About Les and Nikki

About Lesley Turpin-Delport

Lesley has a Fine Arts degree and post graduate teaching diploma and has been an enthusiastic teacher, lecturer and author of art and needlecraft since the early 70’s. She has taught needlecraft in many countries including Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, UK and the U.S.A. Apart from many exhibitions in Johannesburg, she has also exhibited work in Japan, Maastricht and London. Les lectured on finishing touches for fashion at Leggat’s School of Design as well as tutored at the SA fashion week when she lived in Johannesburg. Les writes articles for international needlecraft magazines. She is currently working on private commissions on art and art embroidery.

Lesley resides in Knysna, South Africa.

Artist at work – mural painting in Knysna, South Africa

About Nikki Delport-Wepener

Nikki is a qualified school teacher and certified embroidery artist, having trained in Freestyle embroidery in South Africa with Lesley. She attended the Royal School of Needlework and City and Guilds when she moved to London. Currently Nikki teaches free-style embroidery at her studio in Hong Kong as well as overseas. Her Asian experience includes Chinese double-sided embroidery, bookbinding and Qipao construction (Chinese dress and button making).

Nikki moved to Hong Kong in January 2006 and opened Les Designs there while Lesley runs Les Designs South Africa. Since then Nikki has continued to teach, exhibit and lecture worldwide on freestyle embroidery. She consults and designs for fashion and interior decorators as a Textile Artist, working on unique once off pieces, as well as private commissions across Asia and worldwide. Nikki enjoys designing new techniques, integrating Eastern and Western cultures and mastering techniques from antiquity.

Fun commissions:
Over the years Nikki has worked on different commissions for interior decorators, private clients and hotels. One design has been featured as an advert for a product in China: Nikki stitched white flowers using silk embroidery and gold threads.

Nikki stitching the commission
Being filmed for the advert
Close up of the work through the TV lens
Commission for tv
Close up of the work through the TV lens
Artist at work – intricate stitches in silk and gold threads create these beautiful blossoms

Macau Project
Hanging in the lobby of the Hotel “Studio City” in Macau, you will find Nikki’s artwork created using appliqué, embroidery and metal beads.

Together …

Lesley is enmeshed in creating bespoke Designs for Living such as art, embroidery, couture and interiors. Nikki is working in collaboration with Lesley on bridal embroidery.
Together they offer many disciplines in small group classes internationally and locally. They have exhibited and tutored in England, France, and Australia at the annual international shows for many years. By invitation they have also tutored/lectured/exhibited in the Americas, Italy, New Zealand, Hong Kong and South Africa.

Enjoy a creative and inspiring journey and enter into Les Designs for Life…

Remembering Mandela

A very special moment with Nelson Mandela looking at one of my books “Quilts and Quilting in South Africa” at my home in Orchards, Johannesburg on the 1st August 1992.

Remembering Nelson Mandela
Remembering Nelson Mandela

I was hosting an Embroidery and Quilting Exhibition of the work created by a group of teachers I had trained and their students’ work. It was late afternoon on the Saturday and Madiba was taking a stroll in Orchards. One of my special embroidery friends greeted him and he asked if he could come and see the work. He spent more than an hour and a half chatting to the students and teachers. We spoke at length about the storehouse of talent in South Africa and he was very excited about the idea of building bridges within South Africa and internationally by encouraging the creative arts. I explained that many women could embroider and quilt at home while their children were small and sell their handwork at markets, to the fashion industry and interior design shops. The scope was and continues to be huge.

My journey with the needle over the past 20 years has taken me to many countries where I have worked with all nationalities. I meet up with my daughter and embroidery partner Nikki who is based in Hong Hong at the moment. We teach worldwide, swop anecdotes and celebrate our rainbow nation with the students while they stitch. May the thread that binds us continue to build the bridges of a true democracy!

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