working collectively

More and more I have been thinking about the way we self employed crafters work, especially locally. When I see someone starting to teach something even vaguley similar my first impulse is always to feel threatened. Of course! This is my livelihood! But this never lasts. It makes me realise I always need to be at the top of my game, that we are all different and have unique skills we offer to students, that I shouldn’t worry, that there is enough to go around, and surely more people crafting is always a good thing. And then I kinda forget about it again.

But recently I have started thinking more that we should combine forces, us craft teachers, that we should make it easier for people to choose who to use for a class, that we can all benefit from clarity of who offers what, where and when, so we as tutors don’t clash or waste energy feeling we are competing, chasing the same clients, when in reality there is probably less of an overlap actually.

And in that spirit I have had some amazing meetings of mind with some sterling women recently. They inspire me, hopefully I inspire them a little too! It is also so very liberating to just voice the worry we all have about people taking our business away, I believe most fears are only fears until you have vocalised them, when they are out in the open they are maybe opportunities for growth or challenges rather than something to be scared of.

I recently joined forces with amazing Hannah from YoYuu, a fabulous kids fashion label using upcycled denim to make funky, wearable and unique clothing, and equally amazing Claire who runs House of Stitch, a sewing tuition service in Highams Park. She’s a whizz with hand sewing and darning and loves teaching beginners and kids. Together we are The Repair Collective. We passionately believe in sustainable fashion and fixing and upcycling rather than throwing away and buying new! We are running an event on 30th March where Claire will be showing people how to fix clothes, I will be fixing sewing machines and showing people how to look after their macine, and Hannah will show people how to easily upcycle a tshirt into a shopping bag. The link to the event is here:

I have met with the amazing Karen who makes stunning clothes from beautiful african prints, and she doesn’t use any patterns! She’s an intuitive sewist and a cracking woman to boot, we instantly hit it off. Karen is about to start teaching some classes from the cheekyhandmades studio and will be available for private classes too, watch the schedule and the page for more details on her.

Last but not least I have joined forces with the extremely talented Abigail who is a textile artist who makes beautiful work. She lives and works very nearby and loves teaching people slow stitching and hand embroidery. We have decided to run some joint workshops; learn to sew with myself and then decorate the cushion cover you made in a class with Abigail in her super inspiring studio near Blackhorse station, Find her on Instagram as Abigailbrownart  Dates will be on the schedule soon!

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Post Author: Jennie