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Women Who Create / Els Pontin. This week I am super happy to introduce Els Pontin to the Women Who Create Things interview Series! I was introduced to Els through a peer and have been lucky enough to work with her as my creative business coach for the last year and let me tell you it has been life changing. I’m sure you will love this weeks post!

Tell us a little about your background…

Hello! I’m Els and I’m a Creative Business Coach.

I help creative women entrepreneurs move from a lack of vision to clear, purposeful action – to build and grow brilliant yet balanced businesses. For the last fourteen years I have worked from within and led businesses – everything from boutiques to internationally acclaimed, globally admired technology companies.

Despite this successful career path, I wasn’t following my purpose. I wanted to spend my every waking hour working on the things that made me and others thrive – that created energy rather than depleted me. This started a journey of self discovery, transforming my skills and superpowers into a coherent plan! That plan turned out to be coaching, and last year I qualified as a Professionally Certified Coach with iPec (Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching)

els ponting and OhNoRachio

Do you have creative habits or rituals within your work that help you stay focused and happy?

Absolutely! Firstly, the space in which I work and create needs to be clear of anything that isn’t beautiful or clutter free.

els pontin studio

That being said, I’m sometimes best working with ambient noise such as a coffee shop or outside in the sunshine. It makes me get far less cabin fever.

What two things can’t you live without?

Cheese. And prosecco. Oh god…and dark chocolate! (Sorry! I know it’s supposed to be only two but I just can’t chose!)

What is your biggest source of inspiration?

The people around me. Usually inspiration strikes when someone tells me they’re stuck on something, or, when they tell me they’ve spotted something I must read.

els ponting coaching

What is the meaning of craft to you?

A handmade, non mass produced expression of love, that is unique and special. Something that has memories stitched within it, and a story behind it. My most favourite day crafting was a willow wreath making course in Somerset one Christmas. It was magical.

If you could collaborate on a creative project or idea with anyone… who would it be & why?

I would partner with Amy to invent an incredible retreat for brilliant, talented creative women, who want to craft, laugh, eat great food and plan for success in their businesses.

Do you have a favourite piece of equipment that inspires your day to day process?

My iPhone. It’s attached to me most of the day.

What is the best thing about running your business?

The freedom! No more doing what someone else tells you to do. The ability to create from scratch.

els ponting coaching

What is your proudest creative moment in your journey so far?

Standing on the same stage Steve Jobs stood on over in California with the Global training team I’d been selected for and had spent three weeks with. I will never forget that moment. It was a moment that showed me just what I was capable of, and that nothing, absolutely nothing will hold me back ever again.

If you are feeling the sparks of inspiration after reading Els post perhaps this is the push you need to take some action and drop her a line! If like me you run a small creative business but are a little bit stuck, demotivated or lack a future plan I cannot recommend working with a creative business coach enough.

Inspiration / Paper Flower Craft Favourites. I am continuously inspired by the many many diy tutorials for paper flower projects over on Pinterest! Though many can look super complicated in fact it can be simple to achieve the look by making just a couple of favourite crepe blooms, perfecting that style and repeating in different colours. If you then add lots of green foliage to fill out your design it won’t take half as long but still look totally amazing! Below I have shared 6 of my current favourite paper flower craft projects. I have chosen a mixture because I wanted to show that its as much to do with how you style and display your creation, as it is the amount of blooms you create!

So my tips are as follows…

  • find 2 flowers or petal shapes you like and feel confident in creating…
  • make a bunch of these!
  • intersperse with simple shaped greenery and leaves…
  • keep your design simple
  • create strings of leaves or wire framed garlands to attach your blooms to
  • UHU glue or other fast drying tacky glue works best when attaching petals
  • floristry tape (waxed) hides a multitude of sins when used to finish/wrap stems
  • hang in your favourite spot and admire

 

Paper flower craft favourites_72dpi

 

Find links to these brilliant images over on Pinterest by clicking through below

  1. Hanging Graland
  2. Display by Zoe Bradly via HonestlyWTF
  3. Kindness Prevails Garland via DesignSponge
  4. Giant Blooms 
  5. Crepe Flower Backdrop by Lia Griffith
  6. Flower Garland

If you live local to Nottingham you could also join me for a morning of paper flower crafting on Saturday 20th August at Bee & Bird Mapperly! You can find tickets and full info on the event page here. Please do not hesitate in emailing me if you want to know more about this post, the workshop or anything else craft related at Super+Super!

Happy crafting

Amy x

Women Who Create / Wendy Ward. This week I have the pleasure of talking to Wendy of MIY studio and best selling author fame. I was mega lucky to get to know Wendy whilst I lived in Brighton and am constantly inspired by her drive, creative passion and sheer brilliant business focus. Her no nonsense attitude and keen eye for details continues to propel this women in business to new heights. Find out more about what inspires her creative life below!

Tell us a little about your background…

I’m Wendy Ward and I’m the owner of MIY Workshop in Brighton where I teach sewing, dressmaking and pattern cutting. I’ve been teaching adults to sew since 2007. Before that I spent 7 years working as a designer and product developer in the fashion industry. I have a degree in fashion and MA and I’m a qualified teacher. I also design my own range of sewing patterns called MIY Collection and have written a bestselling dressmaking book “The Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking”, I’m currently working on book number 2 and I also write a regular column for Love Sewing magazine.

MIYworkshop-outside

Do you have creative habits or rituals within your work that help you stay focused and happy?

I can’t function without a list. I’ve recently added a selection of highlighter pens so that I can prioritise the items on the list! I get outdoors regularly (having 2 dogs helps that) and love going to the gym to unwind.

What two things can’t you live without?

Yorkshire Gold tea and my 2 dogs – Gypsy and Marmite.

wendy wards dogs

What is your biggest source of inspiration? 

Materials, techniques, how people wear their clothes and the way clothes need to function. I suspect in another life I could’ve been an engineer or an architect!

MIYworkshop-inside

What is the meaning of ‘craft’ to you? 

Something made by the human hand. A practice that requires skill. The creation of something with soul, character and meaning.

If you could collaborate on a creative project or idea with anyone… who would it be & why? 

Cristobal Balenciaga – an absolute master of pattern cutting, shape and silhouette, I love how he challenged the accepted idea of what a woman’s shape “ought” to be even back in the 50’s and 60’s when most things were hourglass shaped. His attention to detail and the way he made the most complex construction appear simple I find really inspiring. He was a true master of his craft.

Do you have a favourite piece of equipment that inspires your day to day process?

I’m more inspired by materials and techniques and playing around with fabric and shapes.

fabrics-JulianWard

What is the best thing about running your *business/blog/working for yourself? 

Not having to answer to anyone else; not being told when I can take my lunch break and when I can have time off. Being able to follow through creative ideas without needing to convince someone else of their merit.

What is your proudest creative moment in your journey so far?

The success of my first book “The Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking”. I loved writing that book, I love the look of it and I’m still blown away by how successful it is. Over a year since it was published it’s still in Amazon’s top 3 bestselling Dressmaking books.

miycollectionimage Find more inspiration, projects and products including her best selling pattern cutting book on the MIY shop now!

Upcycle / DIY Desk Organiser

I have been meaning to post this project for a while and finally got it up on the wall this weekend! If like me you are always losing track of your keys, lists and often leave the house thinking you’ve left something behind this little upcycle diy is probably just what you need! Its so simple and is just created by using up bits and bobs left from old projects and a few diy components from the shed.

You will need:

An unused picture frame

Piece of peg board (bigger than frame)

Glue gun

Cord

Scissors

Saw/Stanley knife

Washi & cello tapes

pencil

screw hooks and bulldog clips

The nature of using up old bits and bobs means that everyone will come out with a different shape or sized piece which I think is kind of cool. All you need to do is…

1 – Remove glass and back panel from frame

2 – Trace around the frame onto your peg board to get the right sizing, then cut board down to size (Be careful here!)

3 – Heat up glue gun and squeeze around the back edge of your frame, press board in place!

glue white peg board into place behind gold frame

4 – cut a couple of roughly 10″ pieces of cord and wrap frayed ends with cello tape. now poke through from back to front and through holes in bulldog clips to secure. Finish on messy side of frame.

 

5 – Screw in hooks securely and then add washi tape to decorate!

SAMSUNG CSC

Super Craft Kit Bags Have Landed! If you follow my Instagram you will have seen a lot of pom-pom making recently… well today I can reveal why. The new limited edition range of Super+Super craft kit project bags are here! And my first range of crochet kits will hit Etsy in the next couple of weeks. I have been working on getting back into the making and products side of Super+Super for several months now, and slowly but surely after the release of my new on-line craft classes and website re-brand it has all fallen into place.

I am mega excited to share with you this first craft project bag design. Screen printed in my favourite teal colour by the awesome guys at DizzyInk Nottingham and hand sewn by me this new product is 100% hand made and the antidote to tangled yarns and chaotic craft projects!

There will be only 20 of these lovely hand made bags to begin with. I’m keeping things small run and special :)

If like me you always have several yarn based projects on the go you will probably already be a fan of the cotton tote bag (I literally have 4 craft projects bags in use atm!) or craft project bag. These little beauty’s measure approx 28cm x 32cm and fit up to 8 balls of yarn! Perfect for the crafty commuter or summer holiday project. With a draw string top and 3 colourful pom-poms to decorate. I hope you enjoy! I will be releasing *NEW*crochet craft kits + some limited edition products during August so join the newsletter here if you’d like to be the first to get access and know new release dates.

Scroll down for my 10 Tips For Happy Crafting!

super+super craft kits project bags super+super craft kits project bags

super+super craft kits project bags

super+super craft kits project bags

Watch this space for Super+Super craft project kits which will be hitting my Etsy shop very soon!
super+super craft kits project bags

10 Tips For Happy Crafting

  • Never be afraid to start something new – you can always unravel and start again if it doesn’t work out
  • Always keep your yarn balls wound up neatly – tangled yarn is a crochet fans worst nightmare!
  • Join your local stitch & bitch or craft social – you will meet some awesome new people
  • Take a small note book and pen with you everywhere – you never know when a new idea will strike!
  • Share your favourite projects with friends and crafty peers on IG – Its a great way to stay inspired
  • Use crafty hashtags on social media – My current favourite’s include #cbloggers #modernmaker #makersgonnamake #crochetgirlgang #creativecommunity #supermakes #myhandsmaking #buyhandmade #creativehappylife #creativityfound #abmcrafty
  • Tea & Cake a happy Crafter make
  • Take time on a weekend to read a few of your favourite craft/creative blogs, comment and see what is inspiring your peers
  • Keep a scrap book or folder of magazine tear outs, flyers and crafty bits like fabric samples
  • Charity shops – my favourite place to find unusual/retro craft books, random supplies and garments to refashion!

I am seriously excited to introduce this week’s peer to the series! Welcome Sarah Corbett the founder of The Craftivist Collective and one of my (and I suspect many of your’s) craft heroes to the ‘Women Who Create Things’ interview series. I was lucky enough to join Sarah and a group of lovely ladies and gents last year in Brighton when we took part in a craft activism stitch-in outside M&S. It was a brilliant couple of hours that sits high on my life achievements list.

Tell us a little about your background…

I am the founder of Craftivist Collective a social enterprise and community of people who do effective, gentle and beautiful activism using craft (needlework mostly) to tackle poverty and injustice in a beautiful, kind and just way. I’m from Liverpool but live in London. I’ve been an activist since the age of 3 and worked as a professional campaigner for large charities before setting up the collective because of the demand of people wanting to join in this slow, mindful and intriguing form of activism. As well as providing tools and kits for craftivists around the world to do alone or in groups I also work with charities, art institutions and universities around the world to help them do craftivism with their audiencessarah corbett craftivit with a group of studens out a lovely london cafe

 

Do you have creative habits or rituals within your work that help you stay focused and happy?

I always strive for our craftivism products and services to be beautiful, positive and the process is mediative for the maker to get the most out of it. Plus I made a manifesto as a checklist for our work

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What two things can’t you live without?

Music – I love crafting to instrumental music to calm me down but also help me think

Creative activity – If I didn’t have something creative I can make with my hands I think it would really harm my mental health. It’s so fun and empowering making stuff whether it’s a birthday card or craftivism kit

What is your biggest source of inspiration?

Too many! Reading Dumbo Feature magazine and all the amazing interviews in it with change makers, beautiful films that absorb me into their world, people watching!

What is the meaning of ‘craft’ to you?

For me craft is making something that requires learning and honing a skill to make the thing as beautiful and useful as possible.

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If you could collaborate on a creative project or idea with anyone… who would it be & why?

Can I cheat and say that I’ve recently finished my dream collaboration with one of my heroes? It was with Sophie Howarth (who co-founded The School of Life) for her new business Department Store for the Mind. We made ‘Tools for Changemakers’ and the process was as amazing as I had hoped and we are very proud of the results here

Do you have a favourite piece of equipment that inspires your day to day process?

I stitched a message on a canvas footprint here that I have on my bookshelf in my bedroom. I spot it before I leave my room each morning and it really helps challenge me to live intentionally and ethically and not just be on fast autopilot each day to get through my emails

What is the best thing about running your *business/working for yourself?

All of the emails, letters and online comments from people saying how much they find my tools and services so useful for them in their journey to being a good global citizen. Priceless and so inspiring!

What is your proudest creative moment in your journey so far?

I could say it’s when Malala or Russell Brand came to one of my workshops and talks or teaching students at Bauhaus University how to use their design skills to improve our world but for me it’s knowing that I’ve helped people feel part of a community of like minded gentle craftivists sharing their process, ‘crafter-thoughts’ and craftivism pieces with each other and others to engage people in social justice.

Truly inspiring stuff, thank you for sharing some amazing insight with us Sarah! Find more on The Craftivit Collective blog and in the shop

Event / Craft Social Nottingham. In the name of trying to be super organised now I have this shiny new website, I thought i’d post about all the upcoming dates for our Nottingham Stitch&Bitch Craft Social. That way those of you who want to come along to a future event will have all the info to find our little creative group in the heart of Notts!

So what is it? Its a FREE monthly craft social held at The Malt Cross Nottingham. A casual evening of crafting. You bring along your current craft project or inspiration and join a bunch of like minded creative folk who just wanna craft, chat and have a brew/vino!

Each month new faces join and friendships are formed. And I am extremely happy to say that we have now been meeting for 8 months! Its a very friendly group which varies in size each month. No one ever brings the same projects which is really exciting to see. From crochet doughnuts to hand made bobbin lace we welcome all genres of craft enthusiast!

So here are some dates for the next couple of months…

Thursday 21st July

Thursday 18th August

Wednesday 14th September

Wednesday 5th October

Wednesday 2nd November

Wednesday 14th December

We meet from 7-9pm upstairs in ‘The Snug’ at The Malt Cross. I have also now created a dedicated Facebook group for the event so we can chat, share pictures from the social and craft tips etc. You can find/join that here. If you have any questions or just want to say hi! before you come to the social email Amy at hello@supersuperhq.com

Looking forward to seeing you all soon x

 

malt cross stitch & Bitch craft social poster

Inspiration / Pantone & Yarn. Combining Pantone colour cards and yarn shades for a fun mini inspiration project. Choosing colours can often be confusing and a barrier to getting stuck into a new project… but finding inspiration in them is almost magical! In this post I share a few snaps I took whilst planning a new project and will share more combinations as the project develops. The cards are simple paint colour cards from B&Q which as soon as I saw obviously snapped up one of each! Irresistible. Many of you will be fans of the Pantone project on IG and I guess this is a little yarnspiration based around that.

Do you have a special way you choose colours, yarns, fabrics? Do you use pegs to wrap yarn? How do you overcome times of creative burnout? Or even overwhelm!?

There are so many visually gorgeous ways to get the ideas flowing! As part of my current aim of trying to get back into creative exploration, sketchbook work, painting and crafting to play and learn, colour play and getting out of a bit of creative burnout this project is a real refresher! Enjoy x
Lilac pantone yarn inspiration

Orange pantone yarn inspiration

Blue pantone yarn inspiration