On the 13th of December 1983, little did I know at just over 14 months old, that my life would change forever, I had a little sister, Ami.
So our lives began together as sisters, who had four older brothers. Both of our parent's families had creativity in their blood, from Crochet to Carpentry, knitting to product design. Here was Ami and I growing up together beside the seaside in Thanet, being creative, playing together one moment then arguing the next, just doing what sisters do. Plus for a brief time, I was actually taller than Ami!!
We both had a strong gift for creativity. During our educational life we went on different paths with Ami being more academic than myself, she went onto Grammar School coming out with amazing GSCEs and A-levels then landing a great job in accountancy.
I was diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of 8, where I went onto a wonderful school called Laleham, which changed my life, my confidence and me. I came out with some great GSCEs and went into College then University.
Pursuing my love of Printing, which I discovered during my college course in Art and Design, I went to Bucks New University to do a BA (Hons) in Textile Design graduating in 2004 specialising in Wallpaper and Furnishing Fabric print design, I tried to pursue a career in this but failed, so I turned to retail.
In 2005 Ami left her accountancy job and went back to college to do a foundation in Art and Design, with her sights set on Interior Design. But fate had other plans for her, during a visit from a jeweller who taught her and some of her fellow students how to make a silver ring, Ami fell in love with jewellery design. This was Ami’s calling, so choosing Loughborough University for her Degree in Goldsmithing, in her second year she moved to UCA based in Rochester where the course was better run and better suited to Ami.
Loughborough Uni meant she moved up to Nottingham, and I soon followed her up there too, landing a 12 year career in retail, at John Lewis, leading me to move to London for 5 of those years too.
I had planned during my retail career to go into to design with a big company like JL, but every step and achievement I had accomplished in this career, the hunger wasn’t satisfied, it just didn’t feel right.
In 2014 I realised I have always wanted to design and print s my own home decor products and homewares, this was where my passion really lay. So while still in retail, I started to build on my dream, my very own creative business.
Today we have both taken over our Mum’s home, in Broadstairs, Kent, where we run our creative businesses. Ami’s studio is a converted garage, and my print studio is the cellar plus an office as my art studio. We create, live and use our life growing up beside the sea as one of our main influences in who we are and what our work is about.
Turquoise Gem Textiles, by Gem Blastock.
Blind photograph by Rebecca Douglas.
Also known as TG Textiles, is about my passion to inspire people because just to see their eyes light up makes my day.
Meaning my mission is to create wonderful handmade nostalgic stories and memories for my client's homes, to reflect how amazing it is to share their story.
Turning their house into their loving home. Home is where the story begins...
It all started in 2014 when I realised I have always wanted to design and print s my own home decor products and homewares, this was where my passion really lay. So while still in retail, I started to build on my dream, my very own creative business. Turquoise Gem Textiles came to life in 2016 with my first set of products a collection of handprinted cushions, Shoreline and Ebbs ‘n’ Flow. I left John Lewis in 2017 and landed a job as an Ink Technician at a printers, meaning I could really start to build on own prints and illustrations.
2019, I am planning to create more home decor products, expanding my current cushion and wall decor products, plus create my first collection of handprinted wallpapers and lampshades.
I am also helping raise awareness on mental health through my workshops for creativity and wellbeing. Lots of us are leading increasingly busy lives, meaning more and more of us are prone to suffering from mental health problems. Creative activities are one of the most effective ways of helping to reduce stress and anxiety, printmaking and drawing being one of the most popular.
These classes will be run at my studio based in my home town of Broadstairs, on the beautiful Kent Coast. In my new inspirational workshops, I will introduce you to the wonderful world of drawing and printmaking.
Photos by Rebecca Douglas,
I (Ami) as you’ve already read ‘fell into’ goldsmithing. My intentions were to become an interior designer but that quickly changed when I made my first silver ring… I still have it (somewhere). From here I pursued my career through a degree (starting at Loughborough) at UCA Rochester. Throughout my whole degree I have always made sure I worked at jewellers that have a workshop on site. So even on the job I was learning the trade, about other designers and about how to run a Goldsmithing business.
Once I graduated I continued to work in jewellers whilst building my own work on the side. I gained years of experience from working for well known jewellers, such as Astley Clarke and Tom McEwan and developing my skills at a jewellers in London for over 6 years, but working for someone else is not what I wanted to do. I wanted to work for myself! Make my own designs and be part of my own customers piece. That is when I was able to take this step and open my studio in Sept 2017 and now work full time creating bespoke pieces for some very lovely people.