The lovely Amanda creates beautiful textile art from vintage fabrics and curios. We asked Amanda to tell us about her work, how she made the leap from hobbyist to small business. Her thoughts on the upcycling trend and favourite artists. This is what she had to tell us …
I am a mixed media artist based in Wetherby West Yorkshire, I work from my home studio. As well as being an artist I work for the NHS.
I started my business 18 months ago after receiving positive feedback on a picture I created for myself. I have always been creative trying lots of different crafts and hobbies over the years. I have also been a collector of vintage buttons, photographs, and postcards since I was a teenager attending vintage and antique fairs.
I am self-taught but enjoy attending craft groups and workshops. Most of my inspiration comes from the items themselves but also from my Grandmas; they were both very resourceful women and one Grandma was always making and up-cycling. I remember watching her rag rug making, knitting, and she always had her trusted sewing machine on the go. I enjoy reading vintage sewing and embroidery books, trying new stitches and researching vintage textiles.
I design and create keepsakes and gifts using up-cycled vintage treasures. I enjoy incorporating original images with different textiles, and materials. Most of my work is hand stitched and I would describe it as primitive, nostalgic, romantic, and incorporating a positive sentiment. I like to create keepsakes that help provoke memories, and freeze a moment in time; marriage, birth, and other life events. My most popular designs are my angel hoops and treasure heart hoops, of which have flown to America and Australia.
The first piece I created was a canvas picture for myself. I wanted to make something which used my late Grandma’s buttons, and some lace from my wedding dress. The feedback from friends and family was incredible and ‘Amanda Jayne Handmade Designs’ was born.
I don’t really have a favourite piece but I do have a soft spot for my schnauzer brooches. I discovered a 1930’s transfer of my dog Harry and made myself a brooch so Harry could go everywhere with me. I also love making wedding commissions as I am a huge romantic! The piece I am most proud of was also my biggest challenge to date and also the most emotive piece I have made. It was a tribute piece of someone’s recently passed loved one; it was a highly personal and emotional piece.
I undertake commissioned work which I can personalise with names, dates, and special wording. It is so important for me to create unique and personal keepsakes for people and their loved ones.
My biggest achievement to date I feel is rising to the challenge of work life balance, family life, and running a business.
Recently one of my lampshades was purchased by a lady who was exhibiting at the Living North Live show in York; her husband made a base from reclaimed timber especially. I have also just been featured in Simply Homemade magazine through an article on Remade in Britain; a new marketplace for up-cyclers.
My ethos is to try and source everything to up-cycle and re-purpose and not to purchase items new. I am so pleased that in this very disposable world people are now starting to embrace the ‘make do and mend’ ethos again. People are inspired by TV shows like Kirstie’s Vintage Home, and The Great British Sewing Bee, and are now enrolling in courses, buying sewing machines, and having a go! I feel people are also starting to appreciate the craftsmanship from bygone years, furniture, embroidered linens, and the history and stories behind these pieces. Generally things were made to last years ago, and have stood the test of time.
I am inspired by the treasures I find, nature, life events, and other artists such as; Marna Lunt of Little A Designs, Viv Sliwka of Hens Teeth, Ali Ferguson of The Purple Thread Shed, and Christine Kelly of Gentlework.
My advice to others would be; do what you love, be inspired by others but stay original. Be passionate about what you do, and believe in yourself.
I sell my work through my facebook page www.facebook.com/amandajaynevintage
I have a shop on Remade in Britain www.remadeinbritain.com/amanda-jayne-handmade-designs
And I will be re-opening my Etsy shop soon with my wedding related items. www.etsy.com/uk/shop/UniqueAmandaJayne
I have also just started selling at Decoporium a local retail unit with a collection of vintage, handmade and up-cycled items. – www.decoporium.co.uk
You can also contact me via email – firstname.lastname@example.org and find me on Twitter @amandasvintage