A life-long maker and lover of textiles
A bit about me ...
My background isn’t extraordinary, but I have been making things for as long as I can remember and am mostly self-taught. I was surrounded by mum, nan, grandad and aunts, who all used to knit and sew. I have always thought I have my grandad’s hands, as he was constantly making things, whether it be sewing (he did all the family alterations) or making things from wood. I am eternally grateful to him, as I believe I have inherited his love of creating things. We share a creative gene – I’ve known this for almost all my life.
For many years I have been and will continue to be, a teacher first and foremost, as I have always had a passion for passing on the skills that I am so lucky to have. However, in recent years, I have had time to develop my work as a textile designer and artist.
I was lucky enough to attend a primary school that was art-based and there I learned about fabric collage. At Grammar school, I did a dressmaking O Level. I bought my first sewing machine to make my own clothes when I was eleven and have never stopped; going on to make bridal wear and designing Christening robes from wedding dresses.
Later, I taught: dressmaking, embroidery, crochet, tatting and various crafts in evening classes. I added bobbin lace to my repertoire, after teaching myself. Threads fascinate me, so when I saw someone making bobbin lace, I had to learn that too!
I taught evening classes for Skelmersdale and Runshaw Colleges for almost 17 years, but then decided to do primary teacher training. I loved teaching children, and included my textile crafts wherever I could, but then again, it meant giving up evening classes and many of my crafts began to suffer due to a lack of time.
Then, six years ago, I had to take early retirement due to ill health. I have spent most of the past 5 years working on a C&G course: L3 in Craft Design Embroidery. This gave my life a new focus. I started out to try and find a way to include as many of the skills I had, in the work I do. It was a struggle to complete the course because of health issues, but I loved every minute of it. It has introduced me to new techniques and stretched the boundaries to help me design and make my own work. I also pushed myself to attend workshops and courses to further develop my skills.
I have become a designer, who is more confident and able to problem-solve in a way that develops my creativity. The course has also allowed me to discover the methods that will feed my future work.
Today, I still teach bobbin lace! It has become a major part of my life and I design and make my own work besides doing voluntary work for The Lace Guild. I also teach mixed media textiles and embroidery and offer occasional talks and workshops. However, I am also enjoying work on developing new designs.
On a more personal level, I suffer from depression and textile work helps me to deal with this more positively. It is well known that crafts can help reduce our stress levels and I know that it helps me more than I could ever explain.