....like I did when I was a young girl. I drew all the time and doodled and faffed. I especially loved to draw figures and dresses. I used to dream that I would create clothes for the Oscars. I'd make clothes out of tissues, napkins and loo roll for my Sindy because my mum couldn't afford to buy our dolls new clothes. My sister and I got inventive with sellotape and handkerchiefs - we were fabulous! I imagined myself wearing my own creations but didn't think I would ever go down that route, really. They were just dreams and little follies.
When I was 14/15/16 my mum didn't much encourage us to go to college. Basically, she wanted all three of us to leave school and go and get a job after our final exams. I didn't really want to, I just wanted to go to college and study the Art that I had to drop in my options. I ended up joining the RAF to get away from the island where I lived because the job prospects were poor and so I left home in June 1987 (aged 16 years, 4 months exactly) and never went back home to live again. I went about my work for 9 years until I met Mark, got preggo and married in that order. We had Ellie and we were cosy in our sweet life. I had no aspirations or dreams of restarting a career as Ellie spent a lot of time in and out of hospital - it was hellish and I just thought further education was a non entity. I did eventually go to work when she was one year old but that was more out of respite - but not because I didn't like her. Emotionally, it was a very sad time for us and going to work and having Ellie in a nursery with a state nurse to care for her was the best thing I did for my sanity. But I got fed up with that after a short while and took part time jobs here and there to help with bills. Life rolled by and we got on with it, as you do.
Then in 2004, after Ellie had developed into a stronger being than in her toddler years, I started my own small business supplying the craft industry with a small shop, working from home and ensuring I was there for Ellie at home time and school holidays. It was fun and crafting will always be fun. I love it....its kind of art but not the art I used to love. Its one of my favourite things to do in my spare time and of course, I sometimes get paid to do it (the best part!). Id still draw and doodle over the course of a working day and in fact, have always drawn and doodled since I can remember. Going to college still didn't come into mind because of the care I provide for Ellie plus I still needed to contribute towards the running of the house. I thought about it but I couldn't afford to do it and plus the fact Ellie had up to 15 appointments at hospitals in a year at that point.
Its not been until recent that I have had to shuffle a few priorities about and think about our future. Belle will be in her last year of school next year and aside from attending a special needs college, we do not think she will be healthy or fit enough to go out and get work or indeed leave home. So our priorities have shifted and we have to plan and strengthen our future. We will have to support her and that means I will have to try and get a better paid job; one where I'm salaried instead of taking payments here and payments there. Being self employed does have its perks but it also has its pitfalls. And I'm going to need better qualifications if I am to go back to full time work soon.
This prompted me to look at further education albeit distance learning. Ellie's hospital visits are sparse due to cut backs so it has afforded me the time to sit down and write a list of courses I wouldn't get bored with (that's Maths out the window). Would History get me a great job? Or maybe floristry? Did I want to business studies or other admin related stuff? God no, I did/do not! And then I thought about what I'm really good at and what Id find truly enjoyable and fun and that's when the course jumped out at me from the page - Fashion Design. Sure, Id love to be a designer in the ranks of Marc Jacob and Mary Quant but realistically that's not essentially Id like to do. Id like to be able to design the concept of my own patterns, of course and make clothes for myself and Ellie (as she is hard to get clothes to fit her as she is so tiny) but over the last few days I have cogitated a little and researched the life of a fashion designer and it doesn't just stop at illustration and cutting patterns. Its mathematics (yuk!), its merchandising, its visually gorgeous, its marketing and its buying. And even though I know the industry is hellish and the course work is going to get harder, I am psyched up to take all that on board and make a shift from my current line of employment. Perhaps increase my creativity and branch out with my knowledge on photography and design and combine it somehow - maybe even with the BBC interview that is coming up in the new year (its all go here, I tell you!). I still have no idea where it will lead me but once this diploma is over, I'm considering taking a BA Hons in the subject which should help me pin point just exactly what I need to do.
I wanted to share a tiny sample of my first assignment with you and I loves it. I really do but it still needs fine tuning. As much as an illustrator has free reign on clothes design, I stop at heads! But that's OK, here I am just trying to get a feel for movement and style. Ive already explained to my tutor that I'm not the kind of FD student that wants to create outlandish fashion with plumage here and barbed wire there. Its just not me although I do actually think its a fun aspect of the industry. For me I just want to get by creating "ready to wear" and "off the peg". I'm going to document some of my work from time to time but rest assured I will still be crafting because I'm still desperately in love with it and always will be.
By the way, the above skirt? Its yours for £295, OK?