Well my love of all things creative started as a child when I dreamed of being a fashion designer...think it all began in my mums makeup box actually, where I began my love of all things glamorous and indulgent..from there I would draw, paint, cut up things and try to do things better...we weren't a well off family but we never went without for example I remember seeing a t shirt that I really wanted in Tammy girl when I was about 12..mum said it was too expensive for what it was and she would make me one, we bought a plain white T...and off we went to the haberdashery department of John Lewis.....armed with a metre of white cotton daisies, I watched my mum hand sew them to the t shirt....and that was that the world of haberdashery had been unleashed upon me and even now I cannot visit Milton Keynes without breezing through John Lewis.
I got my first sewing machine when I was 16 from my Grandma, who didnt have a use for it any more, I would sew anything and everything together, including plastics, and tubing (all of which I used to get at the Aquatics shop that I worked at) my mum warned me that I was pushing the sewing machine to its limits ( i didnt realise how true this would be until a couple of years later !)
My love of crafting continued, I studied textile and art at gcse which led onto A levels, but what I really had my heart set on was art college....my parents werent best pleased about my choice of career and wanted me to go into something a little more stable and follow a career I would get a job in! ...........however this was not for me...and I compromised with my mum who said ...go and spend a year at college (it was a free btec course in fashion and textiles) and see how you feel after that...great I thought so off I trundled with my portfolio to the North Hertfordshire Centre for the Arts and set out my work eagerly awaiting to see if I had what it takes to get in! ....thankfully I did and it proved to be the best thing I had ever done. Not only did I study textiles and fashion, I did photography, blacksmithing, ceramics and glass, fine art, and graphics...the course only emphasised what I already knew.....I loved being creative.....
However from here onwards I had a little power struggle with my parents...who desperately wanted me to take a different career path...arguments about jobs and securing my future were endless (and still are actually and i'm 26 now!) but I had to do what was right for me... once again mum and Dad bargained with me...I remember mum shouting....'you prove to me your good then'....'If you really have a talent then you'll get into the best uni' .....'Those places are tough and they'll spit you out' she'd said to me...'Okay then I will', i'd said half doubting my own abilities....from then on I made every effort and placed every inch of my time into perfecting my portfolio...because I had decided that I was going to get into .........the world renouned ....'Central Saint Martins'................I applied for the womenswear course and was shocked when I recieved an interview date.. the interview was at the Charing cross site and I'd dragged my heaving portfolio with me, I walked up to the site and was directed through a side door...gosh not very impressive I thought, more rundown and in need of a good lick of paint and few more windows! Anyway onwards and upwards through a maze of staircases and corridors I reached a more impressive top floor landing, adorning the walls were pictures of collections and designers...all past and present showcasing their collections at london fashion week...wow I thought dribbling my way past...thats where I want to be!....The interview was dissapointing to say the least...I was geared up ready to talk about my collections...but no it wasnt like that ....is this your portfolio a woman said to me? yes I said....nope your more textiles..i'm sending you too our sister site for an interview, it'll come through in the post, okay? Okay I said and off I went home...hideously deflated !
A couple of weeks later a letter arrived calling me to interview on the textile course at CSM, on the same day I recieved a letter calling me for an interview at UEL on their womenswear course, this happened to be the day before the 2nd Csm interview. Still feeling deflated I replied and said I'd be attending both, however I didn't rate my chances of getting into CSM so I'd set my heart on UEL, off I went to that interview, the course looked exciting and the course leaders were enthusiastic and I was offered a place then and their...however they new that I was heading for an interview at CSM the next day and were offering me a place on the condition that I didnt go for the interview!!!! God could this get any worse I thought, I had been given till the end of the day to decide! ...I phoned my mum, who said why would they say that to you, they must think you'll be offered a place at CSM... 'do you think, I'd said, yeah I do, no you've got to go for the CSM one, I have a good feeling about this! So I did, I told the course director that I was sorry but I needed to go to the CSM interview, she said she understood and wished me well. So it finally arrived, both myself and my sister arrived with my portfolio's to the Southampton Row site in Holborn, the much more prestigious, more glamorous sister site...Wow I thought this is amazing...the building was old and you could feel the history bulging out of it! There were works of art on the wall and a huge staircase on the right as you walked in, to the left was a gallery showcasing students art work. We were directed up through a set of double doors and told that when we reached the staircase at the end we should turn left and follow the signs to textiles, we passed a very posh looking cafe on the right and eventually found the staircase. We followed the signs to textiles, passing a room that was completely filled with knitting machines. I remember the smell in particular- a mix of oldness and something else? I later come to realise that this smell came from the dye room, anyway we were greeted in the corridor by a group of girls (about 10), all looking equally nervous and eager, we exchanged hello's and talked about the interview..one girl in particular was Jo (lewis) she seemed nice and had travelled from Lemington Spa, we'd both looked disgusted at a girl who had remarked that shed only turned up as she had nothing better to do and that she was going to Australia for six months so couldnt start the course anyway (god damn you I thought ...if only shed known the lengths I'd gone to to get here) the interview process lasted for 8 hours , I had left my poor sister in the cantine (thinking I was only going to be a couple of hours) anyway after leaving our portfolios for scrutinisation, we waited for the for the formal interview, this happened to be with Garth and Anne both course leaders, they asked questions about attitude and what I would bring to the college and if I believed I had what it takes to be apart of CSM. I must have said the right things as 2 weeks later, I recieved a water marked letter from CSM (please see photo) offering me a conditional place on the textile design course!!!!!!!!!!!! Wahoo , I shrieked with delight..i'd done it!!!!!!!!!!! I was shortly on my way to the best college in the country!