Well It's been the first month! It's been a hugely exciting time and I'm so grateful to everyone who's come in, booked a course, bought something and given me tips and advice! I've been overwhelmed at the kindness of everyone and you all have my gratitude.
I thought I'd write in my first post why I began Freya Jones Spinning and Fibrecraft. When I was a very little girl - probably about 5 or 6 I decided I wanted a shop. I set up on the path to my house a cardboard box with a table cloth and priced up all the toys I didn't want anymore and sat there for several hours waiting for my first customer. They didn't come obviously! But even then I knew what I wanted to do in my life.
Fast forward to when I was 15, I was doing my GSCE's at school and was just desperate to work. I knew I had yet to gain any qualifications and had no job experience so I got myself 2 volunteering jobs, working in the local National trust property serving tea and selling second hand books and helping out at a school for children with severe learning difficulties. When I completed this I had my eyes firmly set on H Samuel - sparkly jewels had a great appeal to me for some reason! I was delighted when I got the job a week after my 16th birthday and thus started my journey through retail.
Running concurrently with my retail work I found a huge passion for crafts. I started making and selling dichroic glass jewellery when I was 16 through the Obsidian Art gallery and local jewellers. Trisha at Obsidian even wrote my reference to university, I owe her a great deal. I did my degree in Glass and Ceramics but focused on glass fusing and blowing. I was fascinated by the incredible history and the fact that fundamentally the craft is unchanged, the equipment may be more reliable but I was doing the same process that the Romans invented for glass blowing and the Ancient Egyptians invented for fusing.
Then I got very ill. I had been diagnosed with M.E at 12 but they believe it happened somewhere around 8. I went completely numb down one side and had to see a neurologist. After a horrible MRI scan they found that I had a hole in my brain on my hypothalamus and there was nothing that could be done. By this stage I was completely bed ridden. When faced with something like this at 22 it's very shocking and upsetting, but after lots and lots of crying and feeling very low I eventually worked out that really there are two options, 1: collapse and give up and 2: Find a way to make it ok, even in a small way. I did the first option for ages and then came around to the idea of two which is incredibly difficult when you're in pain all the time and feel pants all day, but after all is said and done that becomes the only option.
By this stage I had met the wonderful Vinny, the absolute love of my life and the kindest man I've ever met. We decided to get married and I wanted to knit all my wedding favours - the only problem was I couldn't knit! So I got myself some needles and yarn and taught myself. "this is great!" I thought and as my mobility was improving I wanted to get out the house and start socialising again. So I joined a knit and knatter group, it just happened to be the Bucks Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers. When I saw them spinning on the wheels I was hooked. I convinced my family that I needed a wheel and everyone put together for my birthday. Hurrah!
I then embarked on learning everything I could about spinning, the history, the techniques, the possibilities were endless. To be able to produce such beautiful items with such lovely soft materials is second to none. There is nothing like spinning for it's therapeutic appeal, low impact on the joints and the immediateness of producing beautiful yarn. I hate to say that anything can cure M.E, It's a really horrible debilitating illness, and I was lucky that I had such amazing emotional and physical support from my family, but spinning changed my life. For the first time in a long time I was enjoying things, I could take joy in the colours and textures, the creativity fuelled my brain, the history invigorated me, talking to like minded people helped me more than I can say and I became myself again. It's so calming and de-stressing, when you feel naff, grab a pretty colour and focus on the rotating wheel, ignore the outside world and just spin. Heaven.
Slowly I started to get better, then it gained momentum and it seemed I quickly got better. I had a burning desire to do what I had wanted to do forever, life is short and i'd already lost so much time being ill.
Ok, so I love spinning and weaving but where can I buy my materials? Lots of places on the internet, sure but I want to FEEL the fibre, touch it, squidge it, see the real colours and there was nowhere local for me to do that. So I thought I'd do it myself! I searched for a unit for a long time, never seeing a shop that really was right. Then on my second wedding anniversary I drove past the site of the Bucks Goat Centre, the very place I loved as a child and the site of Obsidian Art Gallery, the place that spring boarded me into crafts. And there was a unit for rent! I contacted the landlord immediately and met him outside the unit. peering through the door I saw a shell that needed a lot of work but a wood burning stove and wood beams! It was the one.
I then set about turning it into a welcoming environment that would be light and airy, fused traditional and modern and altogether a bit quirky. Freya Jones was born. This was my dream come true and not just anywhere but the very place that I had such a strong connection to!
So one month in and I still can't believe it, I'm the luckiest woman alive and I look forward to a fantastic life doing all the things I love most. So now you know the story of Freya Jones, the shop and the woman.
Freya Jones x