There is something that my husband will never fully understand: my reasons for having two throws and four cushions on our bed that must be carefully removed every night and replaced with precision accuracy each morning. Now, a well-made bed he can handle, but soft furnishings are a challenge! Full credit to him, he gainfully took the lead in making all the Roman blinds for our home and tolerates my obsession with cushions, throws and lampshades. If only we had the knowhow to tackle more…🤔
CraftCourses maker Jacqueline Schultz, founder of JSInteriorsUK, very kindly gave us the benefit of her experience in teaching her magical skills to her lucky students and we are sure you'll enjoy learning more about her creative journey. I need a bit of that wizardry in my life!
I was taught embroidery from a very early age by my Grandmother Monica Hennessy and have always had a weakness for all things small and furry. My first bear was given to me as a christening present by my Godmother and I started collecting bears and then making my own bears since I was a teenager. Embroidery has remained a passion and when doing my teaching degree, I specialised in Art. My final art exhibition was all about traditional embroidery. Exhibits ranged from silk shading, Jacobean crewelwork, goldwork and sometimes a mixture of all the above. I was teaching professional soft furnishings for a few years before hearing the word Covid, however it was lockdown that gave me the opportunity to spend time dusting off the cobwebs from my embroidery and bear making materials.
I have always been obsessed by textiles and trimmings and I have to admit I often buy a piece of fabric, antique lace or trim without any idea of their immediate use or any agenda other than I find them beautiful. Living as an expat in many locations around the world, I’ve spent years making hand stitched curtains, blinds, traditional soft lampshades and other soft furnishings for my homes. I was originally taught soft furnishing by my mother who was very old school and had great attention to detail. When I returned to the UK, having spent many years teaching children in International Schools, I decided to retrain as an interior designer, specialising in professional soft furnishings, and began creating beautiful homes for other people. To ensure individual attention to detail and products of the highest quality, I worked with only a small number of clients at any one time. To keep things high end and totally bespoke, I oversaw all aspects of a room scheme including styling, sourcing fabrics and trimmings, designing and creating.
Q2. What can you tell us about your workshop space?
Last year we moved to our fixer upper home Beckus, in the idyllic village of Ebberston, just North of York. My workroom is in what used to be the old kitchen and boasts a huge Yorkshire range and fabulous view over the garden. Although we don’t cook on the range anymore, it is sometimes lit in the midwinter! This is where I teach soft furnishing and lampshade workshops at Beckus, and also work on occasional services and commissions for a select number of clients.
I am also lucky to have a study as an additional workspace. My study is packed with books, teddies, fabrics, embroidery threads/wools and all sorts of other haberdashery/embroidery paraphernalia. The study is where I do most of my admin and escape into my creative bubble when I’m designing.
Q3. What do students learn on your courses?
JSInteriorsUK workshops are based in my workroom in Ebberston. Here I create, facilitate and teach 1-2-1 and small groups of likeminded people the techniques, skills and stitches involved in making hand stitched curtains, Roman blinds, scatter cushions and traditional handmade lampshades. There are levels to each soft furnishing technique and students often return to build and expand on existing skills.
Students may start learning the basic principles of classic Roman blinds and then come back to explore trimming styles and/or integral returns. Or maybe begin refreshing the techniques of handmade curtains, and then come on another workshop to explore design options for an array of scatter cushions. I have 3 different workshops aimed at scatter cushions, including 3 designs that don’t require a zip.
Lampshades are very popular. Students may first want to learn how to make the popular gathered/pleated lampshade and then return to explore the oodles of different design options and techniques used for handmade traditional tailored lampshades. The only limitation is your imagination and there is something exhilarating about a creative escape away, that completely refreshes the soul.
On a day-to-day basis, there is just me. All sole traders know, you need to wear an abundance of hats. So, I wouldn’t be where I am today without the talent and ongoing support of my family. My daughter Karina, who has never really been interested in soft furnishings, became my soft furnishings student buddy when I first started creating the workshops. Karina came to every one of my initial workshop trials. Tech is not my forte and I owe my somewhat savvy tech appearance largely to my son Felix, my go-to tech Guru. And… my gorgeous husband, Joerg, bless his heart, continues to be my ongoing, suffering, informal accountant. Paperwork is also not my forte and he always manages to sort it out. Then there are the furrier members of the team...
Q5. Describe a typical month as a maker
Each month is completely unique. There is no set plan as my work depends on the commissions that come in, which are embedded into scheduled small group workshops, 1-2-1 workshops by special arrangement, and admin.
When I get the time, I’m busy designing. Most of my recent creations have been crewelwork embroidery as I have just launched a series of crewelwork workshops in partnership with Dutton for Buttons in York and Ilkley. There will be 3 levels in this series of workshops so that students are able to build on stitch skills, techniques and materials.
Founded in 1906, Duttons for Buttons are yet another of CraftCourses' valued makers and are a family firm with shops in York and Harrogate. They specialise in haberdashery and needlecraft materials and workshops, with an international reputation for stocking 10,000+ different button designs. Their classes are held in a beautiful beamed room at the top of their medieval building in York and in the Yorkshire town of Ilkley in a converted Victorian double-fronted shop. They are taught by practising designers and makers with considerable expertise in (and passion for) their respective crafts, and considerable teaching experience.
Q6. Do you still craft in your spare time?
Absolutely! I believe that it’s very important to keep time for yourself to be creative and continue your own lifelong learning journey. Currently I am upping my embroidery techniques with the Royal School of Needlework and working on Goldwork designs. Of all the embroidery disciplines, Goldwork remains closest to my heart as I was taught as a very young child by my beloved Grandmother. Nana also studied with the Royal School of Needlework many, many years ago. Nana was a master of many forms of embroidery, however as a vicar’s wife she became especially practiced and developed a particular passion for Goldwork.
Q7. What other craft/s do you love apart from those that you teach?
Often what I craft I end up teaching. During lockdown I had to take a break from JSInteriorsUK, both services and workshops. I was able to indulge myself in crafting just for fun and started making bears again. Before I knew it Jacqueline’s Bears and Milo was born. Milo was my first bear making kit. We use 100% Stieff Ratinee mohair. Only the best for Jacqueline’s Bears! Ratinee is a multi-directional mohair making it ideal for beginner bear makers.
I have been running Bear making workshops with Duttons for Buttons in Ilkley and York over the past few years. We are now in the process of designing more bears for workshops. Our intermediate bears are Tilly and Roxy. If you have already been to one of our beginner bears making workshops you are very welcome to come along for another bear making experience. Just let me know whether you would like to make Tilly or Roxy.
Q8. Who or what is your biggest source of inspiration professionally?
I would have to say that one of my biggest sources of inspiration is my students and the questions they generate. One workshop idea spring boards to the next, based often not only on the things that students want to learn, but also the way that learning works for them. When you are the teacher/facilitator, it’s very humbling and rewarding to step back into the shoes of the learner.
Another source of inspiration is my garden. Not just the flowers and foliage offering oodles of ideas for colour and shape, but the opportunity working in the garden gives me to catch my breath and think. Often my best ideas evolve as I’m weeding, repotting and planting.
Q9. What advice would you give to other people looking to teach their art?
Go for it! Practise with your family and friends first. It’s amazing how many people you already know will want to learn what you can teach them. Practising with people you know will be a comfort zone and give you the opportunity to explore materials, timings and other dynamics … also build your confidence.
Q10. Tell us about a memorable moment on one of your courses
This is a difficult one to answer and I would have to honestly say that no one incident springs to mind, there have been so many, and continue to be memorable moments.
I do remember one lady turning up to a 1-2-1 workshop which was booked for Traditional Tailored Lampshades but what she really wanted to learn was various ways of incorporating zips into purses which was loads of fun.
There’s lots of laughter at my workshops which I take as a compliment as it means folks are relaxed and having a good time. Often workshop participants leave having exchanged contact details with each other and book onto another workshop knowing that they will meet again. This is very much the case with Duttons for Buttons workshops. Likeminded people being creative and building on techniques and skills together, a real sense of community. Thank you Jacqueline for this wonderful insight into your life and work. What a truly talented maker you are! We wish you every success with your workshops and look forward to the year ahead with you in the CraftCourses community.