Jo Avery sewed her first soft toy when she was 6 and started her first piece of patchwork when she was 10. Since then she has hardly stopped creating, either in her working life or in her spare time.

When she was 21 she started her first business, Cleopatra’s Needle, designing and producing needlepoint kits.  Over a 5 year period these were sold in all major department stores in the UK and exported to France, Italy, USA and Australia.  

After a move from London to the Scottish Borders and the arrival of her 2 sons, Jo sold the business and, took a backseat while husband Jonathan started his own furniture making business. This gave Jo some time at home to become passionately involved in patchwork and quilting. Jo’s Art Quilts were exhibited all over the UK and Europe and she started to teach at quilting groups.

Jo started Bearpaw classes at Avery Homestore in 2010 and has now taught hundreds of new converts to crafting.

Clare McDonald has always been fascinated by fabrics and textiles in general. After studying fashion and design, she started her own dressmaking business in the Lake District. Bridal wear was her speciality. Then a man came along! So Clare moved to Edinburgh with him and continued sewing. She worked part time for a curtain fabric retailer and really got hooked on soft furnishings and slowly her business evolved to where it is today.

Clare has a thriving soft furnishing business where she hand makes curtains, roman blinds, cushions and all kinds of soft furnishings for private clients. She is a member of the Guild of Master Craftsmen and offers a complete soft furnishing service incorporating pole or rail installation if required. Clare visits your home, measures up and returns sometime later with the beautifully finished soft furnishings and hangs them for you.

She takes a lot of time and effort to ensure that client’s expectations are exceeded.

Sarah Roberts is an interiors enthusiast who’s worked with Avery Homestore since 2003.

Obsessed with art and crafting from an early age, Sarah first exhibited work at the tender age of 7. This early enthusiasm has flourished over the years allowing her to channel her passion for her hobbies into a career as a Bearpaw Tutor.

Sarah teaches various classes across a range of topics. Away from the world of work, Sarah continues to paint (but not exhibit) and lives with her husband and two small children in Edinburgh.

She can often be found trawling the second hand shops of Edinburgh looking for unusual fabrics (and buttons – please don’t ask her about buttons) which she delights in re-purposing for contemporary living.

Katherine Jebsen Moore grew up in Norway and went to a Steiner school where handicraft of all kinds was a big part of the education. After meeting her husband Tom during her journalism degree in London, she moved to Edinburgh where she worked as a business journalist for four years.

Since having her first child in 2007, she has renewed her enthusiasm for knitting. She enjoys knitting garments for children, crocheting and sewing. She also makes Waldorf dolls, which draw on all her crafty skills, including knitting tiny garments! Kathrine loves pure wool and natural fibres and is keen to share her passion for handmade at the Bearpaw classes.

She lives with Tom and two children in Southwest Edinburgh.

Barbara has loved sewing from an early age. She spent a lot of time at her Aunt's house who was a fantastic seamstress and created all types of garments; this gave her the bug for sewing and crafting.

From handmade hand bags to window designs for Maddie and Mark's Shoes, she has always enjoyed creating and designing. After setting up her Mum's PA Business last year she missed the creative side of life and answered an advert in the Avery Homestore window for a part time sales assistant. Little did she know that her love of crafting and working with children would soon be combined to create the new Kids Craft Classes and Crafternoons.

Craft has always paid an important part of Katherine's life, coming from a family of talented knitters and sewers. She was taught to knit by her mother at the age of five years. Unfortunately, Katherine's love of the outdoors meant that her crafting "career" was a little delayed but she firmly discovered her love of knitting (and all things yarn) while at university in London.

Some while later (!), Katherine now lives in the Scottish Borders with her husband and two young children and her knitting enjoys a significant role in her life - for both work and play. Katherine is an experienced tutor teaching groups all over the country (performing much of her work for Rowan). She teaches a wide variety of subjects and always updates her workshops to reflect current trends.