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jelly is a quirky name - how did it come about? I was looking for a name that would engage people and draw them in and jelly perfectly describes the nature of the organisation: it’s not a rigid concept but an informal one which fits into the space and evolves.


Your work with jelly over the last 17 years is truly inspirational. What motivates you to continue the good work through the inevitable ups and downs? It’s all about the people; those who work for jelly, those whom jelly supports and those who support us. Last year, when we had to move premises, was a really dark time but the support, kind comments and respect received were truly inspiring.


Our latest launch involves a 17 year old artist whose parents came to jelly before she was born and she came as a child; it’s wonderful to see the growth of the jelly “family”. We work with lots of artists and organisations


54 | ukhandmade | Spring 2011


in a huge hub of creativity, creating opportunities together so artists and organisations can grow. For me, personally, it’s this opportunity to work with inspiring people that motivates me and makes me a better artist and mother.


You have received awards and public recognition for your amazing work, such as the Pride of Reading award and being invited to become a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts – what do you regard as your greatest achievement? Still being here! Receiving great recognition on Radio 4 Women’s Hour; being shortlisted for a Financial Times Award; featuring in a Wall Street journal piece – all things which help to move arts into the mainstream but definitely surviving and learning has been a great achievement.


You also create ‘Knithappens’ unique knitted items and your own design patterns – how do you fit it all in and what inspires you?


Knithappens at night and on trains. I find the combination of design, pattern and inspiration in knitting very cathartic. I’m always sketching. I’m continually inspired by what I see around me and like to create homages to characters ranging from Johnny Rotten to Joan of Arc.


Given the current economic climate and impacts of the Spending Review, what do you think the future holds for the arts in the UK? It’s going to be a tough time; jelly started during the recession 17 years ago. Whilst we’ve always had to be fleet of foot, it’ll be hard and even more so for larger organisations which require more funding.


The Spending Review raises questions about the value of the arts. This may be difficult to quantify in purely financial terms but undoubtedly there is value in education, in the development of artists and in things that matter to hearts and minds.


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