Category Archives: Material World: The Modern Craft Bible

Birthday! Book! Giveaway!

On this day last year I published by first book, Material World: The Modern Craft Bible. It features 100+ of some of the finest makers and designers in, in my opinion, the world. Really, I cannot believe so many brilliant people let me interview them.

A massive thank you to everyone who was part of it, who wrote about it and who bought it. I’ve got a copy spare, so to celebrate, I’m doing a little giveaway. Tell me your favourite blog or website (yup, it can be your own) before 11.59pm at Sunday 10 November (GMT) and I’ll do the random number draw thing, sign it and send it to one of you.


Filed under • WIN STUFF, Craft + books, Craft books, Material World: The Modern Craft Bible, Mini brags, Things I've written

Company magazine is THE BEST.

They feature SO much craft. And not boring, dull craft either – it’s the good stuff.

And they were kind enough to quote me in a feature in this issue, in this brilliant piece by Kerry Potter.




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Filed under Craft + fashion, Craft in the glossy mags, Crafty musings, Material World: The Modern Craft Bible, Things that I have done, Uncategorized

Material World: meet the paper cutting experts

The masterclasses are by …


Who? Jonathan ‘Mr Yen’ Chapman

Why? From Dr Seuss quotes to the most delicate feathers, this artist cuts magic into each piece of paper he gets his hands on (

Where can I see more?


Who? Claire Brewster

Why? It’s a painstaking job to hand-cut intricate flora and fauna from old maps and atlases, but Claire makes it look effortless and incredibly beautiful: it’s the reason her work has been exhibited in galleries across the world.

Where can I see more?


The insider tricks are from …

Who? Katrine Hildebrand

Why? This paper artist creates some of the most beautiful, contemporary patterned paper cutting that I’ve seen.

Where can I see more?


Who? Bovey Lee

Why? The painstakingly intricate work that Bovey does is beyond impressive – to the eye it looks near impossible for the human hand to make.

Where can I see more?


Who? Kris Trappeniers

Why? His portraits are like no other. That’s because he makes them from paper and cuts every minute detail by hand.

Where can I see more?


Who? Mike Lomax

Why? The stories told by the paper illustrator’s work can be witty, personal, incredibly deep, or all of the above – and are well worth a look.

Where can I see more?

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Filed under Craft + art, Meet the experts

Behind the scenes: the photoshoot

The location: Photographer Luke’s Hackney studio
The team: Luke (the photographer), Samira (the stylist and her lovely lovely interns), me
The food: jacket potatoes with lashings of cheese and beans, snack pots of flapjacks and cornflake cakes from Sainsburys

Five days. Shed loads of paint and paper and pins and Blu Tak. Luke and Samara being the two most awesome creatives I’ve had the pleasure of working with (a huge thanks to Liz Simon for recommending Luke, and to Luke for recommending Samara). Me finishing off projects just minutes before they were to be shot. Luke trying to shoot before it got dark. Samara making those things I’d just finished making look 10 times better. All of us doing our absolute best to make this these pictures the best they could be. I think we managed it. Thank you guys. You absolutely bossed it.

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Material World: meet the craft group experts

Wanna start your own craft group? Or even just bottle up enough courage to try out your local maker meeting? No worries, in Material World the founders of the UK’s biggest and best craft groups are here to advise.


Who? Deborah Daniel

Why? She’s founder of the East London Craft Guerrilla, an organisation who hosts events, writes blogs, curates shops and galleries and does all kinds of craft awesomeness in my neck of the woods, Walthamstow.

Where can I see more?


 Who? Louise Williams

 Why? She’s the Crafty Pint extraordinaire, behind the lovely dual London events, Crafty Pint South (in Tooting) and Crafty Pint North (more often than not, in Crouch End). The group behind the events are a mixture of makers who want to promote local artisans and creatives and keep people shopping local.

 Where can I see more?


Who? Nico Dawson

Why? Not only is she head events honcho for the Manchester Craft Mafia, she’s also the lady behind the Manchester craft night Lo-Fi. As well as all that, she makes trinkets and buttons under the guise of Ophelia Button.

Where can I see more? //


Who? Francine Schokker

Why? Birmingham’s premier craft space, Creative Open Workshops (better – and more amusingly – known as COW) is an artist-run project that runs craft fairs, nights, events and more – and Francine is one of their star tutors.

Where can I see more?

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Filed under Craft events, Crafty happenings, Meet the experts

Material World: meet the craftastrophe experts

They’re here to stop making a good awful mess of your crafting: read their top advice in Material World and there’s every chance you’ll be lucky and WON”T end up on one of their blogs.


Who? Jen Farley

Why? The blogger behind Craigs Dump, a VERY funny site that gathered the very worst of the worst listings on popular US site Craig’s list

Where can I see more?


Who? Renee Nichols

Why? If you make something that looks crap and post it on the web, she WILL track you down and post it on her blog, Craftastrophe. Because like the tagline says, handmade isn’t always pretty.

Where can I see more?


Who? Heather Mann

Why? Admit to your epic craft fails to Heather and she WILL post them on her blog, Craft Fail. But she will be nice about your misfortunes, don’t worry. Well, nice-ish.

Where can I see more?


Who? Jen Yates

Why? Because Cake Wrecks, her blog that – yep, you’ve guessed it, charts the most awful and hilarious attempts at baking on the web – is absolutely brilliant.

Where can I see more?


Who? April Winchell

 Why? The most successful of these craft fail blogs is Regretsy, the blog that picks out the very worst Etsy sellers and the trash they try and flog. April – the actress, voiceover artist, presenter and all round celebrity type person – secured a Random House book deal for this blog, and also started a foundation based around it to raise cash for charity.

 Where can I see more?


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Filed under Craft on the interweb, Craft that is shit, Material World: The Modern Craft Bible


This is pretty big news. I always wanted people to think of this as more than just a niche craft book, and being stocked in a shop like Anthropologie (albeit maybe just in the Chelsea store – I only know that because the lovely Lucy Beresford tweeted me this picture) hopefully means people do.

I’m off to go celebrate with a pint or three.

If you happen to spot it anywhere awesome, I’d be super grateful if you’d tweet me the link.


UPDATE: ARGH!! It’s been spotted in the Regents Street store too (thanks Shoestring Splendor for spotting it, and to Holly Becker, founder of Decor8, who took this snap of her own book and tweeted it. MW just snuck in the corner.)

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Material World: meet the healthy craft experts

Making is fantastic way to boost your mood and combat stress (I explain why in the pages of Material World). Here are the two experts I interviewed about it …

Who? Betsan Corkhill

Why? Having noticed an onslaught of anecdotal evidence about the feel-good effect of craft, the physiotherapist-turned-knitting therapist set up Stitch Links in 2005, an organisation dedicated to researching what’s actually going on when we make.

Where can I see more? Head over to

Who? Dr Joanne Turney

Why? The design historian, who is based at Bath Spa University, has studied the psychological impact of textiles.

Where can I see more? The Bath Spa University website has details of her past, present and future works, as does the Bath School of Art and Design.

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Wanna win a copy of Material World?

Then head over to Frankly, the Folksy magazine, who are running a competition to win five copies.

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Meet the experts: the crafters who make porn

There’s some pretty hot and heavy stuff being crafted out there, and in Material World I speak to three ladies about why they craft this kind of X-rated stuff.


Who? Ferret

Why? Among the traditional quilts in Ferret’s collection you’ll find a handful of impressive nudes, painstakingly created in patchwork. The fact she mastered her craft before she tackled the more explicit designs means that her quilting technique is stitch perfect.

Where can I see more? has a gallery of her patchwork nudes, as well as details of the workshops she runs and the longarm quilting service she offers.


Who? Bee Franck

Why? This stitcher mashes classic (meaning ‘boring’) cross-stitch patterns with everyone’s favourite sarcastic, explicit, and offensive phrases.

Where can I see more? Her Tumbler has some of the best examples of her work. Or, head over to where she is one of the editors. Her Etsy shop is BeeFranck and she tweets at @beefranck.


Who? Alaina Varrone

Why? Alaina is just as happy stitching pictures of alien abductions and Converse trainers as she is graphic scenes of erotic sex (yes, there are vaginas).

Where can I see more? Buy Alaina’s work from her Etsy shop, or see the full range on or on her Flickr page. Alternatively, head over to Mr X Stitch’s NSFW Saturdays series where you can see more of her stuff.

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Filed under Meet the experts, Uncategorized