The Ailist – What it is really like to be a Designer Maker? Part Two

Ailish Henderson shares her view on the world of embroidery - it's the Ailist!

What it is really like to be a Designer Maker? Part Two

So last month I let you in on a few details about my own practice.  Moving away from my own work and onto someone else, I got a chance to catch up with Jessie Chorley.  She has certainly been successful, currently running her own shop in London, a true designer maker with the ability to be a full time artist.  She also often holds workshops.  I have a few friends who have met her and enjoyed her classes.  One of my friends was bought a place on one of her workshops as a gift….now there is an idea for you all!
So, lets learn a bit more about Jessie….
designer maker jessie
What are the key drivers for your work and how do you keep your practice on track?
” Small is beautiful” Always keeping things hand made.
Do you ever work in connection or collaboration with others?
I have dun over the years I  produced a large collection of my hand made books for the USA store Anthrpologie back in 2014 I have also designed several  ranges for the design publishing house Roger La Borde. But both with my name on something that was very popular for me.
What have been the biggest successes achieved through your own self-promotion of your work?
Purchasing my first tiny flat in East London in 2016 something I am very proud of doing solo and also Keeping my little shop afloat for 12 years on Columbia Rd also solo.
Jessie has managed to keep her own shop going on her own.
What have been the biggest challenges of self-promotion?
Being just me as an artist and constantly thinking should I grown bigger as a brand or should I keep smaller and hand made. The hand made always wins. My hand made work is at the heart of my life as an artist. And I think because I am so passionate about this it has given my brand “Jessie Chorley”huge respect. But keeping smaller is  also a challenge as you have to choose and juggle several things at once. The ease of a simple hand made web site and Instagram have always been my choice as I can manage them myself. Something I have always dun kept the editing in house… But time is always the biggest challenge!
What platforms or ways have been most helpful to promote your work?
Instagram and private web site I have always had my web site as a main platform for my work/life as an artist. I have also in the early years dun many fairs and markets. These are powerful and fun! and your overheads are low and you can gain loyal customers.  Many of mine are still with me today.
Workshops and kits are available to arrange.
What are the most unexpected things to have occurred in your work or practice and why were they unexpected?
The huge and current passion for craft and DIY making especially embroidery. This has opened my style and the passion and desire for my style of embroidery up. Thus my DIY kits have become incredibly popular over the last five years with a huge demand for them worldwide. When I started my business in 2005 this was not the case.
Any thoughts on the future?

Keep making with embroidering, stitch and print at the heart and forefront of my work. To have a solo exhibition of more personal work outside my shop and to continue to travel worldwide with my workshops. Plus keep stocking and refreshing and creating kits and DIY projects for my online shop which can be found via

Close up detail of her work.

So there we go…another insight into a designer maker!

I am hoping myself to get my work Professionally photographed soon, so there will be an update on that in a future Ailist!

Jessie has also managed to publish her own book.  We will be reviewing it very soon!

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