Tuesday, 2 February 2010

*~* An Interview With Jane Hewitt *~*

Next up in our series of interviews is Jane Hewitt, one of our new Design Team members. We hope you enjoy getting to know her a little better.

When did you discover scrapbooking?

I have always made scrapbooks especially of holidays – I have a great one that I made of a holiday I went on to Malaysia and Singapore with my mum and dad – it’s photos, journaling and ephemera plus some of my own drawing. However I discovered scrapbooking in the sense that I do it now in two stages – first of all I went on a holiday to New England in about 2003 – when I was there I came across a scrapbooking shop by chance. I loved the papers they had but couldn’t understand why they were 12” x12”, the shop assistant told me about scrapbooking!! I bought one sheet of paper (I remember it had pumpkins on it) and I folded it to A4 size to bring home!!! Because of this I kept a lookout for scrapbooking and one day in when I was off sick from school I saw an advert on TV for a complete scrapbook kit. I spent £50 on this and at the time thought it was wonderful – looking back at those papers now (yes I still have some!) they are truly awful.

A friend at work brought in one of her proper scrapbooks one day and I was amazed by the lovely quality of her work – she pointed me in the direction of some online shops and UKScrappers and really I haven’t looked back. My ‘study’ at home is now my ‘craft room’ and my stash has grown from bursting out of a drawer to bursting out of a whole room.

What subjects do you scrap?

Mainly my cats – I have 5 of them and they are my babies (as I don’t have children).
I have three Bengals, a tortoishell kitten that I found abandoned on the road one night and a diabetic black and white moggie who was given to us by our vet.

But I will scrap just about anything – old photos, holiday pictures and sometimes I will go out to take photos just because I want something to scrap!

If you had to choose one scrapbooking format 12x12 8.5x11, minibooks, atcs etc and only scrap in that format for a year, which would you choose and why?

I love making books and would definitely choose that. I like the construction involved in book making – trying to look for new ways to make books differently. I also like the fact that mini books are easy for other people to look at, they are mini works of art– I often have the most recent mini books I’ve made out on the coffee table at home. I don’t like that 12”x12” pages often get hidden away in albums and are not seen.

Describe your scrapping style in 5 words.

  1. Messy,

  2. distressed,

  3. eclectic,

  4. busy,

  5. colourful

Tell us about your favourite ever layout

I wouldn’t say that this was my best ever LO – but I do love it. It is of my birthday cake last year. I never normally get a birthday cake and the previous year when I was asked what I wanted for my birthday I asked for a cake – but he forgot! So the following birthday I got the most amazing chocolate birthday cake from a shop called ‘Too good to eat’. I only had a couple of (not very good) photos of the cake but I decided to make the LO special by creating it on the cake board that the cake had come on (I washed it first!) – it was a 12”x12” board (perfect). I also kept some of the daisies made of icing from the top of the cake to use as embellishments – my journaling tells the story behind the cake.

I love creating Layouts on unusual backgrounds (I have a LO of one of my cats on a vinyl LP record and one of my upcoming projects is to do a LO all about my Grandad, who loved to paint, using his old paint palette as the background.)

If you could take a class or do a workshop with one scrapping celeb or teacher who would it be and why?

I think Stephanie Ackerman, so that I could learn to doodle like this…

Make flowers like this…

She also takes amazing photos! Check out her blog. (We looked her up and Jane is indeed right - some gorgeous stuff look here: http://homegrownhospitality.typepad.com/ )

Show us your scrap area (don’t worry we can handle mess!)

I am very lucky to have a ‘scrap room’. It started life as my ‘study’ with one drawer of crafting stuff and walls lined with books and work files. Now the shelves all hold craft related books and stash. I have a central island unit where I craft. I sometimes work standing up so this arrangement works well for me.

Recently I emptied the whole room and laid a laminate floor, which is much better when I spill paint!! As the room has a built in wardrobe I removed the hanging rail and built my own shelves in there to hold even more stuff! My ‘cling on’ stamps are stored in CD cases and my ribbons are stored by looping them onto baking cooling racks (£1 from Tesco’s!) – That way they hang on the wall, I can see them easily and I can just snip off what I want to use.

I use a lot of ‘Really useful boxes’ for storage plus my 12”x12” paper tower that my hubby bought me for my birthday last year. I acquired a nail varnish display unit from the nail salon where I get my nails done every fortnight – it’s great for keeping paint, stickles and glitters. One of my favourite things in there is the giant clock – I have an appalling sense of time (especially once I start scrapping) so my husband bought the clock for me so that I wouldn’t lose track of time. I love my craft room but it is rarely as tidy as the pictures show it to be!

What is your favourite manufacturer and all time favourite range from them. Why?

I have so many favourites so I have divided my answer into papers and other products…

When it comes to papers the most consistent favourite has to be Basic Grey. My favourite range from them is probably Figgy Pudding – I love Christmas papers and I love that BG papers already have that slightly distressed look about them.

Other products
I totally love all the Ranger/Tim Holtz products, I love all the metal bits and pieces in the Idea-ology series as well as glossy accents, alcohol inks etc but my favourite range would have to be distress inks - I’m looking forward to the new colours coming out!

Why do you scrap?

I scrap because I love to craft. I used to just make cards to satisfy this ‘need’ but they always got given away and I never had anything to show for all my hard work.
I like the idea that it preserves memories, but with nobody to pass those memories onto, that is a secondary reason for me. I find scrapping a creative challenge yet at the same time total relaxation from my work life.

What technique or style would you like to try or master but have not managed to yet?

I’m actually very computer literate but I’ve never really got to grips with digital scrapbooking – I am amazed by the results some people can get but I get too easily frustrated on the computer when I can’t do something and am easily baffled by the terminology. I admit to having sat and cried in frustration at Paint shop pro X!

Do you make cards as well as scrap? If so can you show us some? (attach one or two to email)

Yes – I have made my own cards for about as long as I can remember. When I was young it used to be pictures from last years cards cut out with pinking shears and then stuck onto a new card. Then places like Lakeland started to sell card making stuff and I used to spend hours with my mum making cards - especially for Christmas. Now there is so much to buy to make cards – but I often use the left over bits from scrapbooking to make my cards. The only drawback I find with making my own cards is that on the occasion that I don’t have time to hand make a card and have to give someone a bought card they get quite offended!

These two cards are made with left overs – Chatterbox papers on one and the Graphic 45 Domestic Goddess papers on the other.

How long do you spend on average per layout?

That would definitely depend on the technique and materials used. A straightforward LO with papers and ready prepared letters like American Crafts Thickers could be finished in half an hour. A more elaborate LO involving stitching , a lot of hand cutting or a homemade embellishment could take me an entire day to do. I’m very quick once I know what I want to achieve but can spend a lot of time thinking about a LO before I actually get going.13) How often do you scrap?Not as often as I’d like!! I have a very full on full time job which often involves me working at the weekend too. I try to set aside Saturday mornings as my crafting time – I get up early and spend 3 or 4 hours in my craft room.

What does your husband think of your scrapbooking?

My husband is the BEST scrapping widow ever – he is totally supportive of my scrapping and buys me stash & scrapping tools for Christmas and birthday pressies. He is incredibly tolerant of scrapping associated mess round the house. He is both complimentary and critical of my LOs and gives excellent feedback . When I’ve hit a scrapping wall I chat to him about an idea I want to develop and he often gives me creative or inspirational ideas.

Do you pre plan your layouts or just sit and shuffle paper till it looks right? Describe the process you go through when creating a layout

This is a really hard question as for me it’s different every time. Sometimes I sit and shuffle paper till I’m blue in the face, other times I’ll wake up on a Saturday morning (my main scrapping time) knowing exactly what I want to do and what paper I want to use and just scrap manically till it’s done. Sometimes my ideas or inspiration comes from a photo I want to use and sometimes it can be a random item that gives me an idea. I have lots of magazines and books that I look through and write ideas down that I like in a notebook and sometimes I flick through the notebook and use an idea or technique in my own way. I love making up my own sketches then following them. Sometimes it’s a sheet of paper that I really love and want to use, and I’ll look for a photo and embellishments to go with it. I don’t think of myself as particularly creative or artistic and often get scrappers block – when that happens I just shut the craft room door and come back later – there’s no use fighting it for me.

What colour schemes are your current favourites – if you have a layout you have recently scrapped in this colour scheme please attach it).

I like either really bright and colourful or very muted and natural. At the moment I’m into brown and vintage styles. This is a recent page I did with the Cosmo Cricket Wanted papers – I loved the little rodeo horses on the paper so decided to use it to scrap a picture of an old stagecoach I took when I was at Sturbridge Village in USA in the summer. Any fans of the film ‘Paint Your Wagon’ which is one of my favourite films will recognise the title!

What colours do you rarely use and why?

I rarely use pastel colours as I’m just not that keen on them.

Having said that, one of the reasons I like going to classes at retreats and doing cyber crop classes is that I often find myself working with colours or papers I wouldn’t choose and I think that’s a good thing.

Tell us 3 random facts about yourself.

  1. I grew up in Hong Kong

  2. I play the saxophone (alto & soprano)

  3. Online I’m called J-bug because I drive a convertible Beetle

How do you organise your layouts into albums (e.g. chronological \ date you scrapped them \ random \ by subject)

By subject – I have several cat albums, a vintage album, me when I was young, me & hubby, my family, holidays and ‘arty’ photos that I’ve scrapped. I also have a lot of random LOs that are not organized at all!!

What is your favourite design tip, style or technique that you use on your layouts?

Inking the edges of everything. It can make such a difference to a plain LO or card. Thanks for that one Tim!