I am so thrilled to be part of the UKQU website as a blogger. Juliet and her team have been working really hard and prepared for us wonderful source of inspiration, advice and resources and I’ll do my best to contribute some interesting articles.

My name is Vendulka Battais and I started sewing as a young girl while I still lived in the Czech Republic. With my mum trained as a milliner and my older sister tailoress fabrics filled many cupboards in our house and we wore homemade clothes because we loved having something different and unique.  I always admired people whose hobby became their living and so when I moved to the UK in 2005 while working as a waitress I was on the quest to find my Hobby. After some piano lessons and upholstery and millinery classes I was introduced to patchwork, enrolled for Beginner Patchwork class and suddenly I knew what I want to do in the future.

My first quilt

Fast forward 3 years, several quilts later and with our daughter about to turn one, my partner and I had the craziest idea to open a Patchwork shop on the Isle of Wight where we lived at that time. We called it OliVen – as a combination of our names – Olivier and Vendulka. Honestly, I don’t know what were we thinking?!? We had no idea what calico is or that there is such a thing as the Quilter’s Guild. On the top of it, I started to teach in the shop – sometimes I was just a step ahead of my students, but they were happy, kept coming back and were very encouraging and so I kept going and learning myself.

My first quilt winning Traditional Patchwork Award at Sandown National Quilt Show in 2013

The shop is now nearly seven years old and we’ll be soon celebrating 3 years since we moved it to rural Suffolk. I have learned so much in those seven years, won several prizes with my quilts and am about to self-publish my first book with my own designs of projects with Cathedral windows. If you told me that all those years ago I wouldn’t believe you! It’s been amazing journey – challenging at times, but well worth it!

My very favourite quilted Pumpkin in Silk 

Creatively I feel as though I have done my share of squares and triangles and in the last couple of years I have moved towards textile art. My creations will probably inspire those more creative, who are not afraid to combine fabric and paint and other surface design techniques.

I love to use messages in my textile art work

I share my Journey with OliVen on my own blog with the same name but here on UKQU I decided to combine writing about my artful creations with a bit of something I call Sewing Therapy. After nearly 7 years of teaching, I noticed a lot of people don’t enjoy sewing because of their self-doubt, inner critic, setting too high standards etc. I feel as a tutor it’s as important to teach a certain technique as it is to encourage and support morally my dear ladies and that’s what I’d like to try to do here.

Hope you will enjoy

Thank you for reading