Jessie Chorley is a London-based textile artist, specialising in contemporary illustrative embroidery and simple patching techniques. Born in Kent in1980, she spent her childhood in North Wales. The traditional technical skills and hands-on approach that she celebrates in her work today were passed down to her from her own family of makers.
While still a student – studying for the BA in Fine Art Textile Practice at Goldsmiths College, London – she chose to dedicate her life to making beautiful things and, shortly after graduating, she set up her own business as a full-time artist, designer and maker. Over time she has also become a tutor, social artist and author as well as running a shop/studio selling her work in East London from 2007 to 2021.
Jessie now runs her business from her private South London studio. She regularly delivers masterclasses from there, as well as at venues worldwide.
Describe your approach to teaching.
My approach to teaching is very much inspired and deeply rooted in my overall approach to making my own artwork. I teach like-minded others with a structured but also a very free-style approach. This makes my workshops suitable for all abilities. My workshops are often themed on the day and are based around a beautiful hand crafter kit, that I personally create for each student. As a collector of fabric and objects these kits represent my passion for collecting, and love of fabric.
What inspires your own work?
All my work revolves around story-telling, inspired by events from my life, which I then embellish with make-believe based on folklore. My work divides into two parts – large and densely-stitched embroidery panels, alongside smaller objects, including wearable items and altered books. My useable items draw on a handicraft tradition of making mementos, such as the hand-illustrated metal tokens that were traditionally shared amongst family as a way of marking significant events –the arrival or departure of life, or the occasion of a loved one embarking on a long journey are examples.