Woven tex­tile de­signer Margo Selby

Country Homes & Interiors - - CON­TENTS -

Tex­tile de­signer Margo Selby loves The Street in Whit­stable

I moved to Whit­stable about five years ago and ever since then I’ve been in love with The Street on Tanker­ton Beach. This part of the shore­line re­veals it­self when the tide goes out and you’re left with a long, half-mile strip of island, which you can walk right out to the end of, so it feels like you’re al­most stand­ing in the mid­dle of the sea with wa­ter all around you.

I’ve got quite an emo­tional re­ac­tion to wa­ter and I find the feeling of space all around me re­ally pow­er­ful. This is also why The Street is so amaz­ing in au­tumn and win­ter as the seas can be rougher and add to that ex­cite­ment of be­ing in the mid­dle of it all. I’m some­body who loves storms – I love thun­der and light­ning and waves, and the en­ergy you get from wa­ter.

The path is so mag­i­cal in that it only ex­ists twice a day and com­pletely dis­ap­pears at high tide. The area it­self is lovely, with the peb­bled beach and its tempt­ing wild fen­nel flanked by rows of beach huts. On the hori­zon there’s a wind farm, which both­ers a lot of peo­ple, but I ac­tu­ally like them, even be­yond the re­new­able en­ergy they pro­duce, as I find the move­ment of the arms as they go round quite en­er­gis­ing.

Find­ing a time when low tide co­in­cides with sun­set is the most in­cred­i­ble thing. It’s un­usual to have the sun set to the east of Eng­land, but be­cause of the way Whit­stable is an­gled you get this lovely sun­set over the sea. Then, af­ter walk­ing out onto this long, thin strip of sand, the lit­tle dim­ples in the sand be­gin to fill up with wa­ter and as the sun comes down they re­flect the sun and glow orange, so it’s al­most like be­ing on an alien sur­face. It’s quite ro­man­tic!

It’s be­come an im­por­tant spot for me in the five years I’ve been en­joy­ing this view. My dad moved in with us a year af­ter we set up here be­cause he was un­well, and for those last two years of his life this is where we would take him. He wasn’t that mo­bile, but we were able to drive him down and let him soak in the view, and the mem­o­ries and pho­to­graphs I have of him at the edge of the sea are some­thing I cher­ish. We even scat­tered his ashes at the end of The Street af­ter he passed away, which makes it an even more poignant spot.

Moving to Whit­stable has changed my work a lot. I’ve al­ways been a ‘more is more’ per­son with lots go­ing on in my de­signs, but since I’ve been liv­ing here I’ve been cre­at­ing sim­pler work, much more pared back, like my hand­wo­ven art­works de­signed by tak­ing small el­e­ments and blow­ing them to get th­ese big bold ab­strac­tions of colour. I think it’s to do with the pace of life and en­joy­ing the slow­ness you can get from mak­ing tex­tiles, as well as the slow­ness you get from liv­ing in a place like this. It re­ally is amaz­ing.

To see Margo’s most re­cent hand­wo­ven art­works, go to mar­

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