I was lucky enough to be taught how to use a sewing machine at Primary School, and have been sewing ever since. I started with dressmaking, firstly for myself and then for other people too. When my children grew up, I started patchwork and quilting and have done very little dressmaking since.
Patchwork satisfies my need for precision, I love to design a quilt top and then stitch it together, knowing that with careful measurement and sewing all the pieces will fit together perfectly. After a few years of doing patchwork as a hobby I decided to take the plunge and in 2002 opened a shop in Lancashire where I then lived, selling patchwork fabrics, threads, wadding and all the associated things a patchworker needs. At the same time I was encouraged by a friend to take the City and Guilds qualification, and this really expanded my knowledge…. so much so that when the same friend suggested I took a teaching qualification I leapt at the chance and became a qualified teacher. I also bought the empty shop next door but one to my fabric shop and had it converted into a workroom where I taught a wide variety of classes in patchwork and quilting, from complete beginners to advanced City and Guilds. These were very happy years, sharing my love of textiles and helping people learn new techniques and gain confidence in their abilities.
I was kept very busy making samples to be used in workshops, but also managed to make quits to be exhibited, usually at the annual Great Northern Quilt Show in Harrogate every September. I had some success, and in 2012 I was invited to exhibit a group of quilts and wall-hangings to tour the Quilt Shows for a year.
I continued designing, making and teaching until in March 2020 the world changed; as a non-essential business the shop and workroom had to close. Like many other people I had time and opportunity to re-evaluate my life and priorities, and I decided not to re-open the shop but to move back home to the Wirral, to spend time with and support my parents who were getting older and more frail, to be back beside the sea, to have a garden and to be free to sew when I wanted to. Twelve months on from the big move I met Jane, and am very excited to take up the opportunity she has given me to start teaching again.
At Crafters & Makers we want to:
- Enable people to have the confidence to ask, ‘How do I make that?’ and then give them the skills to make it.
- Establish a community so likeminded individual can meet other Crafters and Makers.
- Teach the value of the materials we use and to consider its source and long-term sustainability.
- Engage with the ethos of Up-cycle, Re-use and Recycle and encourage others to do so too.
- Design and create to life zero waste patterns in order to benefit the environment.
- Develop the skills of others in pattern-making, sewing and craft.
- Consciously design products with the full lifecycle of item in mind.
- Explore and research new materials in order to develop and share the knowledge.
- Inspire and be inspired!