Guest Writer - The Mistress of Monsters!

The Mistress of Monsters!

It doesn’t take a lot to make me happy. Lock me in a room with my sewing machine, give me the occasional cup of tea and you won’t hear a peep out of me for days, except perhaps for the occasional squeal of glee.

Over the past year I have earned myself the pseudonym the ‘Mistress of Monsters’ by building myself a little army of fabric friends. Call me a fibre artist, toy-maker or “that monster lady”; either way I don’t mind. Whether people look at my creations as serious works of art, frivolous playthings or simply just a way to fill my time, I put my heart and soul into each one and as long as they raise a smile or the occasional eyebrow then my work is done.

It has taken me a long time to find a creative outlet that satisfies me. I grew up as the daughter of a talented watercolour artist and an experienced seamstress, learning a lot from them both. Playtime often revolved around painting, drawing, and making things and I have so many happy childhood memories of days spent up to my eyes in art supplies of one kind or another.

During my GCSE’s and A-levels I threw all my energy into textile art and built up a portfolio of work which I was really happy with. I had plans to study textile design at university but when the time came to apply for a course, my sensible side got the better of me and I decided that an art degree wouldn’t get me anywhere. Instead I opted out of going to university and entered the world of work, turning my back on my creative side completely and eventually moving to Bristol to study for my Dental Hygiene diploma four years later.

A few years on, I had a successful career but felt totally unfulfilled. Something was missing, a huge gaping hole in my life. I started blogging thinking that might help but realised that I had nothing to blog about. I needed a project but felt totally uninspired. 2010 was not a good year for me. A spell in hospital and a broken heart gave me the kick I needed to really start thinking about realising the potential that I had smothered for so long.

My frame of mind changed in the blink of an eye. I enrolled on an evening class in illustration and thrived in that environment, bouncing ideas off classmates who were all big kids just like me. I had so many ideas for characters rattling around in my brain but found it frustrating that I just didn’t have the skills to put them down on paper. I don’t remember how it happened but one evening I stumbled across a video on the Internet of the legendary John Murphy making one of his ‘Stupid Creatures’ and that was it … light bulbs came on, fireworks went off and I felt that old familiar spark ignite again. It was time to dust off my trusty sewing machine which hadn’t seen the light of day for some years, get myself a copy of John Murphy’s book and rattle off a few sock monsters.

Once my rusty sewing skills started to come back to me, I soon felt ready to go it alone and started making up my own designs, moving away from socks and re-discovering the world of silks, fun fur, taffeta, cotton, ribbons, beads, and all those other lovely craft shop treasures. As I was stitching, little stories about my monsters lives would pop into my head; their likes, dislikes, and quirks. At the risk of looking a little crazy, it all went on the blog. The response to my creatures was overwhelming and inspiration for new designs still strikes constantly. I have a sketchbook filled with ideas that are waiting to be realised in my monster workshop and I never want to stop.

If I never sold another piece it wouldn’t stop me. The buzz that I get when I tie off that last stitch is like nothing else and having lived without it for so many years, I’m never giving it up again.

Have a browse of my work at www.mistressofmonsters.worpress.com.

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