Until four years ago my creative outlet was textile-based, quilting, patchwork, free machine embroidery and felting. I had just started to sell items at small local craft fairs and was due to start working from my city and Guilds with an award-winning quilter. Unfortunately I was then diagnosed with the first of a number of health issues, arthritis in my neck, and as a result was told by physiotherapists that I needed to give up sewing and quilting due to the strain it placed on my shoulders and arms as well as my neck.
I spent time trying to find another creative outlet and eventually came across origami and started exploring this again. I started experimenting with what I could make, and soon found that I find it easier to fold smaller items. I found it easier to fold using thinner paper and also smaller sizes of paper and as I've always loved flowers and jewellery it was a natural process to start combining all three to form Gilli's flowers, and develop a range of original, eclectic and meaningful jewellery. The meaningful part comes from the way I link my designs back to the Victorian "language of flowers", and I started my business, Gilli's flowers in April 2016. I have sold mainly at craft markets to date and my original jewellery designs have been very well received. However as these can be difficult for me to access as well as physically very demanding and tiring, I'm increasingly focused on developing my online offer.
At present, I continue to work three days a week as readings intervention manager in a large primary school but as it is likely that I will need to take early retirement at some stage this year I am working to develop my business as much as possible.
I am thrilled to be part of this community and look forward to learning a lot from everyone on here.