Jen M.


When doing an inventory of my skills, list would be hand stitch (smocking, stumpwork, hand quilting), machine sewing (dressmaking/ quilt piecing), machine embroidery, cooking, gardening (growing vegetables), dying fabric.

The challenge is always having 'it', whatever 'it' is to reflect me!! Colour, pattern, plants, ingredients - I have the excellent technical skills to embroider, stitch, grow and mix, but totally lack the confidence to create what is an expression of ME! I am always worried that it isn't right - looking at others work but not having the confidence to do it myself, so end up using patterns, books, and courses. I feel that the results are 'wrong', they don't match the image in my head. It's easier to keep it there than have a go in the studio.

Only fabric dyeing is different, because the results are by their nature unpredictable, though it doesn't mean that I create anything with the fabric.

All my original work is in boxes in a cupboard, because I sincerely believe it's not good enough - stumpwork, cross and drawn stitch, smocked dresses, designed by others, no problem. I am a one person committee!!

When I was a child I did have an experience where I performed at a music concert and was laughed at by the audience, because my shoes squeaked on the pedal of the piano right through the performance. This has meant that I am extremely reluctant to put myself out there - it is a hurt that has never healed and means that I am always looking to judge myself with a totally unrealistic form of perfection.

This has been really difficult - I know I have the ideas and the skills, but it's letting them out to fly!