All my life for as long as I can remember I have had a passion for crafts, learning first of all from my Grandmother, knitting and crochet, then embroidery and needlecraft from an Aunt.
In the late 1970s I realised that I wanted to get into the craft business full time so I set up a little stall in a local market where I quite literally had to climb in and out of a pig pen to set up my stall. In all weathers I tried to sell bits of haberdashery and craft items and that is where I met loads of ladies of a like mind and so I formed a craft group in Plymouth which grew and grew. In those days craft shops were not widespread as they are now and craft shops were like gold dust.
I became a craft fair organiser and held very successful craft fairs locally where crafters could sell their wares and buy their materials. This I did for many years until I found Parchment Craft.
I first discovered Parchment Craft in 1993 when I attended a demonstration and became totally hooked and could not wait to attend classes. I started at the same time as Pat Hoskings and we travelled all the way to Padstow in Cornwall to attend our lessons with the aim of one day becoming tutors. After several lessons Martha Ospina travelled over from Holland for a three day course and examination and I have not looked backed since.
I am a fellow of the Parchment Craft Guild (details from Alison Yeates 01202 844515) and a Design Consultant for the recently formed Association of Parchment Crafters (details from Pat Murphy 01752 782481).
I have been asked several times what is my most favoured technique? This seems to be an impossible question to answer as there are so many aspects to the craft. Parchment Craft is widely known for the exquisite embossing and lace work and I think that I have to say that this is what inspired me right from the beginning and continues to do so. As time has gone on I have learnt more and more and discovered the various ways of adding colour and have come to love working with blendable pencils favouring the Faber Castell Polychromos and am still learning just how versatile these pencils are with Parchment. I am gaining great inspiration by devouring books devoted to coloured pencils and adapting them to parchment. I would love to develop them even more and run more workshops just in the use of working with pencils alone.
In 2009 I moved from Plymouth to a tiny village called Holcombe Rogus which is just three miles from the Somerset border but still in Devon. Both my daughters, Hayley and Ruth live and work in Taunton as do my six grandchildren, one great grandchild and a great grand 'bump' due in August. I live in a tiny bungalow in its own grounds that has a converted barn that I now use as my studio where I quite happily spend my days designing and making cards and pictures. There is a lovely patio and pretty views and cows come and say \"hello\" over my garden hedge.
When I moved up country I sold the mail order and trade side of the business which has freed up my time designing and making. I also have more time to run day workshops which cover all aspects of the craft, usually about one a month and I would like to hold more workshops specialising in the use of pencils should there be a demand for them. If anyone reading this would be interested please email me.
About 10 years a go I was approached by Ideal World to sell my patterns on Create and Craft TV and have been appearing regularly since then. In the early days my programmes would be pre-recorded and go out sometimes two or three times a day but in recent years they only do Live Shows and these are about one a month where I travel up to do them. (forthcoming dates can be seen on the Create & Craft TV link on the left hand side at the bottom of this page)
All in all I have loved every minute of my Parchment Life and could not have wished for a more fulfilling hobby that has also been my life too. I would not change a thing and thank you all for your continued support.