A former textiles teacher with a passion for utilising traditional skills to create hand-painted fabric signs has launched her own business to supply unique backdrops for events.

Sheffield-based Charlotte Scott was inspired to establish Sparrow and Thistle after herself finding it difficult to order bespoke textile signage for her own wedding last autumn.

The entrepreneur, a former textiles teacher at Bolsover School, is utilising practical techniques honed during her fashion design and textiles degree from Huddersfield University. Charlotte has now opened a studio in Kelham Island, Sheffield, where she hand-paints large scale fabric signs to individual client requirements. She designs, makes, and supplies signs for a range of events including corporate gatherings, networking events, weddings, and celebrations.

Charlotte said: “I’m so excited to be able to draw upon my experience and skills to launch Sparrow and Thistle. While I recognise it’s a challenging time to start a business, I’m finding that customers are seeking to support local businesses and there’s a strong camaraderie of creative entrepreneurs in Sheffield who have been supportive of my journey to date.

“Hand painting on fabric is a modern slant on tapestry techniques and it’s my vision to keep traditional methods alive to create unique, memorable fabric signs. It creates a textured, natural look which is one-of-a-kind and therefore something special to use as a unique backdrop in event spaces. I’m also finding that customers like to either keep the signs as a keepsake or to utilise time and time again, making this traditional and creative method environmentally friendly too.”

Charlotte has secured supplier slots with several wedding and events distribution businesses and has also displayed her signage at several showcases across South Yorkshire in recent weeks. She also has her sights set on using her embroidery skills to expand the Sparrow and Thistle range in the future.

Charlotte added: “I have always wanted to start my own business and it wasn’t until I picked up my brush to create my own wedding sign that I realised I could do it. That was absolutely the catalyst I needed. I feel motivated to showcase what is possible in the creative textiles industry and would urge anybody to explore what’s possible if they have an idea for a business. It’s important to me to keep the skills in the textile industry alive and well and hope that others are inspired to do the same. Sparrow and Thistle is worlds apart from teaching and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”