As you know, here at Crafter’s Companion HQ, we are hooked on all things craft. Whether, it’s papercrafting, knitting, sewing or decoupage, we’re are always ready to give it a go!
Channel 4’s latest crafty TV show- ‘Craft It Yourself’ is an interior design craft series that taps into the very latest trends and techniques from the craft worlds of furniture, baking, ceramic and textiles.
This week, we had the chance to sit down with a couple of the show’s presenters and ask them some questions about our new favourite show.
First up we spoke to Clemency Green. A maker of beautifully crafted cakes and a passionate novice when it comes to craft.
How did you start crafting?
I have enjoyed making things for as long as I can remember, as a child I would always get craft kits for birthdays and Christmas – I asked for a sewing machine when I was ten….think it might have been a little too advanced for me though! And I was lucky enough to go to a school which really encouraged creativity, so I feel like it is something that I have always done….I think that really helps because it means you aren’t afraid to just give something a go! As a grown up my first love has always been cooking and baking, and I think a lot of those hands-on, creative skills transfer really well.
What top tip would you offer to those just starting out in craft?
Try everything you can! There are so many different crafts out there, it sounds cliché but there really is something for everyone. From glass blowing to crochet, paper cutting to jewellery making. But don’t feel you need to go big straight away – for example don’t spend all your money on a fancy potter’s wheel when you don’t know that you like pottery yet! There are lots of courses where you can try things out first which is a great way to have a go at a lot of different things and not end up with a load of expensive kit that you don’t need! (full disclosure – my hallway cupboard is jam packed with slightly obscure crafts that I have had a bit of a go at and then moved on to the next thing!)
Is there a crafty tool that you couldn’t live without?
Hmmmm, I have hundreds of cake tools, so many that my kitchen is full and I have had to start keeping them in the boot of my car! One of my favourites is quite simple, it’s a rotating cake stand, it makes getting frosting smooth so much easier and means that you don’t do that awkward thing where the front of the cake looks great but you have completely forgotten to give the back any love!
Is there a piece of work you are most proud of?
In terms of what’s in the show, I was super proud of the knife I made, it was something completely new and really quite technical, luckily I had a brilliant teacher. I use it every day and every day I think….bloody hell, I made this! But outside of the show I was really proud of the wedding cake that I made for my cousin recently…it was a beast! But it was so lovely to make something for her and her husband on their wedding day – that’s one of the things that I love most about craft, gifts that you make with your own two hands seem to mean more.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Well, I must admit I am a big fan Instagram and Pinterest, I love looking at trends and what other people make, there are so many talented people out there and I really like what a supportive community there is the craft world! I read quite a lot of blogs too and buy all the magazines…I can’t get enough really!
Why do you think crafting is having such a resurgence lately, what keeps it popular?
Oh I think it is a whole mix of things….I think it is partly a response to the incredibly fast pace of life that we all lead, everyone is going at a hundred miles an hour, so if you can find something that makes you take a bit of time out and sit down and concentrate on one thing it can be incredibly relaxing. I think it’s also about the romance and SPECIALNESS of having something handmade, in a world where so much that we own is mass produced and HOMOGENOUS, having something that someone has poured love and time in to is very special. And then on a more tangible level there is inspiration everywhere, a real craft community online and it’s more accessible, there are so many great shops that sell all you need to get started on such a wide range of crafts – it doesn’t need to be prohibitively expensive.
What’s been your funniest/ favourite on-screen moment?
I think the funniest moment was actually when I had a complete DISASTER whilst making silk pyjama bottoms. I had made them lots of times before and had a really simple method, so I was like ‘what can go wrong, simples’ but I had never made them out of silk before – BIG MISTAKE! I was so busy concentrating on not letting the expensive fabric slip or fray that I completely messed up the measurements…when I finished them they were ridiculous – came up to my arm pits. I have never seen the crew laugh so much as when they made me try them on….I really deserved a large glass of wine after that. Silk equals stress to me now!
Do you have a favourite project from Craft it Yourself?
It’s really tricky because I loved so many of the things that I made and like them all for different reasons. The giant knitting was so much fun and really satisfying and looked amazing but then I also loved learning origami because you have to concentrate so hard and it’s so delicate, making soap is really simple and effective and feels a lot like cooking, the knife was fun because it was all fire and hammers, I adore anything cake decorating related so learning some new skills in that area was exciting. And the lads taught me a lot too, learning some woodwork form Robin was brilliant (he is a genius) and Ant letting me loose with some of his power tools was a lot of fun….as you can probably tell, it’s too hard to pick!
Watch Craft It Yourself on Channel 4 on Tuesday nights at 8pm and catch up on previous episodes here.
Don’t forget to visit the blog tomorrow to read our interview with Robin Johnson a bespoke furniture maker and lover of wood.