In 2014, my father, Nigel started a woodwork business making benches, bird boxes and other traditional products. I helped him pick the 'Handmade in Rossendale' name and posted a few of his products on social media for him. He worked quite closely with a shop in Haslingden called Room Deardengate, supplying them with products to sell. Room Deardengate the changed from a shop to a Gin Bar, dad helped make furniture and fixtures to set the bar up but then lost his main customer. He decided to scale back and eventually he stopped making.
At this time I was training and competing at an international level in wheelchair athletics. In 2016 I set out to become the first person to push themselves in a manual wheelchair from Lands End to John O'Groats. I f you'd like to read about my world record attempt you can do so here in my blog. Be warned the blog isnt the most PC read!
After completing Land's End To John O'Groats I lost my job and struggled to find another - I applied for well over 300 jobs and was only invited to one interview..... which was in an upstairs office, not ideal for a wheelcair user. I wasn't willing to sit at home doing nothing so I started crafting. At first I gave my makes away and then I started to sell my items to cover my costs. This was the beginnings of my little business. At a similar time I heard through the grapevine that Rawtenstall Market was going through a revamp under the formidable Jane Boys. Within a few days I took my mum down to the market for a brew and a scone to see what it was like, the entire time we were in the market hall only two other customers popped in. "Great!" I thought! If its such a ghost town the rents must be cheap! I quickly arranged a meeting with Jane and within two weeks my stall was open and I've been trading at Rawtenstall Market ever since. I'm the last remaining stall from the first group of traders attracted to the market by Jane Boys and I'm immensely proud of the bustling little community hub the market has become!
I'm totally in love with The North and our rich social history, this is why the vast majority of my art depicts working class street scenes, textile mills and flat caps! My woodwork almost always involves recycled and waste materials, I use traditional skills to produce new and exciting pieces to fit into any home.
In 2021 I was asked to work on The Repair Shop spin-off Jays Yorkshire Workshop which aired on BBC 2. I was involved in all six episodes, making beautiful wooden creations for deserving members of the community.