Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Meet the Team week one - Jean Gursoy

Hello and welcome to the first of our Meet the Team blog posts! 

In these blog posts over the next eight weeks we'll be asking each of the new Creative Expressions Design Team members some questions to find out what techniques they're into right now, what inspires them to create and even what treats they like to snack on whilst getting inky! 

So without further ado, this week we would like to introduce DT member Jean Gursoy...

DT Member Jean Gursoy

Question 1. Introduce yourself briefly...
My name is Jean Gursoy, I live in London and am lucky enough to have a wonderful family who support me in everything I do. I am going through a difficult time in my life right now as my husband passed away in April, and we were together for forty years.  I am privileged to have been chosen as a design team member because it is really helping me to cope and do creative and positive things and learn from other people’s work.  

I have a background in the textile industry, but retrained later on as an ESOL teacher, teaching English to foreign students. Craft is my real passion in life, I don’t see craft as simply a hobby; it is so therapeutic too and I cannot live without it. If I had to describe myself in a nutshell, I'd say I'm a craftaholic!

2. How did you get into crafting?
I have always crafted since I was a small child, being an only child, I spent a lot of time alone so I quickly learnt to amuse myself with an array of pens, paints, paper and anything else I could get my mum to buy for me.  When I was around 14, I unpicked one of my favourite skirts, cut a pattern from it and sewed all the seams by hand with tiny, tiny stitches. My grandmother asked me where I got the sewing machine from and, after I told her I had completed it by hand, a sewing machine arrived that Christmas. Incidentally, I still love sewing by hand believe it or not!

A Christmas themed birthday card by Jean: made using Spellbinders Nestabilities and Bakers Twine. 

3. How would you describe your style?
I can be quite eclectic and get interested in different styles; at the moment I would like to do more Steampunk style projects. On the other hand, I love symmetry and designs that have a Medieval or Arts and Crafts feel to them too.

4. Where do you draw inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from everywhere; magazines, books, the internet and YouTube, other crafters’ blogs, from nature and from my own feelings. I am a fan of Pre-Raphaelite Art, William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement.  I also love Art Deco, Art Nouveau and Impressionist Art. I also really like folkart painting and the intricacy of Ottoman design. 

5. What's your favourite technique right now?
I don’t think I have a favourite technique, although I have to say I enjoy brayering when creating scenes, using distressing techniques and creating my own background papers using inks, misters and embossing folders.  

There's nothing I like better than to get myself really messy (the rebel in me!), but I even shock myself and can never understand how, in the space of five minutes, I can create so much chaos and disorder! There’s such a plethora of stamping techniques, all interesting in their own way, and I love to experiment with bleach on dark card, do a little zentangling (doodling), ripping, tearing and crumpling paper (very therapeutic). 

6. What's your favourite colour?
I love autumn colours; reds, browns and golds. Also, dare I say it, I love PINK! Especially with black; sorry about that.

7. What do you like to snack on whilst crafting?
Well, the thing is that when I get into my craft room I really have a problem getting out again! When I do, I am so hungry that I eat anything available that does not have to be cooked – that’s usually ice cream, cream crackers and Turkish cheese, olives and my favourite chilly peppers that I eat with all savoury food.  I would ideally like to snack on shish kebab, but no chance of that.

8. What do you do when you're not crafting?
Spend time with my lovely family, watch all the wonderful programmes on Turkish Satellite TV (so I don’t forget my Turkish) and play with my sweet little half Bengal cat called Elmaz (Diamond). 

9. Tell us a random fact about yourself...
I love learning languages! I am fluent in Turkish, Modern Greek and also spent two years studying Spanish with the Open University. The problem is that if you don't use it you lose it and although I can read Spanish and understand it; not having the chance to speak it is a huge drawback.

10. What craft tool could you not live without?
My Grand Calibur!!!

11. If your house was on fire, what's the first thing you would save from your craft room?
My Spellbinders dies, as many as possible. If I could carry them that is!

You can see more of Jean's beautiful creations, including her Creative Expressions DT pieces, on her blog here

Check back here next Tuesday to read our next Meet the Team post!


  1. Buenos Diaz Jean!
    Me gusta tu blog, mi español no es muy bueno, pero sé un poco para tener una conversación. I just said I like your blog, my Spanish is not very good, but I can hold a basic conversation. I wish I could learn languages quick though. I've enjoyed reading your answers its really interesting to see what we've all put. Looking forward to working with you. Michelle x

    1. Hola Michelle,

      Quiero hablar contigo pero he olvidado mi español. Really nice to be getting to know everyone - love your work and am already learning a great deal from everyone. Look forward to your post. Jean xx

  2. Only English I'm afraid from me Jean lol, I struggle with that never mind other languages. Love reading all about you and your answers are so interesting, great to find out a little more about you and I look forward to creating alongside you. ENJOY. Tracy x

    1. Thanks Tracy - I am already enjoying the experience.
      Jean xx

  3. Great post!! Nice to 'meet' you Jean! xxxxxx

    1. Nice to be part of the team and looking forward to getting to know you all.
      Jean xx

  4. Hi Jean, nice to meet you and lovely to find out more about you. Your christmas themed birthday card is so elegant x

  5. hi Jean, great answers and nice to meet you. Trace. X

  6. Hi Jean, what an enjoyable read. Especially your favorite colours, there mine too.
    I love looking at your work and I'm always telling my friends and family about your work.
    Best of luck and take care.
    Katie Anne.

  7. Hi Jean , loved reading about you. Looking forward to working with you and seeing more of your projects.x

  8. Lovely to read all about you - look forward to seeing more of your designs
    Suzanne x

  9. i have just read your lovely story sad and happy you sound like a lady who has a life that involves enjoying your family and crafting which has made your life enjoyable keep crafting love from juliet