway Mill in Belfast, a listed building steeped in history, tradition and community spirit, making it the perfect environment for the learning of traditional crafts.”

Becky Moore is the Creative Director of Decadence Vintage Events and the gal behind the Frock Around The Clock Vintage Fairs, The Retro Rooms Show and Decadence Vintage Bridal Fairs.

Having learnt to knit and sew at the age of 5, she began making her own clothes as a young teenager and went on to win the school cup for Domestic Science and was soon in great demand to make frocks and carry out clothing alterations for friends and later on clients of her vintage business Decadence.

Her passion for vintage fashion and for sewing and knitting are the perfect mix for creativity and she loves restyling old garments and the challenge of turning something old and forgotten into something new and desirable. She produces a range of fashion accessories and knitwear under the Decadence label.

It’s never too late to master a new skill and learn what used to be taught in the home and the classroom, and Becky believes that there is nothing quite as satisfying as being creative and making something with your own hands.”

“In her role as costume designer Rosie Moore has worked on various theatre productions such as Dancing Shoes – the George Best story (GBL Productions), Dockers (The Lyric Theatre) and This is What we Sang (Kabosh Theatre Company) as well as many other projects including film, TV, carnival and panto. She regularly facilitates art workshops for the Beat Initiative and other arts organisations in schools and community groups. She has been a fashion and design tutor for Belfast Metropolitan College and a stagecrafts tutor for Starburst Childrens’ Theatre school. Recently she joined forces with her friend Becky Moore to set up Studio Nineteen in Conway Mill where they provide workshops teaching people to sew and knit.

Rosie has her own fashion design business called Lulu Rose and designs and makes fashion items using vintage and recycled materials which she sells online and at various vintage fairs and retail outlets.

She is also a singer songwriter and regularly performs at Frock Around the Clock vintage fairs. She is passionate about her writing and as well as songs she has written poetry and short stories. Her dream would be for other people to want to sing her songs.”

How and here are you at today?

Becky: I am the creative director of Decadence Vintage and the Frock Around The Clock Vintage Fairs. In my ‘spare’ time I sew, knit and generally craft whatever takes my fancy, creating fashion accessories, restyled clothing, and my own range of ‘Pulp Art’ canvases. I also run the Studio Nineteen sewing and knitting workshops along with my friend Rosie Moore.

Rosie: I’ve just spent the last 6 weeks making almost 140 costumes for Ashfield Girls High School dance troupe as they’re taking part in Rock Challenge, so I’m winding down and recharging my batteries in the Ikea café, looking out over the docks and Cavehill, drinking a nice cup of coffee. I’m feeling happy with the work I’ve produced and excited about planning what to do next.

How would you describe the journey that has brought you to this place? And was this the destination you had in mind?

Becky: I have always been a crafty, creative and artistic person but when I was younger I never thought that I would be able to make a living using these skills and qualities. I spent 21 years in the Civil Service before I finally took the plunge to follow my dream of owning a vintage shop where I also restyled, restored and altered clothing for customers. Although I loved running the Decadence boutique it was a difficult 2 years trying to balance being tied to the shop and the task of juggling family commitments, so when I closed the shop and set up the Frock Around The Clock Vintage Fairs instead I found that I had much more freedom to fit my working hours around my family life and my creative needs. Finally after 4 years of running the vintage event business I find that I have the balance right and the joint decision with Rosie to set up the Studio Nineteen sewing and knitting workshops has given me much more satisfaction and enjoyment as now I am spending more time creating than I am spending at the computer planning and organising events so I think I can finally say that I have arrived at my planned destination.

Rosie: A lot of paths I’ve taken have been influenced by different encounters and people I’ve met along the way. When I was young I was always creating and making things and for a long time lost this passion and ended up in a sales career, which I enjoyed for the craic and strong characters I worked with. Then one day about 10 years ago I decided to change everything and get back on my creative path, so I enrolled in college to study fashion and textiles, and here I am today! I never really had a destination in mind and I still love exploring and learning, so I guess for me it really is all about the journey and not the destination.

Do you have a process to ensure you are in the right frame of mind to create?

Becky: I have quite an ordered mind and find it difficult to create if my environment is disorderly or if I have a pile of paperwork lurking in the background, so I like to tidy the house and sort out my desk before I begin. A few cups of tea, a bit of chocolate and some background music also helps! Having company and someone to talk to also helps the creative process so its great sharing the studio with Rosie.

Rosie: Once I start a creative process the excitement of it carries me along. In the beginning ideas float around randomly in my head and practically take up all my thinking time, day and night. Then a filtering process happens, where the good bits remain and are developed into what will become the finished product. I’ve never had any fear of creativity drying up, as I somehow know ideas will always come to me from somewhere. A sort of blind faith I suppose!

How do you think your background and culture influences your creations?

Becky: My Mum was always at the sewing machine when I was a small child and she made our clothes as well as doing sewing jobs to earn money so I learnt to sew at a young age and by the time I was an early teen I was making my own clothes too. I was of the generation that learnt needlework and cookery at school and I won the school cup for Domestic Science. We always had a ‘make do and mend’ ethos at home so it is something that has always been with me and I love to recycle vintage fabrics and trimmings in my creations. My love of vintage fashion really inspires me too so I love to collect and use vintage sewing patterns. I also love vintage paper and ephemera and my Pulp Art creations are made using old women’s magazines from the 1940s and 1950s.

Rosie: One of my grandmothers was a clothes designer for a department store, the other was an expert embroiderer; one grandfather was a builder and the other was a pattern maker in the shipyard, so it must be in the blood. My father is artistic, though he never pursued it as a career. As a designer I’m very logical, considering at every stage how things are going to be made, after all making costumes is all about construction and problem solving. As a songwriter a lot of my songs tell a story and have an element of humour in them. When I was growing up there was a lot of fun in our house, and to this day I can sit and have a good laugh with my parents, who are both in their 70’s.

What does beauty mean to you?

Becky: Beauty is an experience that pulls at my heartstrings and brings a tear to my eyes. It can be spending time with my children, cuddling up with my cat, or the enjoyment of receiving a parcel of wool or fabric in the post!

Rosie: If something makes my heart happy then it is beautiful to me. Mostly I find beauty in nature and all its sensuous sights, sounds and smells. There is a part of the sky over Belfast which has a glorious golden sunset. If I wake early hear birdsong, I get up and open the window so I can hear it better, and I love being by water. My two favourite places in the world are Victoria Park in Sydenham and Newcastle at the foot of the Mournes. I also find things other people have created beautiful if I can see and feel how much of themselves they have put into it. I know what it takes to expose yourself in art, so I appreciate this in others and admire them for it.

At 11 what would you have told us you wanted to be when you grew up?

Becky: A pilot! (This soon changed after I discovered I was afraid of heights and when I witnessed a plane crash at age 12).

Rosie: I wanted to be a dancer. I loved music and used to dance for hours in my bedroom. When I was younger I wanted to be a ballerina and even had lovely ballerina wallpaper, then Pan’s People came along and I funked it up a bit! That particular career has passed me by, but I still love music and have the odd boogie round the house when a good tune comes on the radio.

What advice have you received that you want everyone to benefit from?

Becky: There is nothing you can’t do if you try.

Rosie: When I was young my father always told me ‘There’s no such word as can’t’. It’s been instilled in me and if there’s something I set my mind to, I never, ever give up. Another piece of advice (from a calendar I think) is ‘Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time’, which is what you could say I’m doing today. I’m having a good pockle, enjoying your thought-provoking questions and . . . oh yes, time for another coffee I think.

We are so delighted to have had these unbelievably talented ladies on the blog today, and are quite confident that you will have been as inspired by their tenacity as we are. The fantastic element of doing these interviews, is that every week, new creative souls are joining the ranks of Handsome and Pretty. We see these Wednesday posts not just as a fleeting glimpse into peoples lives, but rather the first step in a journey with them. Valued connections that will be the start of something wonderful.

Thank you so much Becky and Rosie, you are part of the family!

handsome and pretty

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