Mary Jane Baxter was a news correspondent and producer for the BBC before she decided to quit her job, rent out her flat and take off to the continent in a camper van. Her 1986 Bedford Bambi had a top speed of just 60mph, but once Mary Jane had up-cycled the inside and covered the outside in wallpaper and varnish, it was transformed into a beautiful mobile studio. She and her ‘mobile makery’ travelled Europe – from Belgium to Italy and then on to France – all the while sewing on the go. She stopped frequently to visit flea markets, meet other artists or to set up a pop-up workshop or stall, funding her trip with the proceeds.
Mary Jane has always been a maker, and her childhood was spent crafting clothes and accessories. As well as a BBC correspondent, she is a trained milliner and lecturer in millinery at The Kensington & Chelsea College in London, and her hats have been sold in Harvey Nichols. Now she is teaching other creatively-minded people to seek out inspiration (not necessarily by quitting their jobs to tour Europe) and to carve out their own creative space in her new book, Sew on the Go. The book is part travel journal, part manifesto and part craft manual. As well as sharing beautiful projects like vintage paper decorations and simple hand-stitched clothing, Mary Jane also shows you how to set up a personal studio on a shoestring, and decorate it using vintage and recycled materials.
To publish Sew on the Go, Mary Jane is raising money through Unbound: a crowdfunding book publisher. So far, she is on target but still needs more donations in order to reach her goal. She is offering patrons of the book a variety of wonderful rewards, including a first edition personalised hardback copy, handmade goodies, and even personal millinery lessons from Mary Jane herself – so if you would like to support the project, please visit her Unbound page here.