1. We love your creations. How did you get into crafts and can you remember the very first thing you made?
Like most crafters I always loved making things. When I was little my Grandmother came to live with us, she taught me to knit and sew, I made miniature pictures and pieces for my dolls house. She was a wonderful knitter. She was my ‘crafting inspiration’, for many years and making things was always my sanctuary away from school and a very annoying younger brother!
2. Your shows have been a massive hit with our customers, where do you get all your ideas from?
I love seeing how many ways I can use one product, and one of my favourite parts of my job is developing products. To do this, I work with artists from all over the country to ensure that our images are original and inspirational. Together we develop stencils, stamps, papers, paints and mediums that will give other crafters inspiration. Then when I have the samples in front of me, I go out into my studio in the garden and tidy up my desk (which is like every crafters work table!!). I put everything out in front of me and I just have to start using it and see where it takes me. I might just paint some new colours onto a piece of card and see which colours work together. Colour is a very personal thing and luckily in craft there is no right or wrong combination so whatever I like I decide to use. I spread mediums onto different surfaces, like card, acetate, MDF or fabric and I like to see what they look like and how they behave and from here projects develop. I call it a journey and the excitement is seeing what develops and who I will meet on the way.
3. When you’re not crafting, what else do you like to do for fun?
I love seeing my Grandchildren; I can really let my hair down and have fun. I used to work in the theatre and they love it when we make up plays and develop crazy characters who have silly voices. We have auditions where we all have to act a part and we always end up crying with laughter and making silly videos. I also have a passion for animals and dogs in particular, and although we lost our beautiful spaniel this year being with dogs is very close to my heart.
4. What was your first “when I grow up I want to be…?”
I always wanted to be an actress. From a very early age my Dad used to take me to see musical theatre which I still love today. I was lucky enough to go to drama school and to take part in some west end musicals. From here I developed a love of stage sets and design and this took me into my design career.
5. 2016 is finally here – what are you most looking forward to this year?
We have been offered lots of opportunities this year of expanding our partnership with Hochanda and other Craft Companies. We are so excited to have been offered these opportunities. This means working with like-minded people, developing new products and promoting them on Hochanda. This will give crafters more choice and we can all take our crafting to the next level.
6. We’ve seen you on our screens quite a lot recently, do you still get nervous? How do you prepare yourself for live TV?
I think people are surprised how nervous I get. I’ve been involved with DIY make-over TV for 18 years, and I have been doing live craft TV for 8 years now and I still get very nervous. It is so important to me that crafters enjoy the programs and feel inspired, so inspired that they want to get out their stash and start crafting straight away. For me the stars of the show are the products. My job is to show everyone how to use them and get the best possible results: this is a great responsibility. I usually spend 40 to 50 hours preparing for a 3 hour TV show day and longer for a One Day Special.
I am so lucky that I work with a great design team. They make lots of samples for our shows so that everyone can enjoy the finished results, all made using our great products.
7. A very hard question for any crafter, what 5 pieces of kit can you not live without and why?
Out of all the questions this is the easiest to answer. I couldn’t be without my absolute essential, my die-cut and embossing machine, and our thicker embossing mat so that I can emboss my stencils. Our Imagination black glossy card because it shows off our Sparkle Medium to its best. I am in love with our beautiful water-based, Alchemy Wax and of course our Starlight Gilding Paint, and because I can use them on any surface such as candles, glass bottle and clay they have become an essential in my crafting.
8. What is it you think makes Hochanda different?
From our very first meeting at Hochanda I was bowled over by the friendliness of everyone, and their passion for bringing Crafts and Hobbies into our homes. They genuinely care about crafters in a way I haven’t seen before, and everyone at Hochanda is working their socks off to make it the best possible TV channel for crafting inspiration and education. At Hochanda, the emphasis is on giving the guests as much time as possible for their demonstrations. This sets them apart from other craft channels and I think we all really appreciate this. Craft isn’t like any other industry, it is small and personal. We all share a deep passion for making things. Hochanda understands this and we are all working together to make it the destination for all things crafty.
9. What does your studio look like? Give us a tour!
I am a true crafter. My studio is absolutely full to the brim of craft products and I can’t throw anything away because ‘I might just need it for a project’! As you can see, it is very messy but when I tidy up and put everything away I can’t find it when I need it! So I have to settle for having everything I need on my desk at the same time.
10. What can we expect to see from you in the coming months?
Lots of new products, including a brand new stamp range which is quite different from other stamps on the market and we will be launching it on Hochanda. We will be bringing you a fabric version of Starlights (these are one of the most exciting products we have ever launched). We also have some new mixed media inks in the pipeline, and some other very unusual products. We want to introduce crafters to products that are new to the market place, and encourage everyone to try something different and this will be our message in the coming months.