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In Part One of our retrospective focusing on the 25th Anniversary of The Cotton Patch we covered how it all began. Jean had the kernel of an idea and despite some concerns as to whether she was too old to start a business (in her late 50's), amazingly in her early 80s she is still working three days a week.
And that is just one of the changes that we've seen in the past 25 years that our sterotypes of what we should be doing in her 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s or even older is constantly being redefined by those we see and hear. Jean and Geoff Sewell are no exception to this new rule - so if you are thinking about changing what you do - it's never too late. Just love what you do.
|New till - Shop Opens May 1990|
Some of the early shows where we had just one small transit (but it was packed to the gunnels!)
|Packing for the Harrogate Quilt Show|
|Geoff, Jean and Nik|
There were Cabot Conferences around the country with Christine Porter who brought over top teachers like Caryl Bryer Fallert, Marianne Fons, Harriet Hargrave, Margaret Miller, Darra Duffy Williamson, Sharon Squier Craig and Carole Leibzeit to name just a few.
|Liz Holpin with Caryl Bryer Fallert and the quilt The Cotton Patch purchased from Caryl.|
|Liz Holpin and Christine Porter with the quilt that Marianne Fons taught in class.|
|Jean Sewel, Christine Porter and the winner of the Quilt Block Challenge in Waterford, Ireland|
|Liz Holpin, Louise Glover and Sally Ablett|
|Christine Porter with Margaret Miller and Class|
|Margaret Miller teaching colour theory and value|
|Sally Ablett, Darra Williamson,?, Christine Porter and Margaret Miller|
|Some of Carole Leibzeit's Quilts|
|The class in Waterford, Ireland|
|Class in Progress|
|Louise Glover and Janet - manning The Cotton Patch stand in the classroom|
|Harriet Hargrave, Christine Porter and Carole Leibzeit|
|Louise Glover and Carole Leibzeit Class|
|Carole, Sharon Craig and Harriet Hargrave|
In the first ten years our employees grew with each year and in 1994 when I returned to the UK after living in the Caribbean for a few years Val Richards joined The Cotton Patch as well. Val and the others who were there then - Jean, Geoff, Margaret and Cherrie are all still working here. Louise Glover taught many of the classes in the late 1990s but after many years struggling with Multiple Sclerosis Louise was forced to retire at a very young age. We missed her knowledge, enthusiasm and joy of patchwork and quilting. Louise now lives in a Leonard Cheshire home in Wales.
These were photos of The Cotton Patch staff in around 1999 at the annual Christmas Party. Penny, Shirley and Louise are the only ones who don't still work at The Cotton Patch!
|Denise and Jean|
|Denise, Jean, Val, Pat, Margaret, Ken, Cherrie, Anne, Geoff, Penny, Shirley, Louise|
|Louise and Liz|
|Pat, Margaret, Ken and Penny.|