To welcome our newest brand ambassador and celebrate during the lead up to her first Create & Craft show, we thought we’d have a bit of a chat with the wonderful Jennie Rayment! She has also created three new blocks and a bag project for you all to try out, which we’ll be sharing a little later in the week, but for now, let’s get to know Jennie a little bit better!
Jennie kick-started her career at one of the world’s biggest quilting shows in Houston, Texas and has never looked back. Known for her expert patchwork, applique and quilting skills with unique ‘nipping and tucking’ fabric effects, entertaining presenting style and nine books under her belt, Jennie is a global sewing star. However, she started off in the hotel and catering industry, falling into the world of craft by accident in her late thirties.
“As a child I loved examining how things were made and working out how to re-create them. And this is what I do now! Take some pieces and put them back together in different arrangements.“
“As with most of my life, TV was an accident, a demonstrator was required for a Simplicity pattern and I happened to be talking to the company at the time – they asked, I said ‘yes’ and that was it!”
But how does she feel about her very first Create & Craft show for Crafter’s Companion?
“For some strange reason and probably because I teach and lecture so much on the international stage, the camera holds no terrors as long as I am doing what I am comfortable with. Terror strikes if I am out of my comfort zone! “
Outside of quilting, there aren’t any other crafts that really take Jennie’s fancy. She dabbles a little bit in crochet, knitting, felting and other soft crafts, but it’s quilting that has stolen her heart. However, her other passions in life include growing tomatoes and doting on her grandchildren.
For someone who isn’t all that interested in quilting, it can be a bit confusing to think that someone could dedicate their whole life to the craft, so what exactly is it that Jennie loves about quilting so much?
“The planning, the initial creation, the colour layout and the juxtaposition between the light and shadow when I am playing with texture. New ideas just pop into my head very often when out running (no interruptions when trotting along the coast early in the morning) and I will ponder over some tactile twiddle that I may have seen the day before, so I find it very relaxing.”
Not only does Jennie love quilting, but she also loves to share her passion for quilting, and believes that if anyone has a strong enough love for the craft, they can teach it. Her main piece of advice if you were looking to get into this career, though, is to know your costs.
“If you are going to teach, then take some form of teaching qualification – your students will appreciate this as there is not only an art to teaching, but also a technique. You should be able to successfully put the lesson across and this is something that you can learn. Should you wish to start a commercial business, ensure that you cost the items or the service you are offering correctly. It’s not cost-effective to find yourself working for very little and being unable to make a profit, even if very small. For those wishing to write both online or as hard copy, look at your market and make sure that any instructions are clear – even to the rawest beginner.”
So apart from becoming our new ambassador, what else does the future hold for Jennie?
“Another book will be out for Festival of Quilts (1st – 4th August, Birmingham) – more new twiddles, fiddles, magical manipulations and amazing maneuverings from the Calico Queen!”
We hope you’re as excited as we are to see more from Jennie Rayment, so make sure to tune in to Create & Craft on Sunday 21st April at 11AM to see her in action. She’ll be demonstrating our Build-A-Block Curves, so don’t miss out!