Local Textile Artist Who Found A New Path – Shining Dragonfly

Sudbrooke resident Cheryl Baxter is the owner of Shining Dragonfly; an independent business selling original textile art created using the processes of applique and free motion embroidery.

Cheryl decided to start her business in 2017 after twenty years as a secondary school geography teacher working in a variety of roles in schools. She left teaching as she wanted a different lifestyle that fitted better around family life as a mum of two.

Her logo depicts a dragonfly flying across a new dawn, representing her new path in life. It can be daunting starting again after spending so long in a profession, but Cheryl is proof that there are always new opportunities to explore.

“I wanted more of a work-life balance with my family” Cheryl recalls, “I also wanted to do something more creative again and I’ve always had a fascination with sewing machines and textiles, so whilst learning new skills in a local textile group I just fell in love with free motion embroidery.”

The first piece of art Cheryl created was a robin, and soon after she was hooked. “I immediately began drawing my own designs and experimenting – it started with birds and then developed into flowers and pieces inspired by nature.”

“When I studied A Level Art, I always loved Rousseau and his jungles; being an ex-geography teacher that style links the two! My art uses very bold colours and shapes with a bit of quirkiness, all inspired by the beauty of the natural world.”

Cheryl creates all her pieces by hand and no two are the same. Smaller pieces can take a few hours to complete, while larger pieces can take up to a couple of days, meaning each piece really is a labour of love. “People think I’ve got a computerised machine and I press a button and it makes it, but that’s not how it works I’m afraid!” she chuckles. “It is all me and each piece is made with locally sourced materials and has had a lot of care and attention put into it.”

Cheryl values relationships with people and enjoys chatting to everyone at craft fairs and events. She wants to make something original, real and authentic that people have an emotional connection to.

Wanting to utilise her teaching background and the skills she has gained from two decades of working in education, Cheryl hopes 2023 will be the year to start running workshops for people who already own a sewing machine and have a basic understanding of using it but who are interested in learning free motion embroidery.

“This year I also want to focus on making more large statement pieces, so I’m reducing my smaller ones to focus on making something that has a real impact in a room” says Cheryl. If you would like to have a look at Cheryl’s pieces, contact her regarding private commissions, or keep an eye on where she will be bringing her pop-up stall, you can find her at www.shiningdragonfly.com or on Facebook and Instagram by searching Shining Dragonfly.