Former contestant on The Great British Sewing Bee, Jenniffer Taylor, reveals a bit about herself…
Q1. Have you always been creative?
I’ve always had my fingers in a lot of creative pies. I studied dance and visual art at university. I sing in a band called ‘Snooty Bobs’. I played violin and was in the school orchestra, which performed throughout the region. I love to paint and have a few of my musical portraits hanging in the house. Basically, for as long as I can remember, as long as I’m making something, I’m happy.
Q2. What is the first thing you can recall making as a child and who was it for?
There have been lots of things that I’m sure my mom still has stored in the loft but I had forgotten about this one - but when I was on The Great British Sewing Bee my best friend Clair Cull reminded me that I had made a stuffed frog out of a t shirt for her 8th birthday present and she still has it. So I was #upcycling even as a child, which made me smile
Q3. What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’?
I wanted to be a dance teacher. I used to run a dance group at dinner times and after school for about 30 kids with two of my school friends, Emma and Tara. We were only about 13 at the time and we were choreographing these huge dances productions for Christmas and summer shows at school. It really was quite an achievement looking back now. It was my love of doing this and performance that I went on to study dance at university.
Q4. Why/when did you decide you could make a living out of crafting?
This decision has only been a recent one for me. I quit my ‘day job’ in Oct 2015 after a big discussion with my husband. He could see that I was beginning to wear myself out trying to juggle the full time job and my passion for sewing and creativity. It was a very scary decision at the time as you get used to the stability of employment and worried about the unknown of self-employment. Looking back now I don’t know what I was so worried about. I strongly encourage everyone to consider doing what they love as employment if it is feasible. Your passion for it will always encourage a successful business. It is hard work but you don’t notice it as much because you love it! I’ve never been happier.
Q5. Do you have any other hobbies?
I have too many hobbies! Where do I start. I love cooking and having friends round for dinner. I like to make the food look like it’s from a posh restaurant. Well they do say you eat with your eyes first!
Since buying our first home we have really got into gardening. The vegetable patch is starting to come along and we are about to landscape the garden and add a pond ready for the spring /summer.
Q6. What craft item can you not live without?
That’s a difficult one but I’d have to say a needle and thread. As long as I have this I can create something.
Q7. If you were stranded on a desert island and could only take 5 items, what would they be – and why?
My Chinese cleaver – so I can chop anything up to create wonderful meals -it’s my favorite cooking utensil alongside my tongs.
My first hand made quilt – so I would be warm and cosy on the evening. An endless supply of red wine – that’s my luxury item.
Kirk and his guitar – I know kirk isn’t really an item but if he and his guitar were with me then we could spend a life time making music together and drinking wine obviously.
Sounds bliss actually, when can we go?
Q8. What’s your biggest ambition in life?
I would love to be known as the person who got the nation sewing. I truly believe that craft can help people. Whether in health or happiness, it has the power to heal! Creativity is contagious so I’m determined to pass it on!
Q9. What’s been the highlight of your crafting life so far?
This sounds so clichéd, but being part of the Create and Craft team I get to be part of a wonderful group of people who love craft as much as me. And whether it is at events or when I get emails from viewers who tell me that I have inspired them to pick up a needle and thread, it makes my sewing journey so much more rewarding.
Q10. Any advice for beginners?
Don’t be afraid to give it ago and make mistakes! Mistakes can make the most beautiful creations!