I started life in North Norfolk on a farm with my Mum, as I was born during WW2 so I had lots of time on my own to draw, paint, knit, sew and play with my few precious dolls and handmade dolls house. I always loved making art and craft of all kinds.
I was making all my own clothes as a teenager and my own children’s clothes as a young mum.
In my twenties I worked for a variety of companies in central London – as a photographers assistant, Pattern cutter for Angel’s theatrical costumiers, and for the Fashion Print company WonderWorkshop.
In my thirties I went to Walthamstow Art School to study Fashion/Textiles and specialised in Knitwear. On leaving I worked for Park and Wariner, a couture knitwear company before setting up designing and selling my own range of knitwear label as Jan Horrox. The knitwear company was my fulltime career for 30 years and gave me many enjoyable experiences and friendships. This was all pre-digital which was all much simpler!
Sometime around 2005 I discovered cloth dolls at an exhibition at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace and decided to make a change. So I launched into cloth doll making, designing my dolls and writing patterns from the beginning. In 2008, I was lucky enough to be invited by Search Press to write my two books ‘An Introduction to making Cloth Dolls’ and ‘Making Fantasy Cloth dolls’. Both these books have sold amazingly well all over the world. In 2020 Search Press created a compilation of these two books and published as 'How to Make Cloth Dolls'.
Throughout the last 20 years I have continued designing, making and pattern writing for cloth dolls. I run weekend workshops now in Norfolk for smaller groups. These are enormously enjoyable to me and informative fun for anyone attending.
I have been captivated by the development of my work with cloth dolls – experimenting with all types of fabric, dyeing and painting, embellishing and embroidery. Most of all I love the textile elements that make each doll unique.
I hope you will find as much pleasure as I do in making them.
Jan now runs her business from her current workshop from her home studio in Cromer, Norfolk. 13. Bernard Road, Cromer, Norfolk. NR279AW.