I was very lucky as a child, to be dragged up (as it was done in the 70/80's) surrounded with books, art and music, lots of music. I don't remember being encouraged to do anything in particular, but just soaked in what was around me. I love being outside, I loved animals and spent a lot of time on friends' farms, chasing escaped horses down the road or dragging sheep out of ditches.
When GCSE chemistry got a bit too mathematical for me I gave up on the idea of becoming a veterinary surgeon like my childhood hero, James Herriot. I read a lot of nature-related writers, Farley Mowatt, Gerald Durrell, Richard Adams, and Kenneth Grahame, and spent a lot of time wandering around my local area with a Collins Gem identifying flowers and insects particularly. I thought maybe I'd go into the army and train dogs or become a farmer's wife.
That didn't happen.
I went to art college instead, primarily to go into either photography or fine art, or both combining art and science.
That didn't happen either.
I was pushed in the direction of textiles. particularly printed, woven, and knitted, and after gaining a HND in the subject, I went on to De Montfort University to study a BSc (hons) in Knitwear Production. I chose Leicester to study in because it was well known for its knitwear factories and so my intention was to get a job in one of those as a machine operator.
No, that didn't happen, not yet anyway!
Just as I was leaving university, the factories were closing and most clothing items were being made in India or Asia and imported into the UK.
I had two of my four children by then and moved back to Wales, where I retrained in Childcare, working with very young children and those with autism and then teaching adults and families with disadvantaged backgrounds. I organised and on occasion led craft and science workshops until after becoming quite ill and I gave it up for a less stressful job.
For the past 5 years, I worked as a loom operator, almost doing what I intended after university.
During all this time and various jobs, I had two more children, ran a fairly successful bespoke knitwear business, and was involved massively in the community, running pop up shops, face painting, guerrilla knitwear groups, storytelling workshops, all sorts of exciting things.
Now that my children are grown up, and I am living in a rural village in Pembrokeshire, with a bit of land, I have come full circle, continuing my childhood hobby, identifying plants and insects and messing about with animals. I have also returned to painting, creating watercolour illustrations inspired by the countryside around me, and creating my own botanical inks.
I have written and illustrated my own book, as well as illustrated other authors' books and am currently studying an MA in Illustration at Falmouth University.