Hear from Abbie, the founder of AbbieAnne Patchwork, Quilting & Textiles, who tells us all about her crafting journey and offers inspiration for all crafters.
I started teaching traditional hand patchwork & quilting not long after I started the C&G’s at the request of a few friends… so I’ve been teaching P&Q for over 20 years now. I like to mix it up a bit with embroidery and other textile techniques, nothing quite like a bit of ‘different’.
I’ve been designing textile stuff since starting the C&G’s course, for myself initially, but was soon designing for others.
I’ve been an artist of sort my whole life, mostly watercolour painting & drawing. Once I realized I could mix up the drawings with textiles I couldn’t control myself! It’s basically taken over my life (and my husbands – Paul – he’s so patient and such a support in all I do, without him I’d still be a civil servant)
Many will know me and have met me around the country (and a few trips abroad) teaching my designs and my versions of traditional patterns at shows, workshops & retreats. There’s usually a bit of a twist with everything I design or teach, what’s the point in not challenging ourselves?! It’s amazing what anyone can achieve if they’re not told its too difficult for them?!!
I love beginners’ classes especially, seeing people achieve, seeing ‘design developments’ of my patterns within their creating. (I’m well known with my students for ‘design developments’, they can cover a multitude of sins, 20 years + of them!)
I like to laugh and I’m nosey. I never know quite what I’ll come out with in conversation… By brain cell can get a bit over loaded and goes off at tangents! Classes can be very entertaining.
For every pattern idea I have, I complete about 1, for that 1 there will have been at least 50 possible connotations, it’s a wonder I get anything done!
I just love seeing the world in colour!
If in doubt, ask the question!”
“I (Abbie Searle) owner of AbbieAnne, have been trading as the above since 2011 when finally, I took the plunge and became a self-employed designer/maker/tutor (along with part time paid employment in a local art shop specializing in Patchwork & Picture Framing). It coincided with the publication of my book, ‘Pile & Plunder’ – a form of machine reverse appliqué.
I have been patchworking for well over 20 years. Totally by accident really. I decided it would be a good idea to make a quilt for my Mum’s Christmas present, this was in the January. I couldn’t understand the written instructions for Dresden Plate so I had to find a basic course with a local lady to decipher what was a completely different language! By September the same year I’d enrolled on what was a new C&G course. 5 years later I have all the P&Q, Design & Embroidery C&G’s, such fun!!
I’ve been running ‘Mystery Block of the Month’ quilts for quite a few years as well now, nothing quite like not knowing what you’re making!! It never ceases to amaze me the faith that people have in my designs! (they do get a cryptic description before joining!)
The ‘Colourful Outlook on Life’ quilt was my first mystery, completed by all abilities including beginners. I’m sure if they had known there was Bargello involved fewer would have joined in just at the thought of it! Everyone achieved!
5 years ago I was fortunate enough to have a cabin built in the garden where I’ve been teaching and designing ever since. I call it my ‘Cupboard’, my students have christened it ‘The Therapy Cupboard’, I couldn’t be more proud of that name!!
I have a constant companion now, who just adores the students, ‘Black Cat Tom’ who has adopted me, he chooses to live in the Cupboard and is now part and parcel of daily Cupboard life. He’s now very well-known having his very own fan base.
I’ve been told I’m classed as a ‘colourist’? I’m so lucky in that the use of colour is second nature to me. Colour gets in the mix with everything I do, mostly bright & bold, but I can do nicely toning when necessary!
I’m fortunate to live in North Cornwall (with my Cupboard in the garden). I take my design inspirations from just about anything, but the actual design will usually come from photos I will then go out and take, it’s far too easy to get influenced by other designers when you’re not aware of it. Nature is best, it’s so eventful and full of surprises and colour!
During lockdown I ran a free Youtube Channel and Facebook Group for patchworkers/crafters where we made a total of 8 quilts! Giving each other help, support & encouragement. This has proved to be an excellent forum for students to get help with my designs when needed.