Rachael Gwilliam of Artyarn, who's been heading up our knitting and crochet courses now since 2009. After we stumbled across the 'knitted shed' - see below- nearly 5 years ago, Rachael has taught more willing customers to knit and crochet than we can count.
Shes' a master of the needles and hook, full of creative va-va-voom and her patient, almost one-to-one teaching style gains her some of the highest praise any tutor has received.
We're looking forward to the wooly knitting and crochet starting up again in the autumn, but in the meantime she'll be teaching our customer how to knit jewellery with wire! She's that good...
first time round it was because my mum would sit and knit at home ..
but she'd never finish anything off! I was about 7 and would knot the
yarn up almost immediately after mum had fixed my mistakes!
I tried and
failed and left it alone for many years. I did enjoy a bit of embroidery
at Brownies though. The second time round, at about the age of about
25 - the 'stitch n bitch' phenomenon was just kicking off and I wanted a
bit of the action!
What’s your crafting background?
I started a knitting club
in 2007 as a way to learn more and bring crafters in my local area
together - I was living in central Salford at the time and used my local boozer as the venue.
Shortly after becoming very obsessive over
knitting I started a small business called ArtYarn, putting my art
school knowledge and training in the mix to create art installation and
creative workshops. I've since been commissioned by galleries, Museums
and creative institutions world wide to create knitting and crochet
What are your main sources of inspiration?
and my love of drawing. I there are very close connections between my
drawing works and how I knit and crochet my projects. I also look at
fine needle work, especially in crochet and tatting, from the arts and
crafts movement, as I'm quite fond of intricate doily patterns.
Who’s been the biggest influence on your career so far?
and professionally, the people who gave me my first teaching jobs,
including Sam at Ministry of Craft. The opportunity to teach regularly
in a professional environment has meant that I've had to really perfect
my skills in both my crafts and in my teaching style. This has given my
tremendous confidence , which I was seriously lacking in 5 years ago.
What’s the best thing about being a crafter?
Being able to teach others about your craft and to share crafting skills, which I have always done since becoming freelance.
Do you do any other crafts in your spare time, apart from what you specialize in?
I draw, I'm a fanatical drawer. I also like to do some embroidery.
A jumper for a garden shed.
Have you ever made a creative mistake?
All the time. Its how you learn, and therefore how you progress on with your work.
And your favourite tool or material?
4mm basic metal crochet hook and come cotton yarn. I like to keep things basic and let the stitches do the magic.
What’s you favourite crafty anecdote / story?
I tried to knit with two pints of beer once. It didn’t work out.
Where can we see / buy your work?
At either www.artyarn.org or www.rachaelelwell.co.uk
knitting and crochet courses at ministry of craft, with brand new
courses in crochet and knitting socks! The launch of my online shop.
You can find Rachael all over social media (!): on Twitter @artyarn on facebook.com/artyarn and her revered yarn based blog - artyarnblog.tumblr.com