My journey with textiles began at a young age. At just four, I allegedly sat on a park bench in South London, swinging my legs and enquiring ‘Show me mum, show me’ as I held a pair of home-made wooden needles and some colourful yarn. 14 years later, my choice of Uni degree was met with intrigued looks from friends and relatives when I declared I was off to study fashion knitwear. At Winchester School of Art, I was introduced to a spectrum of new knitting techniques, applications and technologies that motivated my love of textiles and inspired a new creative approach to design.
After graduating, I knew I wanted to continue exploring knitwear in a hands-on, process-led way, and opted to return home to West Cornwall where I knew my creativity would be kept alive; the land and seascapes surrounding me being a continual source of inspiration, fueling new ideas for designs and pieces of knitwear.
Jessye Boulton Knitwear has slowly developed over the past year or so since graduating in 2018. With half my time spent developing the business, designing and hand crafting knitted garments and accessories for men and women, I also work part time with the Cornish holiday letting agency Aspects Holidays, where I enjoy the contrast of a practical, people-orientated job.
My knitwear is made using hand operated knitting machinery using techniques that require skill and attention to detail. I particularly enjoy this slow process, which in turn enables scope for creativity during the creation of the pieces. Some of my designs are even developed on the machine (for example my Hepworth scarves), resulting in unique one-off pieces that can’t be easily replicated. Hand crafting my knitwear in this time-honoured way also has the benefit of being an ethical way of production; the garments and accessories I make use a zero (or very little) waste technique. Individual pieces of knitwear are fully fashioned or shaped on the machine before they are linked together, eliminating any need for excess yarn or fabric. The natural fibres I choose to work with are also sustainable in that they will biodegrade at the end of their life. My products are made using silks, luxury wools, mohair and other natural yarns that create beautifully soft and tactile fabric which adds that touch of luxury.
From dreaming up complex ideas that would take too many hours to make, to whittling them down, test knitting swatches, and finally producing the perfect finished item, I love following the process through from start to finish. The resulting pieces of knitwear are tactile and individual, often subtly capturing the organic colours and contours of the Cornish landscape.
Hand crafted for the modern man and woman, Jessye Boulton Knitwear is made to be worn and loved for many years, often transcending seasonal confines.