Janet EdkinsMy hometown is Sheffield, England – famous for steel, cutlery, Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday (Football). Although it’s an extremely large industrial city, nature is always close, with many parks and the wonderful countryside of Derbyshire and the Yorkshire Dales not far away, especially by American traveling distances.

My husband Chris and I moved to America in 1998 shortly after our wedding and were quite vagabondish for the first few years. We lived in Dallas (N Richardson & Plano). Then we moved to the Chicago area (Evanston, Skokie & Wheeling), and finally in March 2003, Chris was offered a position at UTK College of Veterinary Medicine.

We fell in love with this area; the Smokey Mountains, wonderful people and the general ambiance. So much so, within weeks of being here we bought a house and there we still live. We miss many of the eclectic stores and peoples of Chicago but not the weather or the traffic!

My creative history.
I have always been creative, it mainly showed up in dress-making when I was younger, then turned to set dressing, props & furniture during my stint in amateur theatre.

Tennessee IrisIn the winter of 2000 Kay Thomas was offering a class in Japanese Ink Painting at the Chicago Botanical Gardens. An amazing artist and gifted teacher, under her tutelage I found a real outlet for my creative soul. Zen Buddhist priests used Sumi-é as a form of meditation; grinding their ink, gathering their thoughts and creativity. I had tried water colour, pastels, crayons and oils previously but none spoke to me the way the ink did.

Traditional Sumi-é is black ink on white rice paper, the simplicity and complexity of the variations in black and white are a perfect reflection of my own complexities and tastes in colour.

I started making greetings cards from scraps of spoiled Sumi-é paintings. I hated to waste that one flower, or particularly fine leaf, that was good in a piece gone sour. Amazing reactions from family and friends to whom the cards were sent, encouraged me to create small pieces especially for more cards.

As many of you will know, one thing lead to another, and now I make all kinds of cards. My love of fine papers, beautiful beads, flowers and herbs allows for even greater expression. I truly hope that people find as much joy from the giving and receiving of my cards as I do in making of them.

So now beading! I made lots of small beady things for my cards and always said that “I did not make jewelry!” Oh how wrong that became, and believe me when I say that my “beady” friends rib me relentlessly every time I come up with another design or a twist on someone else’s design. It all started with vintage buttons! I know bizarre, but there you have it. You can read more of that story on my blog.  I am so loving this new found outlet for my design eye and creative spirit.