Candidate Profile

Craft Instructing
For nearly twenty years, Eleanor Todd was teaching Art to adults, with ages ranging from their early twenties to over 80. After a successful career as a secondary school teacher, where she taught several different subjects from Geography to Arts and Crafts, she was recruited by a company which supplied teachers to Her Majesty's Prison Service. Those nearly twenty years were spent successfully opening up doors of artistic achievement to a wide and diverse range of students, many of whom contributed words of high praise for her teaching. Eleanor encouraged often reluctant students to reach that magical moment when they realised that "Yes, I can!" and was able to arrange for work to be exhibited alongside local artists at various venues in the area. Her successes in enabling her students to find within themselves their own, individual artistic abilities were gratefully recognised and encouraged by her employers and the local staff.

At about the same time Eleanor, with her business partner, established Flying Tortoise Enterprises. This involves creating craft kits and teaching craft skills on board cruise ships. The craft kits range from the very popular individual cross-stitch map of the ship's itinerary (a wonderful and long lasting memento of a successful ship-board holiday), making small useful items from felt and personalising them with their own designs, to introducing many passengers to the recent Blackwork stitching craze. Eleanor hopes to continue to gain great delight in passing on her expertise and knowledge to even more people in the future.
The craft kits we provide are all inclusive in that they contain charts, instructions and materials for a complete item. We are known for our individual, tailor-made designs for specific cruises, which create a unique and personal memento of the cruise. The sessions we provide have been very successful and we have received favourable and enthusiastic feedback both from passengers and from the various cruise directors with whom we have worked.

The kits we provide cover a range of themes from cross stitch maps of the cruise, bookmarks, samplers, needlecases, credit card holders, cafetiere covers, mug cosies, Christmas hanging baubles, gift tags, cake bands and Blackwork samplers.

Mrs. Wilkinson and I usually travel together so that every craft session has the advantage of two instructors, ensuring no-one is left without help for long. This is an advantage as at any one session there could be a variety of craft work being undertaken.

Recently I have been delighted to add an alternative craft form, namely art.. This is run separately from our other craft work as a distinct entity. It consists of a series of sessions with those who may not have picked up a pencil, or any form of drawing/painting implement, other than to write a shopping list, for many years – lots of people have vivid memories of being told “You’re no good at art!” The course encourages people to experiment with the drawing skills that lie dormant in most of us, recognising their ability to observe and judge compositions and create pleasing compositions and individual designs for themselves. I have had great success using this approach with adults (ranging in age from early twenties to young eighties), who suddenly realise that ‘I can’t draw!’ can quickly become ‘Wow! Yes I can!’ and who have surprised themselves by producing truly creative pieces of work.

Each session is a 'free standing' session (just as the craft sessions are) and all neccessary materials are provided at each session.

Mrs. Wilkinson and I are willing and able to travel from any port in the UK, and although we have been able to ‘fill in’ with only 3 weeks warning, we still need some advance notice to prepare the bespoke kits.