We’ve travelled a little further today than normal to catch up with Maxine Geurts, textile artist and creator of Teeny White Daisy, now based in The Netherlands!
Good morning, Maxine! For curiosity’s sake, have you always lived in The Netherlands?
No! I’m originally from the Midlands although I lived most of my life in Essex. Then I recently moved to near Maastricht in The Netherlands.
Cool! So did you go to university?
Yes, I went to Keele University to study politics and psychology and for a Certificate in Education.
That’s quite a trek from politics and education to textile art! Why did you decide to set up Teeny White Daisy?
It’s a bit of a long story, but after spending all my working life in Educational Psychology and Special Education, I became really ill, to the point I wasn’t expected to make it. I did – but it left me with a number of chronic conditions and being unable to return to my former job.
I started knitting and taught myself crochet as something to do while I was spending weeks in bed. As I recovered I started to teach myself sewing too.
I’ve always loved art and design, even at Uni I always had a canvas and paints in my room and I enjoyed what I was creating.
Over the years, I’ve continued to evolve, but tended to make ‘safe’ things rather than the ideas I was carrying around in my head. It has only been the past few years that I’ve felt brave enough to step out and to create the art that makes me happy, rather than what I think people may buy.
It’s still evolving, and I still have dreams of studying textiles at Uni, but we will see.
Wow, that’s quite a journey there. Where does your inspiration come from?
Mostly the Bible and worship songs that I listen to when I’m working. I always have worship music playing while working and often I listen to podcasts or Bethel TV.
Amazing. So how did you become a Christian? Clearly it has a huge impact on your work now.
It was through a friend at Sixth Form who gently encouraged me to come to the youth group at her church. I found a great group of teens and twenties but made no commitment until we all went together to a prayer meeting on Halloween.
I was sitting there thinking, “What’s the point of this? If they want to change things, then they should get out and do something. What’s the point of praying? It doesn’t change anything.”
I asked her these questions the next day and she basically explained the Gospel to me, and I decided there and then at college that I wanted to give my life to God, so I did!
I’m now a part of the leadership team at my church and oversee the pastoral work.
Do you have a favourite Bible verse?
Yes! Isaiah 61:1-3.
That’s great (we love the piece you did based off Isaiah 61:3 [linked below]). Can you talk us through your design process?
Often I am inspired by a phrase or a piece of music and I can see the vague direction I want to go in my head. Then it’s a case of going through my fabric pile and adding lace, book pages, pictures etc. until I am happy with how the background looks. The final stages involve the hand embroidery and adding the text.
I have an ever-growing collection of fabric; both modern and vintage and frequently visit thrift stores to find vintage lace and cards.
Ooh, we’re jealous! A legitimate reason to hoard vintage lace! Presumably running your own business has had its challenges though?
The hardest challenge has been having confidence in myself, but also trying to fit work around my four children (and usually one foster baby!).
Since we have moved to The Netherlands, the culture around hand-crafted art is different to the UK and I haven’t quite found my place or ‘my people’ here. There is so much of ‘me’ in everything I make that it’s difficult to not take things personally.
Finances are a big one, I’m lucky that Mr G is able to support us on his salary, but it means that investing in, say a printer is a really big thing and often it takes a long time to squirrel the money together.
Working from home has its issues too, keeping the distinction between work time and home time, as well as the tendency for others to see it not as work but a ‘little hobby’ and to not take it seriously.
That can be a hard one. In all the work and children (not to mention ill-health) – can you pass on any tips for helping other working mums?
Organisation and a slow cooker!
We’d have to agree with the slow cooker! Babies and businesses should come with them as bonuses! Not that it sounds like you have much of it, but what do you do in your spare time?
I knit and crochet, ands am a voracious reader. I love spending time with friends and Mr G, just doing the simple things or having them over for a meal.
What would you serve up as your favourite?
Cheese. All day. Every day. Lamb is a close second. Fizzy wine to drink!
We’re on our way over! How would your friends describe you (it can be fun to get other people’s perspective!)?
Creative, funny, caring, slightly bonkers, definitely loving. (I asked!)
As we look to finish up today, do you have any long term goals for your business?
I would love to develop my art and style further – to create bigger and more intricate pieces. I am also exploring the possibility of getting prints and cards of my work made so that it becomes accessible (and affordable) to more people.
Thank you so much for your time today, Maxine! We look forward to seeing the new developments as Teeny White Daisy grows!
You can find Teeny White Daisy on social media:
And, of course, at her Cheerfully Given shop: Teeny White Daisy at Cheerfully Given
Join us next week for another Meet the Maker!