Creative Crafters- Jessica Kindersley Textiles

Image: Jessica Kindersley Textiles

What is it? When did you find out you were good at it?

I create one-off textile collages on a variety of scales and also make art and greetings cards and small stitched gifts.  I love to explore composition and will often layer paper, fabric and stitch to create an interesting tactile collage, whether it be on fabric or paper.  I’m currently looking at “memories” a lot, a theme which has developed through my work with patients at St Oswald’s Hospice Craft Room and through my own Mam’s research into our family history.

I’ve always loved art and design.  Sounds cliche doesn’t it?!  When I was choosing my GCSE subjects years ago I remember my Dad asking me why I wasn’t choosing business studies, because, “computers were the future” and I simply replied, “but I don’t like computers, I like Art”. I don’t think I was always good at it, but I did work hard and it paid off.

I graduated with a degree in Textiles and Surface Design in 2004 and since then have worked as a freelance embroidery designer, teacher and workshop facilitator.  Even to this day, I don’t always think I’m really good at what I do and I’m always looking outwards for inspiration and love to see work by other artists and designers.

I think my confidence has grown slowly over the years but I suppose, when work started to sell, that’s when I realised I was good enough to make a business out of this.

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Image: Jessica Kindersley Textiles

Why did you decide to turn into a business?

I took redundancy from teaching when my children were very young and the school I worked at was going through a merger.  It was a difficult decision to make but the right one for me at the time.  I wasn’t ready to stop working completely though;  I’d already been registered as a self-employed freelance designer for nearly ten years and was used to doing freelance work in the evenings, so I started to make use of the days instead.

As my daughter began school I had more time again, so I started to think more seriously about making items to sell directly to the public and managed to get my cards and embroidery hoops into a couple of local shops and I revamped my rather tired looking Etsy shop.  It’s been a slow build over a few years and I’ve had to fit it around family and home life but now I’m starting to develop workshops and am looking at studio space as I’ve finally outgrown the kitchen table!

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Image: Jessica Kindersley Textiles

Tell us more about the process, the step by step process of your craft-From the concept to the final product.

There is sort of two sides to the work I do:  For card and gift, I tend to use raw-edge applique and free-motion machine embroidery to literally draw with the sewing machine.  I always start this process with a little trend research and drawing-always drawing! These are then transferred onto bondaweb, which goes onto fabric and once it’s bonded in place I draw over the top with machine embroidery. 

The other side of my work is more of a one-off approach and lends itself well to workshops.  I use things that I find; stamps, tea cards, vintage linens and lace-anything that catches my eye.  And words…I’m always scribbling down quotes I hear or snippets of wisdom to inspire work.  Sometimes I use words out of old discarded books, which take on a new life when they become part of a collage piece.

These textile collages tend to be a bit more sentimental because they nearly always include photos, which I print onto cotton.  I (or workshop attendees) can build up a more personal piece with meaningful images and words.  When I make these pieces there is less drawing and much more spontaneous pinning out, layering, stepping back and reflecting, before anything is hand stitched in place.  Each piece is quite unique in that sense.

Where do you sell your product?

I sell on Etsy, at The Chantry in Morpeth and have a few cards in Hygge, Green Ginger, in Tynemouth, although I am looking for more outlets for greetings cards in particular!

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Image: Jessica Kindersley Textiles

Have you noticed a rise in crafters and people buying creations? What is the crafting industry like?

There’s definitely been a huge surge in demand for handmade but also for people to learn or take part in workshops where they can create something themselves too.  We live in such a digital age; I wonder if people look for a more handmade aesthetic in a break from the technological or digital.  Ironically though, it’s the technology that enables us makers to sell and engage directly with our audience or customers!  It’s such a different landscape compared to 15 years ago when I graduated.  One thing is for sure, the maker’s community is a friendly one and is definitely in the business of building each other up!

Do you recommend people starting up their own crafting creations and turning it into a business?

I’d recommend that anyone does something they love and if you have a passion for making it will show in your work!  Be true to yourself; I’ve had people say I should make dog bandanas or Star Wars embroidery hoops because they’d sell, they’d be popular.  Stick to your guns, develop your own style and you will stand out for it!

 

You can check out Jessica Kinnersley on

Her website 

Etsy 

Facebook

Pintrest 

 

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