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Meet the author: Bobby Britnell

She is a member of the Embroiderers Guild and of the Textile Study Group, a national teaching and exhibiting group. Her work is exhibited and held in private collections worldwide.

An Interview with Bobby

Where were you born?

Guildford, Surrey

What is your educational background?

I left school when I was 16 as I always wanted to sew and went straight into employment working for a theatrical agency in Soho, London. We made costumes for The Black and White Minstrel Show, Talk of the Town and many Westend Shows and Pantomines, including costumes for Paul Raymonds Revuebar!!!. Later worked for Saville Row tailors before going to Battersea, Teachers Training College, where I specialised in Fashion, Design and Textiles.   

What first got you interested in craft?

It is something that I have always wanted to do as a young child. No-one showed me or taught me at home……….I just always loved making things and was reasonably good at it throughout primary and secondary school. I also loved music, but never had a main instrument to pursue, as also thought of going down that route, but ‘making and creating with fabric’ always perhaps a stronger first choice.

How long have you been crafting?

Always

Where do you get your materials?

When I worked in London we used to buy fabrics for the costumes at Borovics, which became a great shop for embroidery enthusiasts. Now for me it is not so much about the materials, but the processes that I apply to the material through colour, print and stitch. I tend to use just one kind of fabric, which I buy from Whaleys in Bradford, called ‘natural scoured cotton’. It takes the dye well and is great for all kinds of hand and machine work.

How/Where did Search Press discover you?

“I love your website...what a wonderful collection of work - diverse and interesting. I would be very interested to talk to you about your book ideas. Let me know when you are available to talk about them, and I will phone you”. Best wishes Roz Dace Editorial Director.

Looking back through emails I found this one above, and it sounds as though I made the first move to Search Press. I am of course delighted that Roz liked what she saw and believed in me from the start.

What were your first thoughts when asked to write a book?

I had been wanting to write a book for many years and gave myself a 5 year plan in achieving this goal. Another publisher did not take up my ideas, but and thrilled that Search Press did. I have so much information in my head and have always enjoyed planning courses and worksheets etc, and feel that I need and want to be share this information with others.

Has publishing a book changed your life in any way?

I can’t really answer that yet. It certainly was a great deal of work, but it was one of my long term aims. It will be interesting to see what effect it has on my professional career and whether it will increase workshop and lecture bookings.

Any tips for beginners?

If you have an idea that you really believe in, then don’t give up. Also be really aware of the market that you hope to target.

What is your favourite craft tool?

Not sure what a favourite craft tool would be, perhaps my sewing machine. I do have a passion for charcoal however.

Have you travelled for your craft?

I have exhibited in America, Canada, Finland and a number of European countries. I have taught in Italy, Canada and Austria. I also travel all over the UK teaching and lecturing.

Where does your inspiration come from?

You will have to read the book to find out that answer to that question as it is all written in there!!!!

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