Meet Your Maker: Christine Leech

We can’t WAIT to have Christine at the Fair! Why? As an author, designer, stylist and maker, Christine is an all round creative whizz, so you’re bound to learn some wonderfully nifty and creative skills in her session. Christine has authored and co-authored 9 craft books including the best selling Everything Alice, Pompomania and the Liberty Book of Simple Sewing selling almost 250,000 copies worldwide. She thinks pretty much anything can be improved with the addition of some glitter and her top tip is when it all goes wrong just add a pompom! We couldn’t agree more. Without any further or do, get to know a little more about Christine in this enchanting interview.

(P.s. Don’t miss Christine at 1.00pm - 2.00pm in the Summer-themed Skills Workshop to embellish your favourite item of clothing with Swarovski crystals, book your session here)

1. What are you most excited about The Handmade Fair?

I’m really hoping this year I will get some time to actually look around a bit and see what’s going on in the other tents. I’ve been so busy working at the Fair over the past couple of years it all goes by in a whirlwind of workshops, toilet breaks and ice-cream queues. I really want to spend time (and money) in the Shopping Villages and I love meeting fellow makers and chatting all things crafty.

2. If you were a biscuit what would you be and why?

I’ve always wanted to do an interview with questions like this but now I’ve got one I realise how hard they are to answer! If I were a biscuit I would be some sort of Party Ring - Malted Milk hybrid sandwiched together with the filling from a Hobnob Cream. Why? Well, I’m all about fun colourful decoration, Malted Milks are my favourite flavour (but I’ve always thought they’re a bit plain to look at) and Hobnobs have always been very generous with the thickness of their fillings. Seeing as I haven’t eaten a biscuit for about 10 years (boring wheat allergy) this question is actual torture!

3. What’s your biggest fear?

Something happening to my fingers so I can’t craft anymore. I shut my thumb in a car door the other day, just before I was doing a day of pompom making workshops. I was convinced every time I had to use a pair of scissors that day they would just get stuck on my hand as my thumb just kept swelling and swelling.

4. What inspires you most?

The most random of things can inspire me, I love to walk and would rather walk than take public transport so I’m always off on ‘urban hikes’, exploring where I live (London) taking short cuts and wandering off down odd little roads. I’ll always be inspired by what I see on the journeys; be it shop window displays, architecture, other people’s

5. Tell us something most people don’t know about you?

However hard I try I just can’t seem to get on with knitting or crochet - I feel slightly like a failed crafter for this - I think it’s all the counting and numbers involved- whenever I see a knitting or crochet pattern my brain just shuts down and I give up. I could do you an ok scarf (probably a really long one) but as soon as I have to increase or decrease or turn a corner I’m done.

6. What’s your greatest achievement?

Winning first prize in the Best Hemmed Handkerchief category in the Ringmer Village Flower Show when I was 4. An achievement I didn’t top ’til 39 years later when I won Best Christmas Stocking on Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas! I love a competition. I lost out to Mr X-stitch at this year’s Mollie Makes Mash-Up at The Handmade Fair at Ragley Hall. I’m not happy about it.

7. What are you known for?

I’d like to think I was known for making fun, colourful, stylish and cool crafts that appeal to lots of different people. Right now I am all about the pompom having written a book (Pompomania) last year. I love running workshops teaching people new skills and helping them get creative.

8. Who would be on your dream dinner party guest list and why?

Anne Shirley (of Green Gables fame) (So she can try my Raspberry Cordial and for general Kindred Spiritness), Freddie Mercury (for drunk singing and dancing on the table), Stephen Fry (so he can tell us some excellent after dinner facts), Paddington Bear (Just to see if he likes anything other than Marmalade sandwiches), Eliza Doolittle, Karl Lagerfeld, Miranda Hart, Adam Buxton and Pippi Longstocking.