Team Member & Crafter

My interest in sewing started when I was a young girl growing up in England. I remember clearly watching my mother and my grandmother make clothes for themselves and for my sister Sharon and I.


Handmade clothes

After I married Ian we were working at the British Embassy in Washington and started helping with the British Embassy Players shows, especially the Old Time Music Hall which has just last year celebrated it’s 50 year anniversary although now it has moved from the Embassy to Kensington, Maryland where the British Players continue the tradition. That is where I got my introduction to stage costuming which is still a favorite hobby today. I am currently very active with costuming for the Old Opera House in Charles Town WV where I have helped with costumes since 1992 costuming many of the larger productions including musicals and Christmas productions such as Scrooge and Sunday in the Park with George . As I write this, I am frantic busy getting costumes ready for “The Music Man” our christmas production this year.

Scrooge at The Old Opera House, Charles Town,WV

Now I am coming full circle and find a need to feed my desire to sew every free moment I have branching into machine embroidery, designing and putting together clothing, items for the home and more. As I do this I am polishing my old skills, bringing back the art of smocking which I mastered while working for Skiff & Hawkins in Cheltenham.

ian - foodie and crafter

Team Member & Crafter

A self professed foodie Ian also gets great pleasure from working with jewelry and mixed media so it is a perfect match to Sue’s embroidery and sewing skills.

Embroidered Lace Choker with cameo

When not in the kitchen creating new dishes for the “Taste of Cotswold Downs” food and recipe site, he is at the work bench trying new ideas for embroidery embellishment with jewelry.

Eccles cakes from

Trying to keep his creative mojo going can be hard since Ian is also the team Webmaster for our multiple web sites and social network sites.
Not only does he maintain and also our facebook store for the crafts, but also our great recipe collection at and our latest venture , our facebook page for Cotswold Micro Farm where we are now selling commercially grown muushrooms and soon lso microgreens and hydroponic vegetables.

melanie - always needling

Melanie Brownsmith-Hutzler - Cotswold Downs Crafts

Team Member & Crafter

As a graduate of Shepherd University with a BFA in Photography I had the opportunity to try many different art forms.In all the art forms I tried, the things that stuck were color and light and how they affected the artist and the subject.This still lingers with me in everything I make.

The things I enjoyed in college still resonate including printmaking, sculpture, ceramics just to name a few.Today I manage the local photography club and am a board member of The Victory Project which is an organization connecting volunteers with those in need, and hosting the annual Identity Crisis fundraiser in nearby Shepherdstown.

If I miss a day doing something creative I feel like something is missing. Even if I spend a day in the kitchen trying some new baking, I have to be creative.It is what keeps me going.