Designer exhibits at fair

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A TALENTED textiles designer is preparing to exhibit her work alongside some of the country’s leading creators.

Diane Watson has been invited to showcase her Naughty Dog cushions at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair in Manchester next month.

The prestigious event brings together 150 hand-picked exhibitors who create jewellery, ceramics, woodwork, textiles, art, homeware and fashion.

And it comes just 18 months after Hartlepool mum Diane started making her quirky embroidered cushions and fabrics based on dogs and other animals.

Diane, from Hartlepool, who works part-time as a lecturer at Cleveland College of Art & Design, said: “This is one of the most prestigious events in the crafts calendar because all the exhibitors are invited by a panel of judges including the Tate Gallery. Some of the most talented and creative craftspeople in the UK will be there – big names such as Jennifer Collier, who have very successful creative businesses.

“I am delighted to have my work there particularly as Naughty Dog started as a hobby for me and has grown so quickly. The exhibition will be a chance for me to network and learn how to take my Naughty Dog cushions to the next level.”

Diane creates a range of one-off cushion designs mostly of dogs, but sometimes birds, horses, cats, rabbits and even cars. All of the cushions are embroidered and appliquéd with a range of linen and vintage fabrics.

Her first creation was a Christmas present for her brother Stephen based on his Saluki dog called Ollie.

Since then, Diane has created and sold more than 100 cushions for customers in the UK, USA, Australia, Japan, Italy and Norway, through her blog, Facebook page and website.

Diane, who is mum to Joe, 17, Megan, 14, and three-year-old Charlotte, added: “Selling my cushions online is a great way to reach customers right across the world and social media has been brilliant for spreading the word about Naughty Dog.

“The cushions are particularly popular in the United States and I’ve done four for the Fauve Basset Hound Society – it’s a breed of dog I’d never even heard of before.”

Diane will be exhibiting her Naughty Dog cushions at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair at Spinningfields in Manchester, between October 5 and 7.