Former Shrewsbury College student turns creative entrepreneur and sees her business boom
A former Shrewsbury College student and mum of three has turned creative entrepreneur and is stitching her way to success.
Leone Porton, 41, from Greenfields, Shrewsbury, attended Shrewsbury College from September 2006 to July 2007 to study a Level 3 BTEC Visual Arts course. Leone set up her own business, My Art and Soul, two years ago, making whimsical and unique craft gifts for all occasions.
“Being a stay-at-home mum I wanted to wait until all three of my children were in full-time education before I started to think about what I wanted to do,” Leone explained.
“I had studied Art and Design at A Level and it was, and is, a subject I’m passionate about.
“As I had been out of the world of paid employment since having children I felt I wanted to do something that would get me out and about, meeting people who shared the same interests whilst gaining experience and a qualification, and perhaps most importantly, something just for me!
“I joined a one year part-time course in Visual Arts, which was extremely interesting and gave me a taste of different disciplines and techniques. I came away from it having gained confidence in my work and abilities as an artist and the skills to approach projects from a different angle and really push and challenge myself.”
Leone makes a variety of creations from lavender filled embroidered hearts to cards and soft toys to baby’s quilts.
“I love to experiment with different mediums and create new items. I have developed a unique little toy which is currently my best seller - a mini worry rabbit which comes in a fabric covered matchbox,” she said.
Leone sells her home-made craft items via Etsy, an online marketplace for small business and takes custom orders from all over the world.
“I have had commissions from Spain, New Zealand and most recently from Hawaii, for 70 tiny needle felted rabbits in cheerleading team colours. My work seems to be very popular in the USA.
“Closer to home I have made 150 Guardsman key rings for a Grenadier Guard Fundraising event in London, produced a series of five ink paintings for a Michelin starred restaurant in Oxfordshire, created a ‘Happy child’ mascot for a local primary school and created 100 ‘Peggy Pig’ toys to accompany a book about the Wenlock Games written by local author, Jocelyne Adams.
“I’ve been trading as My Art and Soul for 2 years now and I hope to reach a stage where I can get my own studio to work from and maybe even a little shop. The BTEC I did proved invaluable in the journey to setting up my business as it reignited my passion in art, gave me confidence in myself and my work.”
For more information about My Art and Soul please visit www.etsy.com/shop/MyArtandSoulUK or find her on Facebook: myartandsoul and Twitter: @MyArtandSoul4U
For more information about Art courses at Shrewsbury College please call 01743 342333