The Good Shepherd

The Good Shepherd is a knitwear company founded in 2013 by RCA graduate Emily Watts. Specialising in hand knitted textiles, the brand creates intricately knitted cushions and throws imbued with a strong sense of British identity, rooted to culture, process and place. The Good Shepherd draws inspiration from the exposed, windswept landscape of the Shetland Islands, following a research trip to Shetland’s northernmost isles where much of Emily’s yarn is sourced.

Knitter

The Good Shepherd

South East England

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THE PROCESS

Emily Watts' pieces combine Shetland tradition with a modern aesthetic. Made from wools including luxurious Bluefaced Leicester, The Good Shepherd’s pieces represent products that are luxurious, modern and richly textured. Emily uses a basic knitting machine to hold her stitches, but every detail of the fabric is manipulated by hand, weaving in yarns to produce pattern and texture. Her work is a celebration of natural and local materials.

Q&A

1. What motivates you to make?

I see making as an expression of problem solving. If I have an idea in my head I don’t rest until I figure out how to make it a reality. The idea may change along the way while I figure out the construction or technique needed to resolve my ideas, but my motivation is having the chance to physically express my imagination within textiles.

2. What and/or who are you most inspired or influenced by?

I’m inspired by construction, whether it's man-made, like a beautifully laid church floor with geometric patterns, or organic, such as the spontaneous construction of mushroom spores with intriguing layers of gils upon gils. Within these things I see a direct relationship to knitting – in its purest form, knitting is a constructed series of loop upon loop. By looking at other manmade and natural constructions, I see the possibilities for new ones within textiles.

Two artists I most admire are Barbara Hepworth and Antony Gormley. I think they both have a very clear and direct relationship to the materials that they work with. Every idea is focused, and expressed clearly and honestly in their sculptures. There is a wonderful confidence in their execution.

3. What is your unique approach to your craft, and how have you honed your skills?

Whilst I use a very basic knitting machine to hold my stitches, every detail of the fabric I make is manipulated by hand, weaving in yarns to produce pattern and texture. I also celebrate and utilise natural, local materials. All of the wool that I use is sourced within the UK, which means from field to fabric it is British.

4. What is your defining or proudest moment as a maker so far?

I would say that a moment that defined me as a maker was doing a residency with The Bothy Project in the remote Cairngorms in Scotland. It was a completely different pace of life, a week without running water or electricity or wifi. It was a wonderful reset and a chance simply to observe. I didn’t knit a single thing whilst there but used the time to record, draw, and think. Ever since, I have tried to bring elements of this into my everyday studio practice.

5. What is your dream project?

I’d love to work on larger-scale commissions such as furniture, wall hangings, or even the scheme for a woodland cabin.

To find out more about commissioning The Good Shepherd for a bespoke piece or to be kept informed about new collections from this particular maker, please email [email protected]

ALL PRODUCTS

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17 Products found

  1. St. Ishmael Rectangular Cushion in Dark Chocolate
    St. Ishmael Rectangular Cushion in Dark Chocolate
  2. St. Ishmael Square Cushion in Dark Chocolate
    St. Ishmael Square Cushion in Dark Chocolate
  3. St Ishmael Square Cushion in Cream
    St Ishmael Square Cushion in Cream
    The Good Shepherd
    £410
  4. Iona Square Cushion (Small)
    Iona Square Cushion (Small)
    Out of stock
    The Good Shepherd
    £240
    Out of stock
  5. Iona Square Cushion (Large)
    Iona Square Cushion (Large)
    Out of stock
    The Good Shepherd
    £410
    Out of stock
  6. Iona Rectangular Cushion
    Iona Rectangular Cushion
    Out of stock
    The Good Shepherd
    £340
    Out of stock
  7. Braeriach Floor Cushion
    Braeriach Floor Cushion
    The Good Shepherd
    £820
  8. Cairngorm Floor Cushion
    Cairngorm Floor Cushion
    The Good Shepherd
    £820
  9. St. Ishmael Rectangular Cushion in Cream
    St. Ishmael Rectangular Cushion in Cream
  10. Square Braeriach Wool Cushion
    Square Braeriach Wool Cushion
    Out of stock
    The Good Shepherd
    £325
    Out of stock
  11. Square Cairn Gorm Wool Cushion by The Good Shepherd
    Square Cairngorm Wool Cushion
    The Good Shepherd
    £325
  12. Large Sneachda Wool Cushion by The Good Shepherd
    Large Sneachda Wool Cushion
    Out of stock
    The Good Shepherd
    £410
    Out of stock
  13. Square Bruthach Wool Cushion (Brown & White)
    Square Bruthach Wool Cushion (Brown & White)
    Out of stock
    The Good Shepherd
    £325
    Out of stock
  14. Square Brutrach Wool Cushion (Brown & White) by The New Craftsmen
    Square Bruthach Wool Cushion (Grey & White)
    Out of stock
    The Good Shepherd
    £325
    Out of stock
  15. Woven Chevron Four County Cushion
    Woven Chevron Four County Cushion
    Out of stock
    The Good Shepherd
    £225
    Out of stock
  16. Medium Cairngorm Wool Cushion
    Medium Cairngorm Wool Cushion
    Out of stock
    The Good Shepherd
    £385
    Out of stock
  17. Large Beinn Wool Cushion
    Large Beinn Wool Cushion
    Out of stock
    The Good Shepherd
    £410
    Out of stock
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17 Products found