Home Interviews From primary school teacher to necklace maker – the creative life of Peggy
Meet the Maker, Peggy Peg, thread and rope necklaces

From primary school teacher to necklace maker – the creative life of Peggy

by Camilla

Oh, I wouldn’t say I’m creative for a living. I’m a full-time mum who will probably have to go back to teaching at some point but at the moment it’s nice to make a little bit of money doing something that I love.

When Beth Pegler, aka Peggy, had her fourth child she took a break from her job as a primary school teacher and poured her creativity into making rope and thread necklaces and other hand-crafted delights made from wood and vintage fabrics. Too modest to consider herself a professional maker, Beth cherishes the support she has found among the creative community of Instagram. We talked to Beth about the part the app has played in building her mini creative business, her love of colour and the importance of nurturing creativity in children’s lives and in the school curriculum… 

Can you introduce yourself and describe what you do?
Hi, I’m Beth, mum of four and maker of rope and embroidery thread necklaces, wooden bead necklaces and trivets and anything else that I feel like making. I sell these handmade items in my folksy shop ‘Peggy’ (a nickname).

Meet the Maker, Peggy Peg, thread and rope necklaces

I started selling my work when I was pregnant with my fourth child and knew that I wanted to take a break from being a primary school teacher for a while.

When and how did you start selling your work?
I started selling my work when I was pregnant with my fourth child and knew that I wanted to take a break from being a primary school teacher for a while. I’d always loved making, but attending the brilliant Folksy Summer School in 2013, and actually having some time when I stopped teaching, gave me that push that I needed to open a shop.

Did you have a creative upbringing?
I did. My mum is brilliant at sewing and makes wonderful clothes among other things. I’m always giving her fabric to make dresses for me and the girls. She’s helped me make things since I was young and I remember feeling so proud when I took the first patchwork cushion I’d made into primary school to show. My oldest daughter bought a sewing machine recently and really enjoyed making herself a bag, and all three of my girls love making, so hopefully I’m passing that on down to them. It’s definitely one of our favourite things to do together.

where does inspiration come from, Peggy

Does being creative help when you’re teaching? 
Being creative is hugely important when planning your lessons and motivating all children. If you can present information in an original and creative way, then children will be enthused to learn and much more likely to remember what they’ve learnt. It’s also much more fun for the practitioner to teach in a creative way. The fact that there are no right or wrong answers within creative subjects means that every child can succeed.

I remember feeling so proud when I took the first patchwork cushion I’d made into primary school to show.

Where do you think creativity fit in the curriculum today?
Sadly I’m really worried about creativity in schools. I fear that it’s being squeezed out of the curriculum as the emphasis is being put on regurgitating facts and figures. There are constraints being put on teachers to teach what the government deems important, and assessment by certain criteria also means teachers are scared of being penalised for not following the official guidelines.

Rope jewellery

I worry that creativity is being squeezed out of the curriculum as the emphasis is being put on regurgitating facts and figures.

Who are your design heroes?
I’ve always loved print and pattern. I like the art of Gustav Klimt and the vintage prints of Laura Ashley and Liberty. I also really like the work of Beci Orpin and Elizabeth Dunker of Fine Little Day. I just bought Elizabeth’s book Fine little Day, which is as good as I hoped it would be. Donna Wilson is another designer I really admire.

What else inspires you?
I love the picture books of my childhood, in particular the illustrations of Shirley Hughes. But inspiration can come from all around – childhood memories and craft, colours in nature, vintage finds, a picture in a magazine or an image on Pinterest or Instagram.

Meet the Maker, Peggy Peg, thread and rope necklaces

I love putting together colours that you wouldn’t think would work and then seeing that they do.

I love your colour palette. How important is colour in your work?
Thank you. Colour is very important. I love the way different colours work together. I love putting together colours that you wouldn’t think would work and then seeing that they do.

How do you start a piece?
I usually have a picture in my head of something I want to make or I might spend some time trying out different ideas with the rope and thread. Then I’ll get out my basket of embroidery threads and choose which colours I want to use. It’s always a necklace that I want to wear myself or something I want to make for the children or the house.

Meet the Maker, Peggy Peg, thread and rope necklaces

I usually have a picture in my head of something I want to make… then I’ll get out my basket of embroidery threads and choose which colours I want to use.

Can you describe your workspace?
My workspace is the kitchen table and the sofa in the evening when the kids are all in bed. I tend to have a lot of baskets full of different projects that I move around the house. I do have a sewing machine on the landing in the attic but at the moment I can’t find the time to use it!

Peggy Peg

My workspace is the kitchen table and the sofa in the evening when the kids are all in bed.

What’s your favourite part of the making process?
I love choosing the colours that I’m going to use when I’m making my thread and rope necklaces. I also like it when you have an idea of something that you really want to make and you carry that idea around in your head until you find the time to sit down and start on it. But then again listing a finished piece in your shop feels pretty good too.

What’s the best thing about being creative for a living?
Oh, I wouldn’t say I’m creative for a living. I’m a full-time mum who will probably have to go back to teaching at some point but at the moment it’s nice to make a little bit of money doing something that I love, that’s relaxing, flexible, fits in with the kids and that I have complete control over.

Packaging jewellery, Peggy Peg, interview

I still have moments of doubt about my work, but when someone leaves positive feedback, it’s a really great feeling.

What would you say to someone thinking about selling their work?
Just go for it, you never know until you give it a try and you can learn and develop as you go along. I still have moments of doubt about my work, but when someone leaves positive feedback or posts a picture of themselves wearing or using something that you have made, it’s a really great feeling.

What does craft mean to you?
Making something yourself. It should be relaxing, enjoyable and an expression of you.

Meet the Maker, Peggy Peg, thread and rope necklaces

My oldest daughter bought a sewing machine recently and really enjoyed making herself a bag, and all three of my girls love making, so hopefully I’m passing that on down to them.

How does it feel to be part of the UK craft scene?
I’ve never really thought of it like that. Because my son is still young and family life is pretty busy, I’ve haven’t done any craft fairs yet so I haven’t met many other makers in person, but I have met some wonderfully creative people through Instagram. The creative community on that app is so positive, supportive and encouraging of each other. I also love doing craft swaps with other makers and always feel really honoured when someone suggests a swap.

How would you spend your perfect day?
It would involve good food – a big slow breakfast and some baking – but also getting outdoors somewhere with my lovely lot to somewhere with good weather and big skies. Oh and a little time to look around the charity shops and drink a coffee. And then maybe a little craft in the evening.

autumn rope and thread necklace, peggy peg, beth pegler

 

 

See more of Beth’s beautiful work in her Folksy shop Peggy 

To celebrate being a featured maker, Beth is treating you to 20% off everything in her Folksy shop with the code MAKER20. Only valid for a limited time. 

Follow Beth on Instagram for more behind-the-scenes snaps

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1 comment

Nice Things: October 2015 October 4, 2015 - 12:01 am

[…] This Folksy interview with Peggy, maker of beautiful necklaces, really struck a chord with me. Many chords in fact. One thing I definitely agree with is her point on creativity and the schooling system. What do you think? […]

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