Meet Hannah, another member of Make It Shabby’s fabulously talented team.
Hannah is a London based arts obsessive, and a bit of a magpie when it comes to craft, always with a project on the go and looking for new skills to learn. She runs award winning craft and cabaret mash-up event Crafternoon Cabaret Club where you can get creative in a craft workshop while watching top notch cabaret and variety acts, and also has a blog filled with tutorials, craft musings and creative lifestyle writing.
Grab a cuppa, sit back and get to know Hannah better with our quick interview:
How long have you been crafting for? How did you begin and do you have any early memories that stick in your mind?
I’ve always been quite creative but it’s been channelled in lots of different directions. As a child we would spend all of our free time drawing, painting, cutting and sticking, or writing stories, making plays and performances. My mum used to sew and make clothes (including my sisters prom dress!) and I think that feeling of excitement when confronted with time and table full of materials never really left me. I went on to study theatre, eventually working in arts and education. It was when I realised that I was focusing all my energy into helping others to be creative but not myself that I re-embraced craft again and started my blog.
Do you have any crafting disaster stories that you can laugh about now but didn’t feel very funny at the time?
So many! I love trying new skills all the time but I’m also quite an impatient person and I like to get good at skills quickly. This meant my first few attempts at knitting were pretty disastrous because you need to give yourself time to develop the technique. I remember sitting with these amazing ladies that had been knitting all their lives and making mistake after mistake until they told me I wasn’t allowed to speak to them any more until I’d completed 2 rows! I love talking to people and hearing about their lives so I kept getting distracted!
What other skills do you have? Is there anything you’d like to try but haven’t done yet?
I love making fancy dress costumes! I’m getting more confident and more daring with my knitting, I love papercut and sewing and I really enjoy singing and playing the ukulele (badly). Sometimes my boyfriend and I have jam sessions at home which is a wonderfully different want to be creative.
It’s something I’m involved in every single day and I absolutely love it. I love theatre, dance, performance, art, craft, music and design and my ideal life is one where I’m watching, exploring, making and learning about art and creativity every day.
Please can you tell us a little about Crafternoon Cabaret Club? Where did the idea come from? How does it work?
Crafternoon Cabaret Club began in 2013 when I decided I needed to be more creative for myself. After my first disastrous knitting attempts I realised I was not a natural lone-crafter: I wanted to be with people, having a chat, maybe a glass of wine as well as making. That’s the atmosphere I try to create at Crafternoon Cabaret Club. The craft changes every month so it’s perfect for crafters like me that want to try a bit of everything. I also design the crafts to be accessible to beginners but have lots of room for embellishment by experienced makers, and I always provide a great big table of materials so that each person can stamp their own personality onto their creation.
I absolutely love cabaret, comedy and variety style performances and I’ve found they bring the energy up in the room and bring everyone together through the audience experience. It’s also a fun distraction if you’re not feeling that inspired one day or if you’re someone who worries about creativity and being able to finish a perfect project. Everyone is creative: you just need the right setting to bring it out and sometimes the most creative way to work is playing with fabric, embellishments and design just to see what works.
What advice would you give to other crafters who are just starting out?
I would say meet people and make friends: the crafting community, particularly online are lovely and very inspiring. Next: make sure you start by making for you so you love it and stay energised and excited by what you’re doing. Craft should be a joy – even if you’re expanding it into a business. I still get really excited thinking about new projects for my blog, or for future events, and it’s great for my practice because I get to learn new techniques and build on my craft knowledge.
This year I’m really keen to grow my blog – I’m expanding it to include wider artforms as well as craft so it really reflects what I’m doing day to day. I’m also hoping to take Crafternoon Cabaret Club to it’s first festival and I’ve been thinking about bringing out a DIY Kits range. In 2014 I won the Creative Idea Award in the Mollie Makes Handmade Awards and that gave me such a boost of confidence that I’d love to build on the events too. But mainly I just want to keep loving what I do and making the most of any opportunities that come my way!
Keep up with the latest from Hannah on Twitter at @han_coxy.