Shirley graduated from Newcastle with a degree in fashion in 1984, having specialised in silk and lace evening wear. The year before graduating, Shirley made her very first wedding dress – her own!
In 1985, she set up her first wedding dress and evening wear business in Middlesbrough, until a change in family circumstances in 1989, saw her move overseas for 10 years.
After returning to the UK in 2000, Shirley began teaching textiles from her home and in local craft and embroidery shops, before expanding to a larger premises, to facilitate teaching larger groups. She continued her professional development with various textile courses and gained her PGCE teaching qualification and began teaching regularly at Cleveland College of Art and Design and for a small local charity.
In 2015, she took on perhaps her biggest personal challenge yet – designing and making two wedding dresses and several bridesmaids dresses for the wedding of her eldest daughter.
Shirley is passionate about working with silk – whether she’s painting it, stitching it, embroidering it or, her favourite task of all, making wedding dresses from it.
Inspired by colour, nature and travel, as well as the fine fabrics she works with, Shirley’s work is her passion. She’s also inspired by the people she teaches, and strives to create a fun and engaging learning environment for students of all ages.