I am a huge fan of Jessie Chorley, so I was very excited to find out that she was writing a book! Jessie Chorley: The Story of a Maker describes how Jessie became the artist that she is, as well as giving you a glimpse into her incredibly creative mind. I’ll just tell you some of my favorite things that I learned about Jessie from the book.
Jessie is a collector with a capital C! She loves rummaging through Paris flea markets and Welsh charity shops (usually with her mum, textile artist Primmy Chorley), and can often be found at Spitalfields market in London (sounds like fun to me!)
She displays her ever-changing collection at home, or incorporates it into her work and passes it on through her shop. She considers it her visual sketchbook. She is such a well-known collector that people leave her gifts of vintage items on the doorstep of her store!
I am a textile lover through and through, but when I took one of Jessie’s altered book workshops, I found a new passion. I love the story about how she started making them! When she was a student (in Fine Art Textiles at Goldsmiths College in London), she was required to create research books for her course work. She didn’t like using the usual white paged sketch books everybody else was using, so one day she passed a pile of books on the side of the road that someone had thrown out…..and that was the beginning of her altered journals!
This is a lovely description of Jessie by Louise Presley of Hope and Elvis workshops, where Jessie often teaches: “As a petite Edwardian-esque woman with a shy charm, she was utterly entrancing… Her clothes are so interesting and full of verve, with brooch-embellished jackets and hand-embroidered aprons covering her beautiful vintage frocks.”
If you are feeling inspired by all the beautiful pictures of her work, (and there are many more pictures in the book!) Jessie has included instructions for two of her signature pieces: a stitched bow and a covered button. She also talks about how her shop (on London’s famed Columbia Road) came to be, her process in making her stitched pieces and brooches, and how she tells a story with mended and embellished vintage clothing.
If you would like to read more about Jessie Chorley, there are two recent articles about her: the May/June 2015 issue of Somerset Studio Magazine and one in the upcoming Sept/Oct 2015 Embroidery Magazine. Jessie’s book can be purchased through her website www.jessiechorley.com. You can also follow Jessie on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Jessie will be teaching for the first time in the US, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, September 15-19, 2015. For details go to www.womanwithaneedle.com.
To win, leave a comment on this post by Monday, Aug 24, 9 PM US CST - please answer this question for us - Are you a collector of fabrics, notions, haberdashery, or stitching tools? If so, what do you collect? (Photos would also be wonderful!) We will choose 1 random winner after the comments are closed, and notify everyone soon after!