Meet Chris English - His STREET ART Aurfil Collection is here!

It was a pleasure to catch up with designer
Chris English.
He chatted about his STREET ART Aurifil Thread Collection!
First of all Chris, congratulations on a beautiful, unique thread box collection for Aurifil thread!  It really is so bright, fresh and fun.  What was your inspiration behind it?
Thank you, I’m super excited about my collaboration with Aurifil, having been part of their artisan program for a couple of years it’s amazing to continue that relationship. My quilting is inspired by lots of stuff but one of the main influences is street art; wherever I travel I always check out the local street art and love seeing the mix of colours, pattern and scale. I’ve been fortunate to travel to several different US cities and always do the street art tours, they provide so much visual inspiration.
How  did you go about choosing all the colours for the collection?  I notice you’ve got 2 variegated threads in there as well, they are really striking! 
This was the hardest part but definitely a lot of fun as well. I use a lot of colour in my work and definitely think more is more, the colours are my favourites picked from street art I’ve seen and then used in my own work. Variegated threads are great for quilting as they always produce unique results and amazing happy accidents where the colours change and look so different.
Tell us about the different thread weights that you’ve included, and how they can be used.
I use a mix of weights in my quilts as I love the contrasting textures you can create. I hoped that by selecting different weights it’d give quilters the opportunity to experiment and try out the different weights for themselves. Floss - I use this for hand quilting, embroidery and hand tying my quilts, it’s super versatile for handwork. 12wt is my go to for hand quilting and I use it a lot, I love that the stitches show up and add texture, I also use 12wt for machine quilting which looks great. 28wt I use for hand and machine quilting, it’s finer than the 12wt so you get a different effect. 50wt is perfect for piecing but these colours in my opinion need to be seen so I’d machine quilt with these and finally 80wt, this is super fine and perfect for machine quilting and adds a sophisticated and subtle texture, it’s also great for needle turn appliqué.
Your box is called 'Street Art.' How did you come up this this concept?  Is your work inspired by Street Art?
Yes, the colours and mix of weights is all inspired by street art, the mix of colours, patterns and textures in street art have always inspired my work. I pitched the idea to Aurifil using a mix of images of art I’d seen, my own quilts and some suggestions on how the different weights would work. I was thrilled when they said yes!
You use a lot of recycled materials and clothing in your quilts.  Tell us more about the importance of sustainability in your work.
I love using recycled material, I think it’s really important to think about the fabric we use in quilting and make sure that we try to be as sustainable as possible, I do use new fabric occasionally but always try to use it alongside recycled fabric. Using recycled fabric also means you’ll produce a unique quilt, and if you source fabric from charity shops you are helping a good cause. Win win.
How do you like to quilt and embellish your quilts with the different Aurifil thread weights? 
I use a mix of hand stitching and machine quilting in my work; I like the contrast between the machine and hand stitches. I also love to hand tie my quilts using a simple knot.
What can we expect to see from you in the next 12 months?  Do share a little! 
One of the few good things to come from the pandemic is the use of zoom to do trunk shows, I love talking about quilts so I would love to do more of these but also get back to doing some in person teaching. I’ve got a lot of ideas for new quilts so hope to turn some of those into actual quilts. I’ve also got some exciting potential collaborations coming up! 
The STREET ART Aurifil thread box collection is available now in the online shop Find out more about Chris by following him on Instagram @afullenglish .