Hello I am an independent designer and maker of costumes, puppets, knitwear and textile art, made at home in my studio in Staffordshire.
I grew up in the Staffordshire Moorlands and began sewing from a very early age. My grandma taught me to crotchet and knit and I was the only Brownie in the village to get a knitting badge for an acrylic yellow dress and white duffle coat for Sindy which has fully working match stick toggles.
After attending Leek high school I went to Stoke Polytechnic and found a whole new freedom studying art and meeting like minded people. It was here I realised I was a textile and colour person and wanted to study Textile Art at Winchester. Unfortunately I did not get a place and quite by accident ended up on a BSc course for Knitwear Design and Production beginning at Lincoln art college and finishing in DeMontfort University in Leicester (I graduated in 1995) which, though I did not think so at the time, was the best course for me. Here amongst all of the huge machines I came to understand that clothes were not just functional, they could be something else and had hidden messages; they could be art and to wear it you could become somebody or something else.
This thought took me to the theatre and costume industry. Here I made costumes and worked in wardrobe departments supporting famous actors and celebrities such as Julie-Kate Olivier, Matthew Kelly, Glynis Barber and Arthur Bostrom to name but a few. After 15 years of making anything from pantomime cows to period costume I decided to take a break and change of direction. Instead of making the costumes I now wore them as a Georgian gardener/interpreter at Shugborough Hall growing period vegetables and living the life of a woman at the start of the nineteenth century. Here I still ended up designing and making vegetable beds, borders, scarecrows and scaredogs. I have always loved gardens and growing plants and would describe myself as an earthy person with particularly green fingers. I now have an allotment and grow organic vegetables, herbs and dye plants, which I use for inspiration and experimentations in colour for some of my textile pieces and knitwear and distil for essential oils.
I have been a centre fold pin up a few times now. Once for Country Living Magazine and once for angling times with a very good specimen of marrowage I happened to stick eyes on and was then tricked when I saw it a few weeks later! More seriously when a student I had a picture of a knitted berret I made for Ralph Lauren that was on the front of Marie Claire magazine but sadly have no copy of it!
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