All my life I have been obsessed with fabric and thread. At a young age I decided I wanted a career as a fashion designer, and so after school and sixth form college I went to study at the London College of Fashion. However, I soon discovered the creative possibilities of textile design and changed my route and headed towards the world of surface decoration, studying Textiles with Fashion Marketing at the University of East London, specialising in print.
About 14 years ago I attended a dressmaking summer school, and with a day to fill I decided to make a patchwork bag. It was one of ‘those’ moments and something clicked. Playing with fabric, thread, pattern and colour was amazing, and addictive and I wanted to do more… My basic skills were honed at two years of sampler evening classes with the Brighton based quilter Sara Cook, and then enjoyed the creativity of studying at City and Guilds level in Dorking with the art quilter Janet Twinn.
In 2010 I opened the Brighton based studio/shop, Quilty Pleasures. At the time the quilt world was on the cusp of change, with the internet propelling a new approach to the craft, enticing new makers and the industry responding with exciting new fabric ranges. The shop sold a selection of that designer quilting fabric, modern patterns and specialist haberdashery for quilt making. From 2012 the creative/designing/teaching/ side of my work took increasingly more of my time than the retail side. My work was diverse, from teaching classes to writing a book, and from repairing quilts to being a visiting artist in a primary school. I loved working on different projects, and combining my creative skills with my admin and accounts training. Eventually my business partner and I made the decision to close the shop and run the business online, and at events. Something we still do together part-time.
My personal practice is important to me, and I am often sketching or hand stitching to help me unwind at the end of a busy day. Recent work has revolved around a bag of 1950s chintz scraps a thoughtful member of The Quilters' Guild gave to me. These have been used to make a series of fabric tiles that incorporate machine piecing, printing and a combination of hand and machine quilting. In 2016 they've been exhibited at exhibitions in Worthing, Hailsham and Northampton. In my most recent sketchbook work my worlds have collided, with my quilts and embroideries being heavily inspired by text. As well as stitching onto papers, and using old letters as bills, I have been writing on fabric and abstracting letters to create new prints.
I am intrigued not just by the quilts people make, but why they make them, and I believe that the process of making a quilt is as important as the finished result. I feel privileged to be able blend my work and career with a lifelong personal interest in textiles.