Category Archives: Meet the experts

Material World: meet the cross stitch experts

The master class is by …

Who? Jamie ‘Mr X Stitch’ Chalmers

Why?  The UK’s most prolific male embroiderer (or ‘manbroiderer’, if you will) is the go-to guy for all things contemporary, quirky and intriguing in the world of needlecraft

Where can I see more? has everything you’ve ever needed to know about contemporary embroidery and needlecraft, but if you really need more of the man, then you should pick up his beautiful book, Push Stitchery. Heading to the Knitting and Stitching show this year? He’s going to be at ALL of them, having curated an embroidery area in London, Dublin and Harrogate.


The insider tricks are from …

Who? Jessica Aldred

Why? Co-author of Adventures in Needlework, Jessica is the don of all things embroidery. No, really. She trained – and then taught – at the Royal School of Needlework in Hampton Court (can you imagine going to university THERE?), and now that she lives in Dubai she writes patterns for the likes of The CrossStitcher and takes on personal commissions.

Where can I see more? The gallery on her website,, is well worth a look, as is the book she wrote with Emily Peacock.


Who? Jacqui Pearce

Why? From fashion and textiles at Manchester University to working as an executive for the likes of Topshop and Fat Face, Jacqui now has a penchant for contemporary-yet-nostalgic design and is the founder of about a zillion companies that sell beautiful things. She’s also a needlepoint designer and writes books.

Where can I see more? Fill your home with beautiful things from Pearl and Earl and Granny Knits, buy contemporary craft kits and materials from Jacqui P , or check out her new book, Supersized Stitches.

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Material World: meet the business experts

There were a hell of a lot of people interviewed for Material World (as you might have guessed from the last few posts). Here are the guys who offered their wisdom about making a bit of cash from your crafting.

Who? Lisa Stickley

Why? She built her textile design company from nothing to make it a household name, so she knows a few things about taking your craft business up a notch. No longer part of the Lisa Stickley brand (this post by Ellie Tenant explains more), she’s building a new company from scratch again, and we have every faith that she’ll boss it.

Where can I see more? Head over to her blog, to read more about her new ventures, Betty and Walter and Ada Rose.

Who? Georgina Blain

Why? She’s the head honcho of Etsy UK’s marketing, the world’s largest handmade marketplace. Nuff said really.

Where can I see more? Follow all the Etsy UK happenings on Twitter, @EtsyUK, or see Georgina’s profile on the site here.

Who? Carrie Tucker

Why? As the Head of Product at Not On The Highstreet, she knows a thing or two about what makes an uber successful online shop.

Where can I see more? When you’re feeling low on inspiration for present ideas, is always a cracking place to head.

Who? Victoria Woodcock

Why? As one of the head honchos of London’s Bust Craftacular fair in Bethnal Green, she’s seen exactly what makes some stalls sell out, and others sell nothing. Plus, as well as her ‘real job’ on the FT, she’s published some beautiful craft books.

Where can I see more? Making Stuff, Making Stuff for Kids and her latest book, State of Craft, can (and should) all be bought from her Amazon author page. Keep up to date with all things Bust here.

Who? Jennifer Pirtle

Why? The American magazine journalist left the States and founded The Make Lounge, the UK’s first contemporary craft workshop studio. With classes on everything from candle making to embroidery, she knows what combination of talent, skill, experience and grit is needed to make it as a craft tutor.

Where can I see more? has everything you need to know about the craft workshops, or if you’re in Islington, drop by the studio because it now has a beautiful little shop in the front.


Who? Lisa Lam

Why? She’s an uber craft blogger at U Handbag (aka she blogs about awesome stuff, and unlike most she ACTUALLY makes a bit of moolah from it). If you want to know anything about making your own bags, she’s the lady to go to.

Where can I see more? Whether you want to buy bag-making supplies or patterns, or take a look at her blog, is the place. Or, buy one of her bag books, The Bag Making Bible and A Bag For All Reasons.

Who? Louise Hall

Why? Co-founder of the Papered Parlour, Louise took the craft workshop format that has become so big, and made it her own. Alongside more traditional lessons, they do everything from photography to wallpaper-printing.

Where can I see more? Book classes, take up residence in their studio or organise your own party at

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Material World: meet the applique experts

The master class is from …

Who? Jan Constantine

Why? Jan’s classic appliqué homewares can be found in the finest department stores in the country – Harrods, Selfridges, Liberty and Fortnum and Mason. Though she uses the traditional technique of appliqué – which can all-too-often look old-fashioned and twee – her designs are so fresh and contemporary.

Where can I see more? Buy cushions, candles, cards, kits and more from, or visit her store in Staffordshire.

The insider tricks are by …

Who? Chloe Owens

Why? Remember that BRILLIANT craft special that Stylist did? Well textile designer Chloe made the cover. When she’s not creating front pages, she’s off writing books, making soft toys, cards, cushions and bespoke canvases.

Where can I see more? Her online home, is a treasure trove of things to buy, free patterns and her blog. All Sewn Up, her latest book, is published by Cico. She tweets at @ChloeOwens.

Who? Michelle Duxbury

Why? Michelle writes about craft – and actually makes it (unlike me, as I never seem to have any spare time. Sigh.) Whether it’s for US blogs or ones that she’s founded, she seeks out the best, most exciting new makers. She’s currently doing a PhD in craft. Which is awesome.

Where can I see more? On Twitter she’s @alabamacupcakes, but for things that are longer than 140 characters, try Dorkadore or The Culture Vulture.

Who? Poppy Treffry

Why? Based in St Ives, this textile designer’s freehand style is what makes her stuff so distinct. Back in the day it was just her and a sewing machine – now she has a team of crack seamstresses helping her make the cushions, purses and other fabric products that sell across the world.

Where can I see more? Online, they’re at If you’re ever passing St Ives, head to their shop (Poppy Treffry, Drill Hall, Chapel Street, St Ives, Cornwall TR26 2LR) or book on one of Poppy’s freehand embroidery courses.

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Material World: meet the feminism expert

There are over 120 experts featured in my book, Material World. Here is the lady who answers the question: is it anti-feminist to craft?

Who? Debbie Stoller

Why? Debbie is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of US magazine BUST and the author of the Stitch ‘n Bitch series of knitting and crocheting books. She is the doyenne of all things craft and feminism.

Where can I see more? Head over it to download the new issue and see the kind of stuff she produces, or buy their most recent book – The Bust DIY Guide To Life. For all things Debbie and craft, the wonderfully-titled Knit Happens website has all you need.

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Material World: meet the eco craft experts

There are over 120 experts featured in my book, Material World. Here are the people quoted in the feature about eco craft …

Who? Kelly Rand

Why? Kelly is co-founder of Hello Craft a non-profit trade association dedicated to the advancement of independent crafters and the handmade movement. She is former editor of Crafting a Green World and still writes for the site, among many others.

Where can I see more? See all of her posts at, visit her website or find out more about Hello Craft.

Who? Ellie Langley

Why? This felt artist runs craft classes at Slack House Farm, the greenest B&B in the UK (yes, there ARE compost toilets). She owns and runs the B&B with her husband and makes items such as bags and coffins from natural fibres.

Where can I see more? Reserve a room at Slack House Farm or take a look at her craft website, Fleece With Altitude.

Who? Ruth Singer

Why? Textile artist Ruth writes book, teaches workshops and creates exhibitions, and specialises in using sustainable and recycled materials. She was selected by the Crafts Council as one of the best new makers of the year at Origin 2006.

Where can I see more? Buy one of her books, Sew it Up and Sew Eco, visit one of her forthcoming exhibitions or take one of her classes in Leicester.

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Material World: meet the jewellery experts

There are over 120 experts featured in my book, Material World. Here are the guys featured in the chapter on how to make jewellery…

The master classes are from ….

Who? Tatty Devine

Why? Rosie Wolfenden and Harriet Vine, founders of this cult jewellery brand, know exactly how to make something from nothing; their first products were made from scrap leather found in a bag on the street

Where can I see more? They have two shops in central London, one in Brick Lane and one in Seven Dials. Buy online at, or check out the book they published last year, How to Make Jewellery (with my editor, the brilliant Hannah Knowles).

Who? Lara Bohinc

Why? The jewellery designer has worked for Gucci and Lanvin, and now her own label is coveted by the likes of Kate Moss, Cheryl Cole and Michelle Obama.

Where can I see more? Visit her Sloan Street shop or buy online at


The insider tricks are by …

Who? Sinead Koehler

Why? She is a jewellery designer (I love her Russian doll necklace the best) and the founder of Brixton’s Crafty Fox market

Where can I see more? Buy jewellery from her Etsy shop, Galavant, or come down to the Crafty Fox Market in Brixton on 8th and 9th of December.


Who? Amity Roach

Why? As well as designing beautiful jewellery, she is Etsy’s UK Community Manager

Where can I see more? Her official work profile is here, you can read the interview she did for MyDeco here, or once her Etsy shop is back up and running, you’ll find that here.

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