I can close my eyes and think back to sitting in a classroom in Devon England. I can feel fabric and needle with embroidery thread in my hand. I can remember the joy. It was as if I had won a priz or as if I had been rewarded. I can see the color I can see the pencil line on the turquoise fabric where my needle was going in and out. I was six years old. I can vividly remember the way the process made me feel.
It was clear to me at 12 years old that teaching and fabric had to be the direction my life would take, after all my brother and sister had paved the way with art and home economics. After 3 years at teacher training college, I began to share my skill and passion with young people, hoping they too could feel the joy that I did. "Sewing'' is needlework where I come from and my after-school needlework clubs were always well attended by the girls. When their garments were complete, I saw how proud these young people were to wear their creations in Style shows in front of the rest of the school.
During these school teaching years, I felt incomplete if I did not create in some way myself. I didn't travel anywhere without a sewing machine. I made clothes for nieces and my sister and mother and ties for my brother and father. I was driven by this inner need to create.
It was not until I came to America and started teaching adults that a true deeper connection happened. These women wanted to sew, and they paid to be there, and it was magical for me to get in touch with this talent I had been born with to bring out the passion in others. My passion directed me to take many sideways steps. The entrepreneur awoke in me. I analyzed colors, made up faces, sold skin care and gave image counseling. I painted and sold watercolors and oh the thrill that someone would buy a painting of mine.
I designed and had my studio built and where for the past thirty plus years I have created a safe place for creativity. A place for women to come and sew and stitch and sometimes craft and be with others of like mind. I am there, yes to earn a living but to guide and teach and coach so that the results are spectacular for them. I know what ever I make they will want to make too. I miss them so much as I have closed the studio since March 2020.
At 75 I could not waste a minute. A chance to sew up some of my amazing fabric collection and be in the studio with all that space just for me. Two coats, four tops and two wall - hanging later I needed time out. I discovered Surface pattern designing! I have reinvented myself. I have just completed an eight-week course learning how to use Adobe Illustrator to make repeat patterns to go onto fabric and paper. This is SO much fun and brings together my passion for fabric and design. How lucky I am while I wait to fill my studio again with my lovely creatives. I still have the same exciting feeling as I stitch with ribbon for an upcoming ribbon embroidery class I am giving in January 2021 as I had in 1951!
Jane Foster, December 2020