Textile Art by Charles and Patricia Lester

Charles and Patricia have spent more than 50 years experimenting with innovative techniques to add colour and texture to natural fibre fabrics. This has earned them an international reputation for their textile creativity.  Their art is best shown when turned into garments and luxury statement pieces for the home.  They have a passion for colour which explodes on the senses when you first walk into the studio.  The variety of colour goes from vibrant through to pastels, strange combinations and mysterious colours that lie on first inspection but transform when a gentle movement catches the light and reveals hidden moody tones.  A black might deceive but a change of light direction brings out a mystery of hidden depth.  Just as a magpie’s wing appears black but on close inspection it transforms into a rich iridescent peacock blue.

It is a mistake to call their work fashion because fashion is a fleeting art that by the nature of the word has a short time span – here today gone tomorrow.  Perhaps a commercial mistake making clothes that transcend the concept of fashion – it always thrills us when we are told that someone has worn a dress for a special function that they bought more than 20 years ago.  Or that a granddaughter has borrowed a gown for her own important youthful event.

It is important to remember that the person wearing such art-work is the closing of the circle of creativity turning it into a living sculpture – we are a team.

Luxury Textile Art

We never sit back and just make things out of our signature tried and tested textiles that first got us noticed by major museums and magazines around the world.  We love to experiment and find new and exciting methods of texturing fabric as well as the excitement we still feel when playing with colour.  In the studios will be found unusual fabrics that have never been seen before. An experiment that might be totally impractical or impossible to re-create- a happy accident that hides its journey.  This results in a diverse and interesting collection outside our recognised style of the silks that are painted and pleated by hand, or the luxury velvet coats and wraps that add that decadent finishing touch to the simplest of dresses.

Textile Art for Film and Theatre

We occasionally get involved in the extraordinary worlds of film and opera.  Because everything we create is done ‘in house’ – starting with plain white fabric and through the process of hand painting, texturing, printing, distressing we can turn projects around really quickly.  The stories of rapid turnaround like getting dresses for a 10 Commandment film being filmed in Morocco where the set became flooded.  On another occasion – for the film Wings of the Dove we had 48 hours’ notice to get a collection of pleated silk dresses to Venice.  Some films have required us to make nearly all the costumes, others might just be a pair of sleeves on a star!  All projects like this add the fun of research and colour to our lives.