Janet Edmonds trained at East Berkshire College, Windsor and The University of Hertfordshire, completing a BA (Hons) in Art and Design in 1998. She has many years experience of teaching City & Guilds courses in Embroidery in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire, and also runs courses for the Embroiderers’ Guild. Her own work is mainly three-dimensional and is based on natural forms and landscapes. When not teaching, gardening and walking in the beautiful countryside where she lives provide Janet with the inspiration for her drawing, painting and stitching.
Check out Janet’s new title From Print to Stitch – http://www.searchpress.com/info.asp?EAN=9781844484591&page=search – Publishing this October.
An Interview with Janet
Where were you born?
I was born in Dunfirmline, Scotland
What is your educational background?
I did not do well at school and I was the dunce of the family, but in the mid 80’s I had the chance to do a City & Guilds embroidery course at Windsor with Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn, and eventually I did a BA(hons) in Art & Design in 1997/8. I was a self taught potter before that.
What first got you interested in craft?
I have always made things and drawing, stitching, working in paper & paint is what I have always done.
How long have you been crafting?
I turned to embroidery after my first son was born as I couldn’t cope with messy clay and messy babies at the same time!
Where do you get your materials?
I collect materials from all sorts of places, and tend to buy them when I see them. More recently, I buy things online or at the big shows such as Knit and Stitch. I am now doing my best to recycle and use up what I have. I am not one to go for all the products that abound within the embroidery world as I prefer to keep things simple. Having said that I have just brought some organic inks that are fantastic, wonderful soft muted colours which do not contain any harmful substances and are wonderful to use. I bought these at Art in Action.
How/Where did Search Press discover you?
Roz Dace came to visit Missenden Abbey whilst I was there doing an embroidered caskets course. She saw my boxes and asked if I would like to do a book.
What were your first thoughts when asked to write a book?
I was delighted as it was an ambition that I had set myself to achieve. Daunted at the same time wondering if I could do it, but if you don’t try you don’t know.
Has being a published author changed your life in any way?
Yes, I am now better known within the field of embroidery and it has generated work in the form of workshops and writing articles for magazines. It has brought me a great deal of pleasure to think that people can be inspired by the work that I do. It is also very satisfying to set down my ideas in this form.
Any tips for beginners?
I would say ‘have a go’. You never know what is possible until you try. It brings great job satisfaction and forces you to think about your creativity.
What is your favourite craft tool?
This is a difficult question as I am torn between needle & thread and pencil & paper. Probably the latter.
Have you travelled for your craft?
Yes, I have travelled extensively within the UK. I have taught in Dublin, Scotland and the Isle of Man, but the furthest I have travelled is to the United States when I was invited to teach in Cleveland, Ohio. I’m terrified of flying but have never let that prevent me from taking up a challenge.
Where does your inspiration come from?
Inspiration comes mainly from the world around me, particularly organic sources. The coast of Great Britain is a neverending source of subject matter and I use more abstract ideas about time and change for the personal work that I make. Medieval artefacts, paintings and sculpture have inspired my stitched boxes in particular. Artists such as Andy Goldsworthy, Chris Drury and Richard Long have been very influential as have Kurt Jackson and many twentieth century ceramic artists, 900 years of English embroidery is a huge source of inspiration too, as are the students who come to my courses.