Lesley and her many creations at a previous Collective Art in Marlow event

Today we would like to introduce the face behind Country Girl Corner - Lesley De Matos

Introduce yourself  Hi, I’m Lesley, and am married to my song writing husband, and we have a lovely daughter Lucia who is almost 17 (and asking for a car already!)  I’m originally from Belfast, and my Husband’s family are Portuguese so we have two  great places to go for our holidays! I was taught to sew by my Mum, and crochet by my Granny, design by my Dad and although I  was never formally taught, I like to have a go, and if I see something I like, I’ll come home and ‘make one’.

I work full time as a project manager in a media company in West London, but still manage to make time for my creative obsession of Country Girl Corner which I find relaxing and totally absorbing.  I started Country Girl Corner a few years ago when I had been making gifts for my daughter, my friends and their friends and I decided to do a few local Christmas Shows to see if other people would like my ideas.

Describe your style? I mainly work with natural linen and hand selected cottons, I love finding vintage fabrics which I can incorporate into my work, and am a regular at the local car boot sales rummaging for fabric and other ‘useful things’.  I make things that I like, and hope that other people like them too.

Tell us about your work space? My work room is the conservatory in the house (and I have associated things in the shed, and the garage, and tucked around the house in every corner), my room is freezing in winter, boiling hot in summer, dark at night, and generally a bit of a mess, although I know where everything is, and hate when I do a tidy up, because I can never find anything..

What inspires you? Sometimes I get some new fabric and the fabric suggests a new design, sometimes I see a design of something and think it could be improved upon, for instance, my lavender and wheat bags, I used to have one of these but it was an ugly fleece thing which was sewn around all sides so you couldn't get the cover off to wash, so I gave it the Country Girl Corner treatment, made a calico bag inner for the lavender and wheat, and then made a cover using pretty cotton fabric which is removable and can be washed.  Much more attractive and much more user friendly.  These are very popular presents at Christmas as they are easy to heat up in the microwave, and are useful, practical and nice and warm.

Sometimes I just make things because they’re cute:  I make small mohair teddy bears, and put them in a distressed box with a knitted blanket and a little quilt, oh yes, and they have their own little bear and when you put them away, it’s like you’re putting them to bed and tucking them in……….

How and when did you get involved with the Collective Art I Marlow?  I was invited to join the Collective Art in Marlow last year when some of the other girls had seen my work and thought I would ‘fit in’.  I was very honoured to be asked and the show was great fun, the room looks beautiful and there is a lovely atmosphere and everyone takes their time and has time for a chat.  There is a good age range of the people who come along, and the ‘make and do’ area for the children is fabulous, lots of noise, and banging, and tongues being stuck out of the sides of young months with the concentration, it’s great to see and the gifts they make are really good ‘keepers’ which can become family treasures.

Apart from playing with fabric, do you have any other creative interests?  I am currently putting all my patterns together in a book, so watch this space, there may be a book available at some point next year which I am very excited about.  I’m also a keen silversmith and enjoy time in the workshop making jewellery, and I also enjoy struggling with crochet amigumuri toys.

Tell us about where else we can see your work? I am going to be doing a few shows in the area on the run up to Christmas including the Windsor Emporium, the Cookham Dean Village Hall (run by the Craft Coop) and the Christmas fair at Norden Farm in Maidenhead and I have lots of exciting new products, so do come and say hello!

You can also find my work on my website www.countrygirlcorner.co.uk

As a bit of fun, we also asked Lesley the following questions:

Favourite film:  The Quiet Man
Pets:  We have a blue staffy called ‘Blue’ who is a lovely friendly boy who comes to say good night to us all at 9.30 each night and then takes himself off to bed!
Favourite place to be:  Home
Person I'd most like to invite to dinner: All the family for a long afternoon lunch
Random fact about me: Looking at the ‘smile’ on my Beetle puts me in a good mood

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