Olivia Kent has always had a passion for textiles and fine arts. As a senior at Furman University, she dove headfirst into using needlework skills learned from her mother for her thesis and began what would become known as “The Chair.” The Chair, taking a dedicated year to complete, had a high back, wings, and an accompanying step stool, completely covered in needlepointed scenes and patterns by the time she was finished. After ending the year with a deeper appreciation for the craft and a BA in Studio Art, Olivia then decided to continue her education by enrolling at the Royal School of Needlework in London.

This three-year rigorous program would focus on specialty training in different methods of hand-embroidery. Graduates left prepared to enter the fashion, textiles, or interiors industries. Olivia’s senior project “When I Grow Up” focused on upcycling thrifted pieces in a lighthearted, kitschy reimagining of business attire. Using vivid colors and patterns, the final ensemble was designed to look like a child’s vision of a sheriff from the wild west, as a reminder to honor our inner child and the dreams of our youth.

Since her graduation from RSN in Summer of 2021, Olivia has consistently taken on commissions, which include bridal veils, whitework ring bearer pillows, custom heirloom handkerchiefs, and a variety of children’s clothes. In the midst of starting her own business, she was presented with the opportunity to acquire Laurie Gould’s embroidery business A Slice of Life. After meeting with Laurie and seeing the incredible foundation she had built, the decision to purchase the company was a no-brainer. Olivia looks forward to continuing Laurie’s legacy, while innovating and expanding under the name Holbrook Handmade in 2022.