My Student profile

My Student Profile

Occupation: Interior Stylist, Teacher

Name of course: Textiles: A Creative Approach



From an early age I loved drawing, painting and all types of crafts.  My mother was (and still is) an Artist and there were always plenty of art materials available at home.  Incidentally, she designed the first cover for the OCA brochure.  I enjoyed Art at school until I had to choose my ‘O’ level options, when I was ‘encouraged’ to drop Art in favour of Physics.  I did take up Art again and completed an Art ‘O’level in my 6th Form and later on I studied for an Art ‘A’level at evening class.  Following completing my honours degree in Social Psychology, I went on to train to be a Primary school teacher – I think it was all the art and craft activities that attracted me!   I held several posts as Art coordinator, which meant I got to go on all the Art training courses!

In addition to school-based art and craft I have taken courses over the years in book-making, printmaking, stained glass, upholstery, life drawing, silver jewelry, Chinese brush painting, silk painting and oil portraiture.

Moving on through my history, when I had my first child, I gave up teaching for a while but studied with the Open University, gaining an MA in Education.  After my second child was born, I decided to give up teaching as Art seemed to be pushed more and more out of the Primary Curriculum.  I re-trained in Interior Design and got to play with lovely fabrics.  I loved making up concept and sample boards.  I started my own business as an Interior Stylist and later began lecturing part-time Interior undergraduates in Interior styling.

Everything changed 18 months ago, when my husband was posted to Tokyo and so I closed my business and became a ‘trailing spouse’.  This has meant that I have more time for myself so I try to make the most of it and fill my days with exploring all Japan has to offer.

In the 18 months I have lived in Tokyo, I have been hugely inspired by the craft, design and textiles here.  I take classes in Japanese Calligraphy and completed a short quilting course.  This was the first time I have tried sewing and embroidery and I found it thoroughly enjoyable.  I began trawling flea markets for old kimonos and love the boro, sashiko stitching and shibori work.  I am now planning my next quilting project using old kimonos.  Recently I also had a go at wet-felting.

I spend a lot of time taking photos, working with a DSLR but also a handy point-and-shoot, which I always carry around with me.  I started a blog www, a few month ago to keep a record of and share my observations.

So what do I hope to achieve from this course?    Well I think my aim is to simply take pleasure in the exercises and find a focus for all my explorations in Japan.  I know that I will benefit from having some time deadlines and look forward to feedback and guidance from my tutor.  Sometimes I get a bit carried away and want to do so much, I end up doing very little.  So I hope that this course will help me to organize my thoughts and creative ideas in a more disciplined way, without losing the spontaneity of ideas.  I very much like the idea of working towards the goal of a degree and plan to spend at least 20 hours a week on each course, while I am not working full-time.

I am very excited about this course and itching to get started.  I have started my online learning blog, got my workspace organized, sorted out relevant photos into albums and read all the course materials plus looked at a number of students’ blogs.  While I was waiting for my course materials to arrive, I completed a taster online drawing course to get me going.  I have also had several lessons with a fashion designer in how to use my (unused) sewing machine.  I now have the confidence to use that as well as hand-sewing but will need to spend a lot of time practicing embroidery stitches.  It is a long time since I learnt the stitches on binca at Primary School!

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