Charlene is an award-winning theatrical costume designer and jewellery tutor.
Her first couture role was at the Philip Treacy studios where she worked on hats for Ascot. Since then she’s been a ‘Sparkle Specialist’ for shows such as Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing on Ice, responsible for the Swarovski embellishment of the contestants’ costumes and hand-making the intricate jewellery and accessories.
Charlene’s work has been exhibited in the V&A and shown in Moscow, Prague and Ireland, as well as being featured in a range of magazines.
Charlene also teaches jewellery construction to adults and children in schools and colleges. She thoroughly enjoys teaching others skills and encouraging them to explore their imagination.
What do you like?
Embellishment and lots of it! As well as bright colours, flowers and peacock-inspired prints. The Victorian era inspires me a lot; old keys, letters, pearls, crinolines, fans, day gloves, charms, lace and peaches and cream palates.
I also love huge theatrical productions, eccentric characters, Swarovski and Steampunk. My favourite designer is John Galliano. He brings theatrics to a whole new level.
What don’t you like?
When I don’t get something right the first time around. It’s the downside of being a perfectionist!
What’s the best thing about being a designer?
Being blessed with endless imagination. It helps me to discover the magical elements in everyday life, bringing those forward and being inspired to create innovative ideas.
If you could have any artwork in your house, what would it be?
Children’s art inspires me the most. They’re so fearless of the blank canvas. Regardless of intentions their work, to me, always looks so comical. My nephew, Jamie’s artworks inspire and bring me laughter almost every day of my life. His ‘wall of fame’ will take over the house one of these days.
What’s your advice for young artists?
My mantra is ‘Always be true to yourself’.
I’m inspired by the words of poet, Robert Frost, ‘Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.’
Charlene’s Work with Children’s Art School