Monday, 3 December 2012

INTRODUCING MYSELF - Personal Background Information

I initially trained as a Clinical Scientist where I worked in several London based Medical Schools and Hospital Research Departments for 20 years. My spare time has always been filled with creative pursuits including painting, dressmaking, knitting, crochet, paper making, silk painting and fabric dyeing, embroidery and beading. I love creating ‘one of a kind’ clothing, accessories and soft furnishings, and particularly love to use recycled materials; giving a new lease of life to old clothing and textiles, transforming them into something new. I also like to use scrap papers, plastics, metals and foils, broken jewellery and beads in my work – all ‘rubbish’ has potential!


In 2000 I started working part time on a self employed sole trader basis (Heatherwell Designs), creating a range of accessories and beaded jewellery which I mainly sold through local exhibitions and craft fairs in Hertfordshire. In 2005 I opened an EBay shop selling jewellery making supplies, beads and creative materials. This enabled me to make a career change and work full time using my creative skills. Running my own business has been a massive learning curve for me, a huge challenge but very fulfilling. Initially my business ran very successfully but due to competition from increasing numbers of outlets selling cheaper imported textiles and beadwork, and the ‘credit crunch’, my sales dropped off and I had to take other employment. Unable to return to my scientific career I trained as a Pharmacy Dispenser and spent four years running a small Pharmacy in a Doctor’s surgery and as a Dispenser in Boots Chemist.

I have now returned to full time self employment, this time aiming for the higher end of the market, and creating unique pieces to commission. In the near future I will be re-opening my EBay shop ( selling patterns and kits to encourage others with their own creative pursuits; including counted thread embroidery and cross stitch, picture knitting and machine knitting punch card patterns, beadwork and jewellery making patterns, and digital machine embroidery designs. I love to encourage and assist others to get creative.  My scientific background and training necessitated meticulous working practices which I now apply to my creative skills. I work to the highest standard, testing my pieces at every stage, to ensure quality and function. There is nothing worse than spending hard earned cash on a lovely accessory or piece of jewellery only to find it falling apart within the first few weeks!

In May 2012 I registered on a City & Guilds course, Level 3 Certificate in Stitched Textiles with Embroidery, something I have wanted to do a for over 20 years! I am very excited about starting this new venture alongside restarting my business. I have just started my own blog which will be in the form of a creative diary featuring my work and presenting my C&G studies ( I am also rebuilding my gallery website ( which I hope to have live very soon.  Exciting times ahead!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Some of my Artwork including Textile Thread Paintings

I have always enjoyed painting and have always found it very therapeutic, painting in my spare time to relax. I particularly love watercolours and acrylics, being a bit too impatient to use oils successfully. I like to start a project and finish within a week! I never used to show any of my work to anyone except my very close friends. In 2000 a friend encouraged me to enter an exhibition at the Royal Free Hospital where we both worked. The work was exhibited in the main hospital corridor and reviewed by a panel of profesional artists. I was flabbergasted to be given 'highly commended' on three of my pieces and I actually sold three works. This gave me the confidence to take things further both with my Art and craft - jewellery making and textiles. I thought that some of you might like to see some of my Artwork.

Media: Watercolour

Media: Watercolour

Media: Watercolour

As you can see - my use of watercolour is somewhat bolder than is considered traditional - I like to use strong colour mixes. I love this medium as the colours are clean and pure and you can make them flow. I also love transparent inks and silk dyes for the same reason.

Media: Mixed - Printed fabrics, acrylic, texture medium and metalic pen.

Medium: Mixed - Collaged hand made papers and acrylic.

I love using mixed media and collage with acrylic paint. My styles range from realistic representations (well that is what I try to get - LOL) to quite abstract. Sometimes I work 'on scene' and other times I like to work from photographs I have taken. Other pieces are purely imagination.

Medium: Textile - Free machine embroidery with digitised elements, hand stitching and beadwork added.

Medium: Textile - Hand painted cotton background with free machine embroidery

Medium: Textile - Hand painted cotton background with free machine embroidery

Media: Textile - This was created by weaving painted strips of tyvek on a frame with strands of cotton threads. Heating distorted the tyvek creating water-like reflections.

Media: Textile - I chose one of my photgraphic images and played around with the colours before transfer printing onto fabric. The flower was then created by free machine embroidery on water soluble fabric - giving a decoupage effect when applied to the background image.

Medium: Textile - Hand painted cotton background with free machine embroidery

Medium: Textile - Hand painted cotton background with free machine embroidery

Media: Mixed - Acrylics and texture media were used to create this image. The waves were created by free machine embroidery on soluble fabric - then applied to the painting.

Medium: Textile - Hand painted cotton background with free machine embroidery

Media: Needle felting and free machine embroidery

Media: Needle felting and free machine embroidery and beadwork

I also love needle felting - it's great how you can incorporate materials that would otherwise not felt together.

Medium: Textile - Hand painted cotton background with free machine embroidery

I hope that you have enjoyed looking at some of these ;0)

Yarn Wrapped Buttons

I had some spare time at the weekend to watch Gina-B's button making DVD's and these are my first attempts. The technique involves wrapping embroidery threads or yarns around a button or mould to create beautiful wrapped buttons. Some were following Ginas instructions while others I created by playing with threads and experimenting. Hope you like them.

I used some old plastic buttons which were rather nasty looking but which made nice flat moulds for covering with thread. Beeswax was used to coat the buttons and help the threads to grip while wrapping. I used a variety of threads, thin braids and even knitting yarn to wrap.

Getting the tension of the thread just right is quite tricky at first - it needs to be tight enough to grip and sit snugly against neighbouring thread but not so tight as to distort the wraps - otherwise you end up half way through wrapping and the threads end up jumping off.

 I was so pleased to get these results on my first attempt. Hope you like them.