About Jo

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For years now, a certain web designer I know has been pressuring me to have my own website to show off all the different crafts I have done over the years. He promised it for free…….. if I would sleep with him! As you can see, I finally said yes – but only because I’ve been married to him for over 30 years!

I grew up near Oldham and after leaving the grammar school I got a job in the Regional Computer Centre of the University of Manchester. It was there that I met a young student who spent his days playing soccer, cricket, golf, karate etc. and his nights working on his PhD. He still is a night-owl, and was up last night until 4am working on this blog for me.

We married and lived in Glenrothes, Fife, for two years before moving to Hythe, Hampshire for another two years. DH is a big Beach Boys fan so, when offered a job in Southern California, he jumped at the chance. We lived out there for 8 years, had two sons and then came back over here and now live in North Wales.

I have always sewn for myself – well, ever since I left school and had to buy my own clothes! Hated dressmaking at school and took cookery instead. I do still have the very first item I ever made for myself though – it’s a stuffed dog from a kit my sister bought me – got no eyes or nose now but is still around. I moved into machine embroidery several years ago – clothes are much more affordable now so it’s hardly worth dressmaking – but I do love embellishing ready-mades. The polo shirt I’m wearing in the photo has some of my embroidery on it – it says “STAMPERS make a good impression”.

I took Calligraphy classes with a wonderful local artist for several years and, when I take the time to sit at my desk with my inks and dip pens, then I love it all over again. I fought against Encaustic Art for ages – used to watch Michael Bossom demonstrating at shows and walk away telling myself I didn’t need another hobby! That lasted until I actually had a go – how addictive it is! I have demonstrated that several times and given talks for the WI on it too.

I was never going to get into Rubber Stamping either but, for the past few years, I have been seriously addicted

“My name is Joanna and I’m a StampAholic!”

I have recently discovered the hidden teacher in me as well. I used to go into the local primary/junior school when my boys were there and do all sorts of crafts with them on a weekly basis and loved it. I now occasionally ‘teach’ adults at my local stamping club. I go once a month and was happy to sit and learn until I showed ‘teacher’ some ideas I’d seen and she asked me to show the group. I was racked with nerves – not a bunch of kids here but grown-ups! Anyhow, I gave it a go and discovered that it’s actually great fun. I am very organised when I do a class and practise well beforehand so there are not too many slip-ups! A good friend of mine is often kind enough to come over and let me practise on her before I’m let loose on a crowd. You can know how to do something perfectly well but may have trouble passing it on easily to others – that’s where Jan comes in, she’ll tell me if I’m not making sense!

Hard at work in my wonderful new craft studio!

Hard at work in my wonderful new craft studio!

A major building project took place here last year. We wanted to join our house to our garage to make a workshop area and then decided to make it two storey – it needed foundations and a roof anyway, so why not! So, I now have the most wonderful craft room upstairs – it’s huge, it’s gorgeous and it’s stuffed with craft supplies – where was it all before I had all this room?

I’ll post more photos of it and some of the storage ideas when I get a chance.

I’m holding a workshop here in March for the WI. It’ll be the first time – but hopefully not the last – that we use my studio. My DH will finally believe that I meant it when I said I’d have classes here if he let me have all that room…..and anyway, I think that doing laundry outside (under a canopy) for 18 months while he built me a utility room means I deserve it really, don’t you think!

In the past I have given demonstrations/tutorials/workshops on a wide variety of crafts including: encaustic art; calligraphy; xmas truffles! and many rubber stamping techniques such as grid, faux layering, pyramid box, shadowing, spotlight, pop-out accordion fold, neverending, inchies, bridge, tunnel, venetian blind, caught in crystal, waterfall, a birthday book…………..

If you would like me to give a demonstration/workshop/talk on anything you see here – around North Wales/Chester ideally – then please contact me. I will take commissions for cards too – just ask if you want something special making.