I can’t remember a time when I did not create. My Mum still has a Father Christmas made out of a toilet roll tube that I made as a small child. Many years on this still takes pride on top of her Christmas tree!

I am very eclectic and I have experimented and enjoyed a whole host of different techniques and crafts. For several years when my children were small I made wooden toys and educational equipment. Orders came in and I had a small but successful business until I decided that this was proving a distraction from home educating my children. This period of my life gave me good excuse to create. Paper mache landscapes, making costumes for historical recreations and handmade books were just a few of the things we enjoyed.

My daughter has a passion for sewing and makes many clothes for herself and her daughters. I still enjoy working with textiles but my main passion remains with handmade books and journals. I also love photography and books are the perfect way to show these. I have baskets full, stories that capture moments of our lives, birthdays, birth, holidays, and simple pleasures. For years I made books as gifts for other people, then I realised I have few of my own and the tabled turned. Now I mainly make books and journals for my own keeping, and I love experimenting with different construction and materials.

I also love teaching and sharing what I do, evident by home educating my own children and the fact neither of them ever went to school. I occasionally run creative classes and get a huge amount of satisfaction and enjoyment seeing what other people make from my ideas. It is an exchange where I get back as much as I give, and I am hoping to develop this part of my life more in future. I have been invited to run classes by two friends who run regular groups, and recently I had my first stand at a local Book Art Fair. This was very exciting and I buzz when I am among creativity.

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1. What was the inspiration behind the postcards you created for the “heART exchange”? 

My inspiration was a journal I was making at the time. It is based on sewing and it has pockets and pages for making notes and sketches. I was surrounded by sewing related stamps and papers and it flowed onto the postcards that I made. A

piece of fabric gave a base for me to work on and the yellow tape gave a punch of added colour. I used similar materials but different design for each of the 3 postcards.

2. What other creative activities do you love to take part in on a regular basis?

My passion is creating handmade journals and books. I love experimenting with new designs and to take an idea and let it evolve. I have learnt to make notes or take photos as I work so that I can recreate the design again if I like it. Most of my books and journals are one-of-a-kind.

3. What do you think is the most satisfying part of creating what you create?

Seeing something develop from an idea. Also, I love to share what I do and watching other people in a class create their own book or journal from my idea is hugely satisfying and exciting. Each book is unique and personal and I love to see how some people adapt an idea and make it their own. The exchange of ideas is also what I love.

4. What do you think it is about creating something that can make a difference in someones life?

Creating something can be a profound experience.

It can be liberating, especially when an idea takes shape and takes on a life of its own, gathering momentum as though it has waited for this opportunity to be released.

Sometimes I suggest creativity to others as a way of reducing anxiety or unwinding. I once introduced Zentangle as a mindfulness exercise and the person went on to develop this into their own unique style and to sell handmade cards of the images. This gave a huge boost of confidence and sense of achievement and I know this was a transforming experience for the person concerned. And I know I am also transformed. When I am feeling pressured by life I turn to my creativity and it helps to keep me balanced and energised, it enriches me and makes me feel complete.


sandiecotteeprofileSandie works full time as a nurse but creativity is her way of life.   A balance of work & play is really important and a few hours creating can put her world to rights.  Sandie would describe her style as eclectic, she love paper, multimedia and textiles as well as trying out new ideas.  She is passionate about photography and journaling, and her main love is handmade books.  She has a campervan and although space is small Sandie always packs creative projects that she is working on. Sandie loves teaching and sharing what she does, evident by home educating her own children. She has been invited to run classes by two friends who run regular groups, and recently had her first stand at a local Book Art Fair.

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