Ginny Farquhar and Alice Butcher

AB: I have a friendly down to earth approach to teaching. I believe that every individual has enormous potential and it is my job to encourage them to realise this. GF: My approach is friendly, gentle and focused, offering concise demonstrations and then guiding each student through hands on practical projects at their own pace. I am enthusiastic and passionate about sewing and wish to encourage each student to grow in confidence whilst having fun and learning good basic skills.

What will students gain if they come on one of your courses?

AB: Greater confidence, lots of practical knowledge and some tricks of the trade to take the fear out of sewing and designing. GF: Good basic sewing skills, confidence and competence with using a sewing machine, advice on using recycled fabrics and ideas of ways to introduce decorative design elements into creations.

Are there any particular techniques/processes you use in your teaching?

AB: Preparation is the key to all sewing. You can not have a good finish without a good beginning. Students complete practical projects that directly refer to techniques being taught combined with a good measure of demonstration and handouts for reference. GF: Projects are designed to teach core skills whilst working towards a finished item rather than just a series of samples. Individual expression and creative ideas are encouraged by introducing opportunities for design and surface decoration using appliqué. I also like to give printed handouts as support material to the practical sessions.

What inspires your own work?

AB: I am continually inspired by colour, textures and fabric. I have an eclectic collection of fabrics ranging from the 1900’s through to present day and love to play with combinations of patterns and different types of fabrics to create surface decoration. GF: Gift giving and the desire to be sustainable motivate much of my textile work. I am inspired by nature, colour, and my own photography. I am interested in utilising materials that others discard and reinventing them in some way. Recycled buttons and fabrics feature strongly as does paper and papier mache. I love to experiment with mixed media and enjoy combining textiles with paper and photo imagery.

Where can students see examples of your work?

Our work can be viewed on our website or within any of the books listed below.

Where did you gain your training experiance?

AB: I trained in surface pattern design at Somerset College of Art. Having freelanced for a year I went to work at Liberty of London in the Silk fabric department progressing to co-ordinating the Liberty Sewing School. I set up my own business for eight years with Ginny Farquhar called Folkydokee Handmade which produced handmade products made predominantly from recycled fabrics. We sold our work through House & Garden fairs, Country Living fairs and Hampton Court Flower Show. I have been fortunate enough to co-write two books and for the last three years have been focusing on teaching a variety of textile courses. GF: I studied Theatrical Costume at Wimbledon school of Art in the late 1980’s and spent 10 years freelancing extensively in repertory, community and educational theatre creating, supervising and teaching costume. From 2001 – 2008 I Co- ran a business, ‘Folkydokee Handmade’ with Alice Butcher producing items from recycled fabrics for the retail gift market and selling work at Country Living and House and Garden Fairs. I have co- authored two project sewing and craft books with projects also being included in other publications.
I am a qualified lifelong learning tutor affiliated with the Institute for learning holding a PTLLS certificate.

What teaching experience have you had?

AB: I first started teaching sewing courses nearly 20 years ago at the Liberty sewing School but returned to it about 3 years ago. I teach a variety of courses for both children and adults at art centres within Hampshire & Surrey and have recently gained a PTLLS certificate for teaching in the lifelong sector. I have also been working with Hampshire Learning who liaise with local communities and schools to provide a broad range of textile related classes. GF: My teaching experience began over 20 years ago whilst running the Costume dept at Middlesex University advising and guiding BA Performing Arts and Dance students on all aspects of costumes for performance. I also gained valuable experience whilst supervising and co-ordinating costumes on large scale youth and community projects. Since 2009 I have been working as an Art tutor running a variety of sewing and creative courses for adult and children within Hampshire and Surrey, at Arts Centres, schools and within the community. I also work as a qualified tutor within Hampshire Family Learning. AB: It’s a constant thrill to think that every Christmas, hundreds of children hang up one of our handmade folkydokee stockings.

Is your work in any public or private collections?

GF: Most of my textiles work has been purchased by individuals through retail sales.

Have you written any books/had articles published?

AB: I have co-written two books with Ginny Farquhar: Sew Fabulous Fabric 2008 David & Charles Home Sweet Sewn 2009 David & Charles Projects have also appeared in: Make me I’m Yours Christmas David &Charles Make me I’m Yours Sewing David & Charles How to Sew David & Charles GF: I have co – authored two books with Alice Butcher: Sew Fabulous Fabric – David and Charles 2008 Home Sweet Sewn – David and Charles 2009 Projects have also been appeared in: ‘Make me I’m yours Sewing’- David and Charles ‘Make me I’m yours Christmas’ - David and Charles ‘How to Sew’ - David and Charles Most recent tutorial: Sewing Notes tutorial– Cloth magazine 2010.

Do you beling to any professional groups/societies?

AB&GR: We are both a member of the institute for learning.