Tuesday, 12 August 2008


You never know where life will take you. I suppose that can sometimes be one of the great things about it. A chance meeting or a seemingly insignificant event can result in some surprising, occasionally life changing consequences.

Five years ago, just a few weeks after moving to Bournemouth, I happened to see a poster in the window of a quilting shop advertising an exhibition of work by local City & Guilds embroidery students. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed at the time, I had just moved to a strange town, started a new job, I had no friends or relatives nearby to talk to and to make matters worse my OH was working over a 100 miles away and we were only able to see each other at weekends. I have always loved looking at textiles and embroidery so I went along to the exhibition to cheer myself up. When I arrived I was surprised to see some amazing beadwork on display. Intrigued I chatted to one of the students who was acting as a steward. I had dabbled in off-loom beadwork but was mainly self-taught and so found it difficult. That afternoon a whole new world opened up for me. I immediately signed up for the Level 1 City & Guilds Beading course. In the past four years I have learnt so much and made some wonderful friends. I am blessed with a wonderful teacher who has given me constant inspiration support and encouragement. One day I would like to teach beading and she has given me the confidence to believe that anything is possible.

A beaded passion flower created by me and based on a pendant designed by American beader Laura McCabe

A detail from one of my necklaces inspired by a trellis covered in climbing roses. Four years ago I would not have had the confidence to design and make my own jewellery.

Recently another event has unexpectedly opened up a new range of possibilities and a chance to make more friends. A few months ago P, R and I attended a talk by Linda Harrold, a local medical herbalist, about the medicinal properties of herbs. The talk was very interesting and Linda proved to be an engaging and informative speaker. At the end of the session she mentioned that she was interested in setting up a local herb group affiliated to the Herb Society. P, R and myself volunteered to help. Last Thursday was the first meeting of the Dorset Herb Group. The aim is to provide an friendly and informal atmosphere where like minded people can discuss growing and using herbs. P gave a wonderful talk on how she grows and uses herbs in her garden. Every month there will be a 'Herb of the Month' spot presented by one of the group. This time I was asked to talk. After much deliberation I chose nettles, not an obvious choice. I think that they are very under used and under appreciated. They are often considered a nuisance by the gardener but can be useful for conditioning your soil, encouraging wildlife into your garden and are very good to eat. The whole evening was a great success. Yet again I have been able to get to know a whole new set of people and to expand my range of interests. As I said you never know where life will take you next!

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