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IT ALL STARTED WHEN...

My Grandpa taught me to use hand tools in his shed when I was 3 years old...

My Grandpa Stanley Waughman started me off with woodwork at the age of 3 - a good solid age for a girl to start working with hand tools. He was a leather worker by trade and, because of this, his hands were huge, hard and calloused – he could cusp a wasp in them without feeling its sting. As a child I knew he must be very important because his name, Stanley, was written on all his tools.

Up until I was 6 years old I lived in Galston, Ayrshire, and just two doors down from my Grandparents. Ours was a quiet little cul-de-sac, except on days where I played my bright, plastic Fisher Price record player on the street corner. This was in the early 80’s, when we all played outside and scuffed knees and grubby nails were a sign of a good days play.

I’d pick up pretty bits and bobs and pop them in my pockets to show my friends – some pretty stones, a handful of gooseberries, and once, the severed head of a pheasant that sent them scarpering and squealing. I just thought the feathers were beautiful. To this day, I still have a soft spot for pheasants.

As a child, if I ever felt cross with my parents, I’d seek sanctuary at my Grandparents’ house. Grandma would fold an oversized piny to fit me, and pop me on the kitchen stool to reach the counter. We’d spend hours baking recipes from the Galston Parish Cookbook – a book typed the year I was born by the local Church Ladies, bound in green cardboard. I still keep a copy in my kitchen.

Grandma also taught me to sew from an early age. I remember her sitting in the living- room, darning my Grandpas socks. I used to love looking through her sewing box at all the threads, buttons and fabric scraps. I now have that sewing box in my living-room and regularly run sewing workshops on behalf of The Crafty Hen.

The experiences above carved my career. I struggled academically at school, however, I was lucky enough to have the confidence and opportunity to pursue my strengths at art college by studying a silversmithing degree. The right ‘type’ of learning can have a huge impact on an individual and in my own case, I went from being the bottom of my academic year at school to graduating with the highest mark in my year at art college.

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It turned out the reason I struggled at school was that I have a range of learning difficulties. Through finding the right type of education for me, I was able to thrive and this has made me passionate about tailoring all my workshops to fit each student's needs. Most people love to learn, grow and be creative when it’s delivered in a way that is accessible and inspiring to them.

As Albert Einstein said “Creativity is contagious, pass it on”. This sums up why I am passionate about helping others develop their creative skills and promoting alternative education. Whether it’s to raise confidence, develop new skills, achieve a particular aim or help with a career change, I believe in helping others “Make it”.

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