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Anna Interview

In the Hot Seat: Jennie Rayment

Jennie Rayment

Q1. Have you always been creative?

Maybe not always creative but have always had a desire to discover, search out, take apart and rebuild and was one of those horrid children who asked ‘Why?’ at the most awkward times. Possibly this desire for knowledge was the beginning of being creative.

Q2. What is the first thing you can recall making as a child and who was it for?

A stuffed rabbit with a carrot made in Miss Harrop’s class when I was six rising seven and it was for me! Rabbit almost unrecognisable as an animal but I recollect that the carrot was much admired.

Q3. What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’?

A doctor. In hindsight would have made a lousy doctor as way too bossy - would have had all my patients lined up and regimented, pathology would have been a better move if I had ever gone into the medical world. Sadly though, circumstances at the time precluded me taking up my place at Royal Free and in a fit of pique, I went into the catering world . Why?? Pass - it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Q4. Why/when did you decide you could make a living out of crafting?

Late 1989 was in desperate need of a job to support self and child and I fell into the crafting world by accident. A local teacher needed help with her patchwork classes on the organisational front and I wanted a job. After a very short time, having seen what she was doing - I was hooked and consequently found out as much as I could about the world of patchwork and quilting. Late that autumn, Adult Education were looking for a part time teacher. I applied and got the job! For some strange reason they seemed to think I knew what I was doing.

Q5. Do you have any other hobbies?

Apart from reading everything from the cereal packet to the loo roll and enjoying running, I have no hobbies but then why should I have? I love what I do and if I do it all day long apart from time spent reading and running then my life is full.

Q6. What craft item can you not live without?

Aah - a really good sewing machine.

Q7. If you were stranded on a desert island and could only take 5 items, what would they be – and why?

Now I consider that a rotary cutter, mat and ruler count as one item, so I would also have a sewing machine, fabric, wadding and thread. With all those I could make quilts and clothing to keep me warm, make flags to wave at passing ships, create traps from thread and bits of fabric to catch animals or collect coconuts and other fruit as they fell, weave strips of fabric into baskets and use the machine to sew leaves and thin bark so I could make a waterproof cover. Naturally you would give me a good machine with a supply of different sized needles. Scissors wouldn’t be a problem as I can use the rotary cutter.

Q8. What’s your biggest ambition in life?

To have my own patchwork and quilting show - presented by me with other quilters as guests.

Q9. What’s been the highlight of your crafting life so far?

Difficult that as have had many many highlights but the highlight that kicked me into the big time was taking 1000 copies of my first book to Quilt Festival, Houston USA in 1996 and selling them all - from then on I became known in the US and indeed round the world.

Q10. Any advice for beginners?

Yes! Don’t fuss too much, try not to be a Mrs or Mr Picky Pants and enjoy what you are doing and providing it is suitable for the job that it is intended - your work will be fine. You will grow and develop much faster if you relax and enjoy the fabulous world of patchwork and quilting. And of course watch the ‘Quilting Classroom’ says she cheekily!