The Sorting Office gives a big welcome to Miesje Chafer

 Mar 09, 2016

Miesje Chafer is a textile and screen printing designer maker, she works with a wide range of fabrics, producing bold, colourful designs on commission, as wholesale items. Miesja joined The Sorting Office in January, having moved from Oxford to Southsea just last year. We met up with Miesje at her studio in The Sorting Office, to find out a little bit about her.

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HU: First off, tell us a bit about yourself!

MC: I’m Miesje, I’m a textile designer, screen printer and maker, I lived in Oxford for a long time working as a nurse, and then I decided to have a go at screen printing. That was about 5-6 years ago and I’ve just taken it from there really.  Just before Christmas I moved down to Southsea because I wanted to give up nursing and become self employed, then I got a space here just after Christmas, and yeah, that’s it really!

HU: Can you give us a brief introduction to your work?

MC: So I do mostly quite bold patterns, usually just one colour. It’s hard to say what they’re inspired by, I quite like geometric patterns, I like Scandinavian design, designs of the 1950s, and I suppose my work is sort of an amalgamation of all of those but in a really basic form. And I also like really bright, bold neon colours, mixing lots of different fabrics (wool, linen, cotton, leather) and then I use my fabric to make a range of things, cushions, purses and bags, hair accessories and fabric, all sorts of things.

HU: You’ve sort of covered it, but I’ll ask anyway: What inspires you?

MC: It’s hard, people ask me what my inspiration is and it’s nothing specific, It’s not like I see something and go “yeah I’m going to do as a pattern”, you know? It’s not that obvious, it’s a bit more abstract.

HU: What made you decide to move to The Sorting Office?

MC: I was looking in Southsea for studios, and there are a few but they weren’t really right for me, they were looking for artists rather than makers. Then someone told me about The Sorting Office so I emailed Ria (The Sorting Office Studio Manager) and asked if I could come have a look.

Here it’s about half an hour’s drive away from where I live, and I thought it might be a bit far to commute, but then after Christmas I had nowhere to work and I came down here with a car full of stuff and Ria sort of took pity on me. Then I decided that actually it’s worth the drive, It’s not that far and the space is perfect. It’s got everything I need here, there are nice people, it’s well managed. It’s a good find.

HU: What are you working on in the near future?

MC: I’ve got some orders to do for some shops, I seem to be doing quite a lot of wholesale stuff at the moment. I’ve also got a market in London on the 20th of March so I need to make some stock for that, and then I’ve got Artweeks Festival in Oxford in May, then obviously the open studios here. That’s it really, carrying on as is!

HU: Lastly, you’ve been here for a few weeks, how are you finding it?

MC: I love it! I really like it, I like the fact there are people here and it’s sociable but you don’t have to be if you don’t want to, you can just get on with your work and get things done which is really nice. I like the fact I’ve got my own space and I can leave it how I want to, I don’t have to be tidy and I can make a mess. I also like the fact it’s warm – that’s a novelty for me because I was working in a garage before Christmas, which was cold and dark. But yeah I just love it; it’s a really good space!


To see some of Miesja’s work, please visit her website at