Jo Colwill has run Cowslip Workshops in Cornwall for the last 25 years. She is an expert in patchwork and quilting and loves to share her skills with others. Jo has a new book coming out soon, Patchwork Quilts & Gifts, and we thought we find out a bit more about the talented designer and teacher…
Jo would be hard pushed to say which she prefers: horses or patchwork. She has been obsessed with horses all her life and still has a number of horses which she looks after herself in between teaching classes and working on her latest projects. Jo’s love of horses is evident in her designs, like this cushion which appears in Patchwork Quilts & Gifts.
Lots of big ‘names’ in the crafting world travel to teach at Cowslip because of its unique setting and environment. Some travel from far afield including Lynette Anderson who’s based in Australia. Jo recently admitted that there are still a couple of designers on her wish list that she would love to teach at Cowslip: Tone Finnanger, designer of the Tilda range, and Canadian textile artist, Dorothy Caldwell.
Jo’s mother was a dressmaker so she was surrounded by fabric and sewing from a very young age. Before she set up Cowslip Jo worked in interior design and this is where her flair for working with textiles developed, along with a talent for interior styling which is very evident at Cowslip and helps to create it’s unique atmosphere.
Jo’s quilts include lots of applique and Jo is known for her template free applique technique — you can watch a tutorial of her showing this technique here. Her favourite project in her latest book, Patchwork Quilts & Gifts, is the Vintage Bouquet quilt which is all hand appliqued and hand quilted!
Cowslip Workshops is located on a traditional working organic farm and Jo has been very hands on with the running of the farm alongside running her patchwork business. She still helps with the lambing and looking after the animals on site. Her favourite project from her first book, Cushions & Quilts, is the cushion with an appliqued design of Stephen, her husband, on his tractor with his dogs in the field.
6. Scandinavian Style
Jo’s sister lives in Norway and this was the inspiration for the Scandinavian Journey quilt in the book. Jo is very inspired by simple Scandinavian colours and style and their heritage of weaving, stitching and costume and loves to visit Scandinavia for inspiration.
Jo is so busy running Cowslip and writing books that she sometimes struggles to find time to sew during the day. However, she makes time for sewing every night before she goes to sleep because, she says, it relaxes her.
If you love Jo’s work you can find a selection of her patterns and books in our store here.