Category Archives: Meet the experts

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 (

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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.

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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.

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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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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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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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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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Material World: meet the creativity experts

It’s hard to be creative when you’re not in the mood. So, in Material World, I recruited these two awesome designers to explain how they get in the mood for making …


Who? Emma Bridgewater

Why? Everyone knows an Emma Bridgewater coffee mug or plate when they see it; the Oxford-based designer has created the most iconic range of ceramics of the last decade

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Who? Donna Wilson

Why? In 2010 Donna Wilson was named Designer of the Year at the British Design Awards, and her cushions, ceramics and creatures are now sold across the world.

Where can I see more?

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Material World: meet the legends


Who? Kaffe Fassett

Why? For four decades this artist has reigned supreme over the world of textiles, creating the most sought-after quilts, mosaics and knits.

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Who? Emily Peacock

Why? Emily revolutionised the world of needlepoint with her colourful, contemporary tapestry kits; it’s never been quite the same (or as quaint and crusty) since

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Who? Rachael Matthews

Why? You can hold Rachael responsible for the modern craft craze; it all started when her knitting group, Cast Off, hit the headlines for knitting in pubs back in 2003. She now runs the Prick Your Finger knitting shop.

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Who? Amy Butler

Why? Every haberdashery I’ve been in to in the last five years has stocked this designer’s fabric. No wonder she’s so in-demand; the patterns and colours she uses are simply stunning

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Who? Dawn Bibby

Why? The former QVC presenter is probably the craft world’s biggest celebrities. Her scrapbooking and paper craft designs have garnered her a legion of dedicated followers who lap up her TV shows, blogposts, products and much more.

Where can I see more? Dawn Bibby Crafting

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Material World: meet the milliners

The master classes are by …

Who? Philip Treacy

Why? The legendary hat designer has created some of the world’s finest headpieces, for the likes of Chanel, Givenchy and Ralph Lauren. He was the most in-demand milliner at the Royal wedding, and designed the fascinator worn by SJP at the first Sex and the City premiere.

Where can I see more?


Who? Katherine Elizabeth

Why? The roll call of Katherine’s fans is a long and distinguished line; she’s worked with Stephen Jones, created headpieces for Dior and John Galliano shows and her hats have graced the heads of Lilly Allen, Dita Von Teese, Henry Holland and many more.

Where can I see more?


The insider tricks are from …

Who? Kate Underdown

Why? She’s worked with the likes of Stephen Jones, but we love her not for her connections but for her beautiful vintage trimmings and unique shapes.

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Who? Piers Atkinson

Why? The couture milliner started life working with Zara Rhodes on her PR, and when he graduated to millinery he started dressing the heads of Kate Moss, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Kelis and Cate Blanchett.

Where can I see more?

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Material World: meet the artists

What makes some craft art and some craft just, well, craft? Material World features answers by these amazing names…

Who? Grayson Perry

Why? The Turner Prize-winning artist is best known for his incredible, and controversial, ceramics and tapestries (and dressing as his alter-ego, Claire)

Where can I see more? Perry is represented by the Victoria Miro gallery and their site is the best place to find out more about him. The William Morris gallery, which has just reopened in Lloyd Park, Walthamstow is exhibiting one of Perry’s tapestries at the moment.


Who? Rob Ryan

Why? Ryan’s unique style of paper cut is instantly recognisable and found everywhere from galleries to the side of mugs.

Where can I see more? is Ryan’s online HQ, but he blogs at You can buy his stuff everywhere from Etsy to TAG Fine Arts, and don’t forget the selection of books he’s published too.


Who? Kate Jenkins

Why? Back in the day she was a successful knitwear designer, creating patterns for everyone from Debenhams to Marc Jacobs: now, her knits can be found in London’s Rebecca Hossack gallery. Expect exceptionally witty knits based around food, porn and much more.

Where can I see more? Her fine art knits are represented by Rebecca Hossack, but for all things Kate Jenkins – including her Cardigan knitting label – visit Cardigan.


Who? Tracey Emin

Why? One of the YBAs, and a Turner prize nominee (for the unmade bed, My Bed) Emin has almost single-handed raised the profile of needlework as a fine art.

Where can I see more? Should you need to learn more, her studio website is for you – if you want to buy an Emin (whether it’s a print or a Christmas bauble, it’s Emin International.

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Material World: meet the leather experts

The master classes are by …


Who? Julie Deane

Why? She’s the founder of The Cambridge Satchel Company and her iconic, British-made satchels have a cult celebrity following. She has collaborated with the likes of Comme des Garçons and ASOS, and her bags have appeared in fashion glossies across the world. (And yes, she was on that Google ad.)

Where can I see more?


Who? Nat Thakur

Why? The former Mulberry and Ghost leather designer now has her own range of high-end leather piece; purses resemble like giant coins and, on first glance, her most well-know collection of bags look like throw-away grocery or sweet shop bags.

Where can I see more?


The insider tricks are from …

Who? Zoe Larkins

Why? She’s the founder of Hetty and Dave, the leather accessories brand that has been worn by the likes of Amy Winehouse, Mary Portas and Jodie Harsh. Think brooches, necklaces and shoes.

Where can I see more?


Who? Nneka Onyenakala

Why? She’s the founder and designer of N’Damus London (the Noisette’s Shingai Shonwai is a big fan of her purses and handbags).

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Who? Tovi Sorga

Why? From phone cases to beautiful bracelets, Tovi is the leather designer and founder of ToviCorrie.

Where can I see more? Whether you’re a fan of Etsy or Folksy, they’ve got a shop on both.

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Material World: meet the men who craft

Material World is full of little profiles of some of the many wonderful people who populate the craft world. Here are a few of the men I featured. Because, yes, men make too.

Who? Ben Venom

Why? The textile artist blends two very different cultures – patchworking and heavy metal – and in doing so creates some very unusual and impressive quilts that are exhibited across America

Where can I see more? For details of his forthcoming exhibitions, and for a gallery of his amazing stuff, visit Alternatively, head over to his blog.


Who? John-Paul Flintoff

Why? The Sunday Times journalist is partial to a bit of make do and mend, and can often be found patching holes in his wife’s shirts and making his own jeans.

Where can I see more? has details of his writing, speaking and other projects and you should check out his two books, Sew Your Own and How to Change The World.


Who? Phil Davidson

Why? He’s the founder of Urban Cross Stitch, and the mastermind behind the iconic Banksy kits hat helped shake up the dreary world of cross stitch.

Where can I see more? Buy patterns and kits at, or take a look at his brilliant book, Twisted Stitches.

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