Judith Cooper, a new resident of Dunholme having moved from North Greetwell, opened her independent business Lavender Mouse Crafts in 2017 and has been creating characters and pictures in textiles ever since.
“My mum used to make a lot of our clothes” Judith recalls, “my Grandma was still sewing at 101, and my sister is a keen patchwork quilter, so it is sort of in the genes really.”
After sewing all of her life and getting into embroidery, in 2017 Judith recalls having a surplus of lavender plants in her garden, “I wanted to do something with them, so I designed a little mouse that was made out of felt and was filled with my own home dried lavender – that was the first thing I started making with felt and embroidery and that’s where the name came from.”
Judith previously worked at Lincoln Cathedral, but when the pandemic hit, she unfortunately was made redundant. Having been sewing and selling the odd item here and there as a hobby for the last 10 years, Judith was persuaded by family members to finally pursue it fulltime. “For years I was juggling working full time with being creative. There wasn’t a creative outlet in my paid work, and I really enjoyed my job, but it made me realise actually what I really want to do is have my own little business.”
The creations she makes are felt and fabric gifts and accessories, all with a bit of character injected into them. “I am guilty of giving things names!” Judith admits, “If I make something like an animal doorstop or animal head wreaths, they all have to have a name! As I’m sewing them, I give them all a bit of personality and they are all different from each other.”
Alongside her shop, she has also started to run sewing workshops. “I was persuaded by one of my customers to teach” Judith explains, “When living in South Yorkshire my background was working in a high school where I ran extracurricular activities including sewing classes, so I’d taught teenagers before, but I thought I’d give it a go with grownups.” Her first course of four classes was very successful and resulted in her organising a slightly larger second course. This is an element of her business that she hopes to grow as she believes the mindfulness she gains from sewing is something that everyone can benefit from. “Sewing is a way to focus the mind and just take you away from everything, even if it’s not perfect you can get great satisfaction from it. When you hand sew something you stitch it with love – as much as that is a bit of a cliché!”
This love is why Judith would like to encourage anyone who is wanting to buy something unique to give handmade items a go. “I guarantee a mass-produced product won’t have been made with such care. Everything I make has a little bit of me in it, whether they want it or not!” she chuckles. Supporting independent businesses helps real people continue to do what they love, as well as giving you the chance to buy something no-one else will own. Judith also makes sure to keep her items as affordable as possible as it is important to her to ensure anyone can buy something as a gift or treat themselves to something special without costing a fortune.
Judith currently has her autumn collection on sale, which boasts her popular fabric pumpkins as well as autumnal themed wreaths and can be found at the Artisan Fair at Stourton Woods near Baumber on September 18th. There will also be a Christmas themed class in late October where Judith will be teaching how to create handmade and hand embroidered Christmas decorations, so keep an eye on her social media pages for further details.
You can look at Judith’s creations by searching Lavender Mouse Crafts on Facebook or by visiting her Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/LavenderMouseCrafts