What is the main, Art/Craft you are known for?
Textiles mainly, which is quite a broad area. In my case it includes sewing, embroidery, knitting, felt-making, silk-painting and dyeing. I still experiment with new techniques when I fancy doing something different.
Is this a full time job?/Second income/ Or hobby for you?
Currently it’s a full-time job for part of the year. I gave up working permanently at my ‘real job’ about 6 years ago, so I could go off travelling. Since then I’ve worked for part of the year only and developed my arts/crafts in between. Each year the arts/crafts take a slightly bigger chunk of my time and, with luck, I’ll eventually be able to do it full-time all the time.
How long have you been doing it?
As a business, about 3 years. Before that it was a slightly obsessive hobby.
Could I have a little potted history of your creative life please?
Like a lot of textile addicts, my obsession with making and fabrics began when I was very young. My Mum used to make clothes for me and, as I got a bit older, I helped with tacking and other menial tasks, similar to an apprentice I suppose, learning all the time. As a teenager I made my own clothes and continued from there. Mum also taught me to knit and was interested in all kinds of crafts, so I picked it up from her I think. I stopped crafting for a while when my career took over, then about 10 years ago I did a silk-painting workshop and a felt-making workshop and got the bug again! With more spare time on my hands, I started sewing again, sourcing vintage fabrics, making use of my huge stash of remnants from years ago, and decided to try selling my makes.
What do you love most about what you create and the process of creating it?
I just adore the tactile quality of textiles, the colours of the silk dyes, the physical act of creating something from base materials. I get lost in the process and find it incredibly satisfying.
Is this your total creative output or do you also work in other areas and if so what are they?
I’m also a keen photographer and produce prints, cards and magnets for local outlets. I’ve had a couple of local exhibitions too, which was quite exciting. I’m not great technically, but love playing with light, colour and effects, so I call it photographic art rather than photography.
Do you think that its important to specialise in one area or to have lots of creative outlets? Can one impact on the other, in positive or negative ways?
I don’t think it’s a choice really – most creative people experiment with other materials and techniques, and whatever the result, it can generate some interesting ideas. From a business angle, it’s probably better to specialise, but artists are generally not driven by the needs of the business!
What gets you out of bed in the morning and motivated to create wonderful things?
I love what I do. I’m a morning person anyway, and love getting up and out early (if it’s a nice morning) and taking a stroll along the beach. It clears the mind and allows ideas to form, so I’m usually raring to get started when I get back. Housework just doesn’t get a look-in!
Do you have the support of friends and family when crafting and do you and they value what you do?
Yes, absolutely. I’ve made lots of new friends since selling at craft fairs and taking part in local events, and a lot of my customers are other sellers/crafters. They realise how much time and work goes into each item I make, so they’re very appreciative of my work. My family accept this is what I love to do and give me lots of encouragement whenever doubts creep in.
Describe what your prefect Art/crafting day would be like?
An early start on a sunny day, a few hours felt-making or silk-painting, lunch in the garden, a bit of sewing or maybe take some photos.
What are your aims and goals for the future
To give up the ‘real job’ completely; to sell at a couple of my dream craft fairs; to keep learning and developing my skills; to still be enjoying what I’m doing.