GET­TING TO KNOW

the Crafty Gen­tle­man

Cardmaking and Papercraft - - Front Page - Get your guy into craft­ing with a visit to www.the­crafty­gentle­man.net

How long have you crafted?

For as long as I can re­mem­ber! As a child, I used to spend hours doo­dling, scrap­book­ing and gen­er­ally mak­ing a mess. That child­like love of mak­ing things has never left me – it’s just be­come a lit­tle more re­fined (I hope!).

How did you get in­volved in the in­dus­try?

In my early 20s, I be­came frus­trated by the lack of craft con­tent that was avail­able for young peo­ple, es­pe­cially men. The ma­jor­ity of craft shops and web­sites were full of pink and glit­ter, clearly tai­lor­ing to a dif­fer­ent type of crafter to me. But I knew there was more to craft­ing so I de­cided to try and make a change. I started my blog in 2013 and wrote the sort of craft con­tent I had been crav­ing for years – sim­ple, un­fussy, gen­der-neu­tral craft tu­to­ri­als that any­one can try. Fast for­ward five years and I’ve now shared over 200 free tu­to­ri­als, all with the aim of mak­ing crafts ac­ces­si­ble to ev­ery­one.

How do you jug­gle the blog with your job?

It’s pretty hec­tic! I spend my 9-5 in an of­fice job, then most of my evenings and week­ends are filled with craft­ing and blog­ging. It’s def­i­nitely a test of my or­gan­i­sa­tion – es­pe­cially when I have dead­lines on spon­sored blog projects, or craft events to run. What keeps me mo­ti­vated is my gen­uine pas­sion for crafts. Even if I didn’t have my blog, I’d still be fill­ing my week­ends with mak­ing things. I love it.

Any ca­reer high­lights so far?

Ap­pear­ing on Kirstie’s Hand­made Christ­mas on Chan­nel 4, along­side the amaz­ing Kirstie All­sopp! She’s a craft leg­end, so I was slightly star-struck when she com­pli­mented my crafts! An­other high­light was vis­it­ing the Cri­cut Make-A-Thon con­fer­ence in Salt Lake City last sum­mer – it was great to get a taste of the Amer­i­can craft in­dus­try and to meet so many amaz­ingly cre­ative peo­ple.

Where do you get your in­spi­ra­tion?

I travel as much as I can and take pho­tos of art, shapes, tex­tures and colours that spark ideas. I keep the im­ages and re­fer to them when­ever I need a cre­ative boost.

What are your favourite things to paper­craft?

My first craft­ing love was mak­ing greet­ings cards. Christ­mas, birth­days, Easter, Hal­loween, New Year… I’d make cards for ev­ery­thing! And 20 years later, this is still much the same. I gen­uinely don’t ever re­mem­ber buy­ing a card from a shop – I al­ways have, and al­ways will, make them my­self.

Which craft­ing celebs do you ad­mire?

I re­cently worked on a pro­ject with Keith Brymer-Jones from BBC2’s The Great Pot­tery

Throw­down. He’s one of the nicest, most in­spir­ing peo­ple I’ve ever met. His pas­sion for the craft­ing in­dus­try is ab­so­lutely in­fec­tious – it’s im­pos­si­ble not to be mo­ti­vated by chat­ting with him! I’m also a huge ad­mirer of peo­ple like Tilly Walnes (Tilly and the But­tons), Elsie Lar­son and Emma Chap­man (A Beau­ti­ful Mess) and Elise Blaha Cripe (Get To Work Book). They are all peo­ple who have turned their love of crafts into hugely suc­cess­ful, thriv­ing busi­nesses. What could be more

in­spir­ing?

Any ad­vice for other crafters think­ing about a ca­reer in craft?

Make sure you’re do­ing it for pas­sion, not for the money. Craft­ing pro­fes­sion­ally is very dif­fer­ent to craft­ing as a hobby. You’ll no longer be mak­ing sim­ply for fun – you may have clients to man­age, shop­pers to please, even an au­di­ence to im­press. If you don’t love the fun­da­men­tals of what you do, this will come across. How­ever, in say­ing that, there’s no rea­son not to just give it a go! Ev­ery­one needs to start some­where, so don’t de­lay if you have a good busi­ness idea. Start small, keep work­ing at it and see where it takes you. Good luck!

Do you have any New Year’s res­o­lu­tions?

I don’t re­ally do New Year’s res­o­lu­tions – in­stead, I like to set my­self cre­ative chal­lenges for the year. For ex­am­ple, I filmed one sec­ond of video ev­ery day last year (to make a big mon­tage of my life through­out 2018!). At the time of this in­ter­view, I’m still not sure what I’ll chal­lenge my­self to do in 2019… I’m torn be­tween a daily pho­tog­ra­phy chal­lenge, or daily jour­nal­ing. I’m sure I’ll write about my de­ci­sion soon on the blog though, so check back there to see what I de­cide (and to watch my 2018 video)!

What’s in the pipe­line for 2019?

I’m cur­rently in dis­cus­sions with a few tele­vi­sion stu­dios about some big op­por­tu­ni­ties, which is re­ally ex­cit­ing! I’m also hop­ing to book in plenty of work­shops and events, too – I love to get out there and meet fel­low crafters, rather than solely in­ter­act­ing through so­cial me­dia (al­though that’s great, too, of course!). Of course, along­side all of this I’ll con­tinue to share loads of free craft tu­to­ri­als through my blog!

“If I didn’t have my blog, I’d still be fill­ing my week­ends with mak­ing things. I love it”

Paper­craft wall art and a leather-bound note­book

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