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Editorial blog

All hail the queen - Sheena Douglass

11 May 2018

Sheena Douglass, winner of the Craft Business Awards 2018 Brand Ambassador of the Year, talks about her life in craft

Sheena Douglass is affectionately known as Crafter’s Companion’s Queen of Messy Crafting. As well as presenting her range of products regularly on Hochanda, she spends her time time making cards, papercrafting, drawing and designing.

What led you to a life in craft?

My love of drawing and art started me off on this career path – for as long as I can remember I’ve drawn. My mother wasn’t a papercrafter, she was a baker, but she encouraged me endlessly by giving me little craft kits from a very early age.

When did you realise you were good at art and who encouraged you to continue with it?

My family have always encouraged my drawing, and after school I went to study art for a year at Newcastle. It was actually my mum that got me into cardmaking – she encouraged me to watch Dawn Bibby on a shopping channel when she was doing stamping. I immediately bought some stamps and became hooked.

What made you decide to join the craft industry?

America came calling after I’d finished studying and I went to live in California for three-anda- half years. When I first came back there was a long time where I didn’t do any drawing at all. I had to get a ‘proper’ job and any drawing kind of just went out the window. I missed it, and when the opportunity came up to work in the industry, I grabbed it with both hands.

How difficult was it to get your first range of stamps produced?

I started designing stamps because of my art background – to be honest I did a few to start with just to see whether I could remember to draw! I had no idea whether they would be popular with crafters or not. My first collection was based on my own bear and it sold out really quickly. This spurred me on to design more and I’ve not looked back since!

How did you develop and diversify your range?

I simply kept true to my style of drawing and crafting, which seemed to appeal to many like-minded stampers. Once I’d established my signature messy style, I was then able to vary the themes of my collections and try new things. Crafter’s Companion is a fabulous company to work with, and Sara and the team give me lots of support for trying different styles and ideas.

How do you come up with your designs? what gives you inspiration?

Inspiration for my stamp sets comes from everywhere, from art and design trends to home décor items to the nature all around us.
I love being in the countryside – going for a walk is always a great way to get inspired! I’m also always being inspired by my fabulous Design Team, the Inkoids – the genius techniques they use in their samples always spark off an idea or two.

What do you do to relax?

I craft, of course! Crafting is a way of stepping off the treadmill, slowing time down and living in the moment by focusing on just the task in hand. I think it gives us a chance to recharge our batteries physically, mentally and definitely creatively!

What is your favourite craft?

I’m all about stamping. When I first started stamping I used to colour the images with H2O paints, moving on to Distress inks and then progressed on to Spectrum Noir pens, using them to create my own backgrounds. I’ve also been dabbling in sewing but I’m still a complete beginner.

Is the messy nickname deserved?

I like to use colouring products in my own special way and those that know me know that I love messy, chaotic, unconventional styles of crafting. So yes, it is well deserved!

You have a lot of tutorial videos on your Youtube page. how do you prepare to put together a tutorial?

I base my tutorials on exciting new products or techniques that I’d like to show to other crafters.
Sometimes I’ll have people get in touch to ask me to demonstrate a particular craft. I always make up the project first as a prototype, then I gather everything to hand and pre-prepare certain elements of it if necessary to keep the video interesting.

You also feature on Hochanda – How does that differ from your youtube tutorials?

Live TV is very different to filming a tutorial as you have to think on your feet and can’t retake anything that goes wrong. I used to be very nervous before TV shows until a presenter told me that nobody would know and I looked like I had been doing it all my life! I realised then that the demons were only in my head, so I stopped panicking that I was showing myself up! Now I just enjoy the shows – still get nervous when I’m launching one of my new designs though in case the viewers don’t like them.

Do you enjoy passing on your tips to crafters?

I absolutely love sharing my designs and passing on my enthusiasm for craft, and it gives me great job satisfaction to see people’s skills progressing and developing. Getting feedback from crafters who didn’t believe they could stamp or paint until they tried my products or watched a show is absolutely priceless and very humbling.

How important has social media become to you now?

Social media has become a huge part of how I interact with crafters, so it’s very important. I love how I can share my dayto- day musings and inspirations with them, and they can give me feedback on the products they love and share the card designs they’re most proud of.

Do you enjoy the process of planning demonstrations?

Anything that requires me to craft is an enjoyable process to me! It’s always a great privilege to be able to share my knowledge and ideas with so many other crafters, and education is a large part of why I do what I do.

What trends do you see coming up this year?

I think Mixed Media is going to become bigger and bigger for crafters this year. It works well with stamping, as all kinds of different materials and fabrics can be stamped. I’ve had lots of fun mixing it up with new techniques and crafts recently, such as last year’s fabric stamping bag kit collaboration with Lizzy Curtis.

How pleased were you to win the craft business award?

I was absolutely thrilled, as it’s always lovely to be recognised in the industry for your work. Thanks so much to everyone who voted for me – it’s hugely appreciated.

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