Fonthill resident Alison Ellett describes herself as "an emerging textile artist on a mission to make getting dressed fun." She launched her custom clothing and accessories business, Alison Ruth Designs, in 2008.
Setting up her own design business was the culmination of a long-held ambition for Alison, who has been sewing and embroidering for as long as she can remember. "Growing up, we were not allowed to watch TV unless we were doing something else at the same time," she says. "I still have my first piece of embroidery – a toaster cover I stitched when I was six. My mum used it for over 20 years."
When she was 12, Alison attended sewing lessons at the local Singer sewing machine store, and after that she was hooked. "By Grade 10, I was accomplished enough to tackle the Grade 12 tailoring project. I made a wool suit, fully lined, pleated skirt, welt pockets, notched lapel and all. When I got to Grade 12, I made my brother a corduroy sports coat. Fine by him until he discovered he had to be in the school fashion show...
"It all just grew from there. I’ve been sewing, knitting, embroidering and generally messing about with fabric and thread for over 35 years now. In the fall of 2008, I decided to throw caution to the wind, leave the corporate world and pursue these creative endeavours full-time."
Highlights of Alison’s artistic career include having her designs featured in Style at Home and Fab Magazine, seeing good friends light up when they put on the wedding dress she created just for them, and selling to celebrities through Etsy.
At Who Knew? on April 29, Alison will be selling a selection of her wearable art pieces, which are intended to have presence but to be lightweight, easy to put on and take off, and to move with the wearer.
"Embroidery and beading are integral elements of my work," she explains. "I'm inspired by the textures and colours I find in the fibres, stone, glass and wood of my raw materials.
"There's a strong graphic element to my work. This is felt as you’ve never seen it before!"