Mother // Maker : Kayleigh Excell of Kindred Quilting Co
Hello! I’m excited to introduce a new feature here on the blog: Mother / Maker - where I will be talking to other designer/maker/mothers who are living out their small business dreams alongside the very demanding role of motherhood.
My first guest on the blog is mum of two Kayleigh, who designs and handcrafts modern quilts from her London home. Bringing together traditional quilting skills with a clean modern aesthetic, Kindred quilts are versatile heirlooms that are as useful as they are beautiful.
What sparked ‘Kindred Quilting’? What made you decide you wanted to make quilts?
I took up sewing after the birth of my daughter Frances. I wanted a creative outlet whilst on maternity leave and once I got going I couldn’t stop! I started selling baby bonnets which I really enjoyed but after taking a break to have my son August I felt like I needed a change of direction. When he was just a few weeks old I was playing with him on the floor and the idea of a modern patchwork quilt came to me. I began sketching some ideas and that’s how it all began!
Where did the name ‘Kindred’ come from?
I came up with lots of names: Kind Quilts, The Kind Quilt Co, Nurtured Quilts! Then the word Kindred came into my head and I knew it was perfect. To me Kindred means that despite our differences we can all relate to each other in one way or another, whether it's through family, friendships, or traditions. It is my hope that this little shop will stand for these values.
Which came first, mother or maker? Have you always been creative?
I have always been creative so I guess the maker came first. I used to make friendship bracelets with my sister at primary school and sell them in the playground so I guess I’ve always had a creative business side to me! I worked in market research for ten years where I didn’t really do much creatively apart from some jazzy PowerPoint presentations! So rediscovering my creative side after becoming a mum was such a wonderful experience for me and it has really changed my outlook on life.
How has motherhood inspired you?
Motherhood hasn’t directly inspired my designs but it has made me re-evaluate what is important to me in life which is being present for my children and being happy. Having a creative outlet and the dream of a career that supports these things is what drives my passion for Kindred.
What is a typical day for you? Would you say you have a good work/life balance?
A typical day for me is loud, chaotic, and messy; having a two and a half year old and eight month old is hard work! When I am caring for my children I try to put my phone down and focus on them, although that’s not always possible, sometimes I have to just put on Sesame Street so that I can answer a few messages! It’s very difficult to juggle both and I do feel that I am very hard on myself. But I feel that all we can do as parents is try our best. Work will always creep into life and vice versa so I just want to manage it as best as I can.
What does self-care look like for you?
Before becoming a mum it probably involved some sort of beauty routine, painting my nails, and watching a box set. Now it involves 5 minutes to shower, a hot cup of tea and a few hours to myself behind the sewing machine. Even though I have much less time for myself now and probably don’t look after my skin and hair as much as I should, I feel much more fulfilled with being a mum and running a creative side hustle.
Do you have a creative space?
Yes, it’s a tiny room in my home that is also currently Gus’ bedroom until he transitions into sharing a room with his sister. But there’s just enough space for my sewing table, fabric, and tools. It looks out over the garden and I love spending my Sunday’s sewing in there and listening to BBC 6Music.
Do you have any favourite mother-makers/designers?
There are so many! I love Sunwoven, everything about her beautiful designs, colour choices, style, and dreamy home. For quilting Vacilando is definitely one of my favourites. Her quilts are stunning and her nomadic lifestyle is so inspiring. Esme and Ivy is another inspiring brand for me. Kayleigh has been such a great support and I love everything she stands for in terms of her timeless designs and heirloom pieces. There are many others, too many to list, and of course logii! I absolutely love your Scandi inspired designs and earthy palettes.
What are your dreams for the future, as a mother and a maker?
My dream is to be able to be present for my children and do a job that I am passionate about that can work around motherhood. Sometimes this seems realistic and other times it seems impossible. At the moment I am optimistic! Frances is attending nursery later this year which will free up a little time for me so that I can work more on Kindred. I have so many plans for this little brand and I cannot wait to see where it takes me!
Well there you have it. Thank you so much Kayleigh for taking the time to answer my questions. You have such a lovely and inspiring brand; I’m so happy you agreed to be my first blog guest :-)
You can find more from Kayleigh over on her website. Please go and show her some love and support for her small and perfectly formed business.