So who am I…
I started studying textiles at the age of 16 (officially) when I took a BTEC in fashion and textiles, although I had been sewing from a much earlier age. I have been making costumes and props for school productions since I first discovered the DT department at my secondary school. I continued this love of characters and design through my university studies using textiles as the output for much of my Fine Art. When I left DeMontfort I went on to work in the leisure industry for many years as a manager while working freelance in the creative industries. I came back to my truly creative roots when I retrained as a secondary school teacher, which I thoroughly enjoyed for years until I was unfairly dismissed on the grounds of pregnancy. I did not let this hinder me though and saw it as a chance to take a new direction. Having just qualified with a Masters in Fine Art focusing on engaging the public with Art I opened a community Art centre. This ran for nearly 6 years until 2017 doing a whole host of amazing things and helping huge numbers of people.
…So what came next…
I spent some time focusing on me and my goals. I worked with the ICHF, the Ministry of Steampunk, Apocalypticus Events and others. I launched my own clothing and costume company – returning to my original training from all those years ago! And I finally had time to write the book I have been promising for many years.
…Do I do this alone…
I work with my husband and my four children often join in too. My husband launched his own company in 2012 working with creative people and it became so busy with commissions and projects that he now works from a purpose built studio right next to mine at home. We combine what we do and most of our projects overlap in some way.
My family have always had such a large influence on everything I make and do that it is natural for them to be part of this with me. We all enjoy coming up with new ideas and working on them together and with the workshops and studios being at home everyone gets the chance to join in daily.
…What is the current focus in my work…
I am currently involved in spreading the knowledge of Wabi Sabi. It is a major part of my life and I find that it has such a positive impact on people that it is good to find out more about it and how you can use it in your own life. My work incorporates many aspects of Japanese influence as well as British too and I am a great believer in never wasting anything and reusing everything wherever possible. This concept is about bringing the creative into your life as a tool to maintain health and wellbeing.
Another main line in my work is the post apocalypse which ties in quite neatly as when things are in short supply you have to ‘make do and mend’ which uses all my traditional skills just in a slightly different context! At the moment this is getting a darker twist in line with my previous work so watch this space.
I also design and make stage costumes for performers. Being a stage performer myself I understand what the outfit needs to be able to do; as well as looking amazing it has to be able to move with the wearer.
There are new books on the way too covering techniques and theory alongside my online courses which are due to launch later this year. This combined with my new mentoring series sees the relaunch of my support for creatives program.
It’s going to be a busy season!