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Juliet Bawden InterviewJuliet Bawden

Juliet is the author of over 60 craft books including the newly released The Shirt Off His back (reviewed here) and runs the popular design & craft blog Creative Colour

Hi Juliet, as the author of over 60 different craft books covering a wide range of crafts can you tell us what first triggered you love of crafts?

My mother instilled in me a love of making and creating from a very early age. She sewed, crotched, knitted, made lace and even made all the family clothes. She taught me how to sew. When I went to art school I chose to study Textiles at Camberwell. It was a practical, hands-on course, where we mixed our own dyes and did silk screen printing and weaving.

Do you have a particular favourite craft that you find yourself coming back to or do you like to try as many different crafts as possible?

My favourite crafts are textile based, I love experimenting with dyes and fabrics of all kinds. I particularly like appliqué and sewing.

However, I also have a great passion for Papier Mache as it is such an interesting medium in which to work. It has aPaper Mache Bowl made by Julietn incredible history, particularly in the UK’s midlands and Philadelphia in the USA.

Your books cover sewing, appliqué, paper mache, soft furnishings, stamping, jewellery making... are there any crafts you don’t do? Are there any crafts you still want to learn more about?

I don’t do what are described as ‘hard’ as opposed to ‘soft’ crafts. I don’t weld, turn wood or do glass blowing. I am not sure why but somehow they don’t appeal to me.

I understand that as well as writing craft books you run your own blog, you consult for Dylon, you regularly appear on TV and radio and you are a designer. Please tell us more about these roles.

I wrote craft books in the nineteen eighties and nineties and used to do quite a bit of daytime television often promoting my books. It was at this time I was a consultant to Dylon, and when I had my idea for the first craft series ever broadcast, which ended up on BBC2. I worked as the series consultant as well as finding contributors and doing some presenting.

My blog came much later, after seeing the film ‘Julie and Julia’ I was so inspired. I wanted to do for crafts what she had done for food, and so put something on it everyday for a year. If you look aBaby Crafts by Juliet Bawdent the archives of my blog you can read all the entries.

What lead you into writing craft books?

After leaving art school I taught part time, whilst designing, making and selling my own merchandise. I soon realised that organising, manufacturing and selling were not my forte. Ideas and design is what I am best at, and most interested in.

I started writing ‘Makes’ features for magazines and once I had a track record, it made it much easier to convince a publisher that I could write and design. My first book ‘the baby kit book’ was about making items for babies and young children. By this time I had a five year old and a 3 year old and I worked around their school and nursery hours. I soon realised that for me this was a perfect way to make a living , I loved being able to make and design and end up with a lovely product at the end of it- A book.

Do you have any time management secrets you can pass on to the rest of us who would struggle to do even half what you do?

I have had four children and always worked. I have been lucky to be able to work from home and to work round my children.’s school hours. I had a great childminder for years and then aupair’s after that. I am fortunate to be marThe Shirt Off His Back Juliet Bawdenried to someone who does more than most men do on the domestic and child- rearing front. My youngest child has just left for uni so I no longer have the same time restrictions that I had, and am now free to be as creative as I like.

Having said all this, it is not quite as idyllic as it sounds, I was seriously ill ten years ago. It made me reassess how hard I was working, I also felt that the quality of my output was not what it had been and so I took a change of direction. I went back to doing magazine features, and started running a locations agency for film and television shoots. However, if you are a maker it is a compulsion, in the blood, almost like oxygen is to other people, and so I have just completed my first craft book in ten years.

Can you tell us about your current book The Shirt of His Back?

When the banks first got into trouble my initial reaction was not quite like other peoples. I pondered over what would happen to all those lovely banker’s shirts, and thought perhaps something could be made from them. The book is the result, the recycling of shirts into pretty and functional objects for both the person and the home.The art and craft of applique

Can you tell us about some of the previous sewing related books you have written?

‘The art and craft of Applique’ is my most general sewing book. However, most of my books have elements of sewing in them, my favourites being, ‘The cushion book,’ ‘The hat book,’ and ‘Hearts.’

Are you working on a new book at the moment? Are you able to tell us what it is about, when it will be released etc

Currently I am working up a few ideas to present to my publisher. Illustrated books cost a lot of money to produce so there must be international sales which means that your ideas have world wide appeal.

What are Juliet Bawden Creative Salvageyou goals/plans for the future?

I want to expand and improve my blog. I love the internet, particularly the craft community. Designers and makers are very generous people willing to share and enjoy their crafts together, and I am delighted to be part of that community. I am currently designing a range of goods to be manufactured – but not by me, and am stewing over ideas for my next craft book. 
 

Find out more about Juliet and her current projects at https://creativecolour.org/