Artist Research – Karen Nicol

After finding the artist, Karen Nicol, in a book I recently read, ‘Textile Designers; At The Cutting Edge’ by Bradley Quinn, I instantly became drawn to her lace work. Her work is like a ‘witches brew; an unexpected range of media and eclectic references’ where she uses found objects, vintage textiles, old embroideries, pieces of haberdashery, colours and textures all found at flea markets, car boot sales or vintage boutiques. Nicol believes that ’embroidery is a magical mix today’ which I definitely have to agree with it can be a key element of a costume or in fashion that makes a garment from looking good to amazing. Her work have an unique feel to it which is what caught my eye; her lace stands-out from other lace work because of its different textures, materials and patterns. Her materials change depending on each client which allows her to think laterally so very piece is completely different to the next.

I want to take aspects, styles and inspiration from Nicols’ work and apply similar lace styles into my costumes to create a unique feel to it, however I will need to ensure that it will be good for practical use as well so that it fits into the theme of Cirque du Soleil costumes.


  • Quinn, B. (2009) Textile designers at the cutting edge. London: Laurence King Publishing.
  • 2016, karen nicol (2016) Textile artist. Available at: (Accessed: 26 February 2017).

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