Inspirational textiles fashioned in Barnsley

PUBLISHED: 11:37 15 November 2011 | UPDATED: 20:17 20 February 2013

Barnsley businesswoman Jill Govier has the textile market all sewn up

Barnsley businesswoman Jill Govier has the textile market all sewn up

A fledgling Barnsley businesswoman takes a life-changing leap of faith

Jill Govier is no stranger to risk-taking. After three years teaching in a remote industrial settlement in the barren Australian outback, launching her own business was a walk in the park.

Now aged 50, she left school at 16 with no qualifications and few prospects. She landed a job in a sewing factory, where she stayed for the next 20 years.

Two decades and two children later, she packed it in to gain qualifications in maths and English, followed by an arts degree and teaching certificate.

She taught art at Priory School in Lundwood on the outskirts of Barnsley for four years before setting out to travel the world. She crossed America, called in at Fiji, Malaysia and Thailand and then landed another teaching position in Karratha, Australia, 1,500 miles from Perth and a five-hour drive from anywhere.

To while away the lonely nights, she got her hands on an old sewing machine and started to get creative a decision that has led to her latest leap of faith.

Jill launched JayGo Touchy Feely Textiles on her return to Honeywell, with the help of business support programme Enterprising Barnsley in South Yorkshire.

She uses recycled clothing, vintage bedding, old jumpers picked up at jumble sales and new textiles to create personalised craft work ranging from purses and key rings to cushions and handbags.

Each item includes a quotation, ranging from lyrics from a favourite pop song to words of wisdom from a film or famous person.

I find if I take a quote out of the context it was used in originally it adds a different slant to it, said Jill. For example, when I put May The Force Be With You on a girly pink cushion with love hearts and sparkly buttons it becomes more Girl Power than Star Wars and people do see the fun in it.

Genesis, a part of Enterprising Barnsley specifically designed to help new businesses and create new jobs, gave her free advice and coaching to launch her new venture.

It has been invaluable, said Jill. Its given me the confidence to get going because I know the people advising and encouraging me are professionals who know exactly what theyre doing.

My business is a combination of years of experience on sewing machines and my love of art and words. My spare bedroom now looks like a miniature sewing factory with fabrics all over the place, But Ive never been happier.

Her creations, which feature freehand machine embroidery, are now being sold at craft fairs and via her Facebook page. She also runs workshops at The Civic in Barnsley to pass on her creative passion to others.

The print version of this article appeared in the November 2011 issue of Yorkshire Life

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