Meet the Crafters - Episode One

/ 1 October 2019

Heather Robertson

Age: 39 Location: Basingstoke, Hampshire

Craft: Polymer clay Sculptor

About Heather: Heather ploughed her redundancy money into her craft, and after two years, she needs to finally break even

Website: https://www.heatherrobertsonart.com/

Backstory:

• Heather returned to Basingstoke in her early 20’s, after she spent her childhood in South Africa. She was working full-time in customer services and then as a junior technical writer, but continued to paint, draw and sculpt as a hobby, always being drawn back to art and design which she studied at college.

• Heather took redundancy from her job 2 years ago and quit the rat-race to become a full-time polymer-clay sculptor. She has tried many crafts, but this is the only one she has a real passion for, and enjoys the varied creations she makes, especially the chance to incorporate other materials into her creations.

• Heather’s pieces are heavily influenced by fantasy fiction like ‘The Dark Crystal’, ‘Harry Potter’, ‘The Lord of the Rings’, ‘Labyrinth’ and ‘The Never-Ending Story’. She predominantly works with polymer clay, testing its limits and getting completely immersed in the craft world.

• Heather makes art dolls and figures, collectable wands, fairy doors, dragons, pen pots, gift jars, book covers, wall plaques and jewellery. The time it takes Heather to create a finished piece varies from a few hours to several days, depending on the complexity of the piece, and her prices range from £10 – £200.

• Heather is planning to run workshops from home as she is struggling to find an affordable workspace to hire. Her craft takes place in what used to be the dining room and her art work spills out all over the house.

• Her business has a many ups and downs, and there is always something new to learn. Heather has had to learn how to build her own website and online shop (which is still an ongoing process), and is still learning how to use social media effectively to promote her work and online shop. She is hoping to make her first sale through her website soon.

• Heather’s a good procrastinator and isn’t sure how to get seen, so she has to rely on word of mouth and orders from social media. Her problem is that she can never stop making things, experimenting and trying new ideas. Heather isn’t sure if she needs to focus on selling certain items or to keep expanding her range.

John Cole-Morgan

Age: 42

Location: Tring, Hertfordshire

Craft: Long-Arm Quilter

About John: John has been quilting for 5 years. Will his self-doubt about his ability get in the way of him succeeding at the Clare Priory Craft Fair?

Website: https://www.beginnerquilt.com/

Backstory:

• 5 years ago, John started quilting and very quickly fell in love with it. Now it’s taken over his life as the main focus of all his time and energy.

• John has heaps of enthusiasm and passion for his craft, dedicating close to 7 days a week to it. • John has integrated himself into a group of female quilters although, as the only male, he sometimes feels like he doesn’t quite fit in.

• John loves the craft community and learns a lot from all the women he quilts with, whom he describes as much more talented than himself.

• • As the creator of the Facebook group ‘Beginner’s Quilt Support Group’, with almost 6,000 members from all around the world, John has been able to create large-scale projects involving a multitude of quilters.

• 26 people created a quilt for the Queen’s 90th birthday, a number of sunset quilts were created to support cancer research at the Festival of Quilts, a poppy quilt was made to celebrate the centenary of the First World War. All of these projects were headed-up and designed by John.

• A big fan of double-sided quilts, John has designed a few of his own patterns and enjoys putting kits together to encourage others to take up quilting.

• John loves pretty, colourful fabrics and has a bit of an obsession with buying fabrics from all around the world. He currently owns over 16,000 metres of fabric.

• John used to store all his materials at home, but has moved to a large studio where he can organise all his different fabrics and store his many quilts.

• John’s real lack of confidence in his ability is the main thing holding him back, along with the fear that people won’t respond well to his quilts.

Toni Godolphin

Age: 41

Location: Oswestry, Shropshire

Craft: Crocheter

About Toni: Left-handed Crocheter Toni loves browsing at craft fairs. She’ll need to take a leap of faith to sell her own wares at the Clare Priory Fair

Website: https://www.instagram.com/thecraftingcow1/

Backstory:

• Toni crochets intricate brooches and hairclips, like flowers, owls and hearts, playful patchwork rabbits and colourful hippos.

• Despite being left-handed, Toni was determined to learn how to crochet and taught herself 5 years ago. By watching YouTube videos, she would mirror image the right-handed tutorials and now reads patterns backwards.

• Working part-time 3 days a week as a Compliance Officer, the rest of Toni’s time is dedicated to creating a range of different crochet items and teaching crochet in coffee shops and village halls.

• One of the things Toni loves about crocheting is the variety of different materials that can be used, so she also creates clutch bags and purses by combining old coke can tabs into her design.

• Keen to encourage more people to crochet, Toni has started a few ‘one ball’ projects. As the cost of a ball of wool can be expensive and few people want to buy more than one ball if too pricey, she has designed a set of mermaid fingerless gloves and a mermaid hat that only requires one ball of wool for the set.

• She mainly sells through her Facebook page ‘The Crafting Cow’, although has tried to sell at some local craft fairs and school fairs. She finds that the people can be a little critical on prices when it comes to handmade, the shops can sell a lot cheaper, mass produced items.

• Toni is interested in developing crochet kits and dreams of one day owning her own shop and crochet book with all her patterns in it. Interestingly, she writes all her patterns for right-handed Crocheters, despite being left-handed.