When I arrived at the workshop destination, a package of goodies was awaiting me on the table. I was there to spend a day with other crafty souls and our tutor, Jessie Chorley. I met Jessie at the last Selvedge Fair and loved her work, so when a space on her workshop became available, I didn't hesitate to book. Jessie works with textiles and paper to create fantastic altered articles, such as clothes and journals, and is a whizz with a needle, stitching the most beautiful and original embroideries.
Jessie had put a lot of effort into getting the "create space" ready for us. Her artwork decorated the walls and table tops. How could one fail to be inspired. I could have spent the day just drinking in all the details.
Jessie had also brought a couple of photograph albums which were full of images of the most gorgeous pieces she had previously created. There were also some of her original pieces which had gone on to be printed for use on greetings cards. She was so very generous in letting us ogle and photograph her work.
Down to work though! What to create? A pretty embroidered brooch? An altered piece of clothing? Or one of Jessie's signature journals?
Jessie had brought lots of materials which she generously let us use in our creations. What a treat to be let loose with vintage fabrics, printed papers, rubber stamps with her drawings etched onto them, beads and buttons.
If you have been on such a crafty workshop, you will know that the day flies by far too quickly. I opted to make an altered journal and spent most of my day elbow deep in paper and PVA glue! I suppose this was a refreshing change for me and I knew that I was saving the stitching which I so love, for later.
More inspiration from Jessie...
At the end of the day, we had a bit of show and tell of the items we'd produced. I think everyone had a brilliant time and went away wanting to carry on work on their piece. I know I did!
It was a lovely sunny late afternoon and Jessie invited us to walk back with her to her shop which is on Colombia Road, home of the famous Sunday morning flower market. She runs this shop, "J&B The Shop" with her friend and fellow crafty lady, Buddig. Along the way, we walked through pretty Victorian streets and I found pretty much the perfect address!
As it was past closing time when we arrived, the shop was opened just for us, what a treat! Even the outside had been beautifully and artfully decorated and the window promised much inside.
The shop is jam packed with the most beautifully made things, from altered vintage clothing to hand sewn barkcloth bow brooches to delightful printed cards of Jessie's collaged images and Buddig's enamel jewellery.
Jessie herself was a fantastic, helpful tutor and such a down-to-earth chatty lady to boot. The whole day was an utter pleasure. I can't wait for her Christmas workshop and bought some lovely little stitched items as momentoes of a super day.
And this week, I've kept going back to my journal and embellishing it a little further. It's really a work in progress and I'm going to add to it as and when I find things I want to treasure inside. A loose rosy theme emerged. Want a peek?
As I say, it's a work in progress but I've started on some of the pages inside and as my journal started to have a 1940's vibe, I decided to add in this lovely photograph of my Nan, stamped on the reverse 24 May 1943. She would have been just twenty at the time, right in the middle of the Second World War.
I loved creating this page with lots of images of roses cut from vintage fabrics.
The lovely Lucy, my super 1940's style knitting friend, sent me a copy of original instructions to make a felt rose; I thought if I put a copy in here, I'd always know where it is.
Jessie sticks envelopes into her journals, some of which she was kind enough to give us, so that there's a secret place to stash little keepsakes.
Finally, I created this little box at the back by glueing many pages together, cutting out an aperture into which I fit a piece of script paper, and then cut a piece of vintage wallpaper to frame over the top. I now need to stitch a little something to suspend on the wire inside the little box.
I hope you enjoyed this peek into Jessie's world. I'm sure you will find her a complete inspiration just as I do. She has just created a new website which is a complete feast for the eyes. I know she will also be standing at the next Selvedge Fair at Chelsea Old Town Hall this month, on Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd.