I have been writing, drawing and making things since I was a child. I learnt to crochet, knit, plait, weave in the Caribbean, using plants, grasses and waste materials. After qualifying to to teach Secondary and Primary, I left Worcester College of Education in 1975 and started teaching Needlework and Design Social Studies and General Subjects in a Secondary School in Birmingham. Over 40 years, I have taught Arts and Crafts to diverse groups. Nefertiti Arts and Crafts was set up in the late 70’s and early 80’s. I ran a fabric painting business for many years, selling materials and teaching. I also taught numerous people to teach other crafts. I have organised and appeared at numerous fairs, conferences, seminars, workshops. I combine my expertise at times and one of my successes was Calm, Calmer, Caldmore – a consultancy with local residents in Walsall where we worked with a photographer and produced a poem about the needs of the community. Burbury’s Children is a 6 week creative writing project which I did as part of Burbury Creative Writers’ Circle, a project which I founded. The book is now in the Local Studies archives of Central Library Birmingham. Recent works include ‘Survivors Art’ in Birmingham University Social Science Department and ’Arts in Healing ’displayed with Working Arts Group (WAG) in St Martins-in-the-Bull-Ring, County comes to Town at the Nature Centre and Disability Fair on 5/5/09.
I am also a published writer, poet, musician, dress designer and consultant trainer.
I started life as Shirley Lake until I came to England when my surname was changed to Cooper. I then found out that it was also Blake. So I use all names at different times. Lately I have been working on name poems, and name drawings.