Janice Hales

I attended Norwich High School before going on to study Graphic Design at Art School for two years. This was followed by teacher training in London, qualifying to teach Juniors with my in-depth subjects of Art, Craft and English.  I was never interested in sewing, yet always made things and continued my interest in design.

Retiring in 2000, I was very fortunate to enrol on a course of Hand Stitching and to learn some of the disciplines required for this medium. Through this I became involved with designing items for Pearsall’s — a company of long-standing, especially in the production of fine silk threads with their 350+ accurately replicated shades, dating back to 1795.

As specialists, the company held stands at national shows at Alexandra Palace, Harrogate and at the N.E.C. Encouraged to submit my designs to Pearsall’s, I was delighted when they accepted them even though they had been worked as a hobby. Nevertheless, over fourteen years my working style (mostly using single thread silk 'Filoselle' onto silk Dupion and often stitched in long-and-short stitch) became acceptable to the firm who then turned my worked designs into kits.  They used my completed work for display on their show stands, from where their products were sold almost exclusively.

Sadly, though the manufacturing plant still produces fine thread, it is now only used for medical sutures and fly silk. The production of accurate dyes and for kits has ceased.

Three years ago my work was returned to me, so, all of a sudden, I was inundated with quantities of birds and other worked pieces. This means that I now have a large number of completed studies and need to find an outlet for them.

The proceeds from any sales will be donated to the charity Bloodwise (formerly Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research), which encompasses many blood cancers. I have chosen this charity in memory of my late husband who was always interested in things of an avian nature: as a firm and fair critic, he would often advise “That bird could never fly” or “It would fall off its perch”! Such advice added authenticity and was always accepted gratefully.