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In the Hot Seat – Joanna Sheen

Jo Austin

Q1. Have you always been creative?

I remember winning prizes for my stories from about the age of 4 – my mother kept a lovely sci-fi story I wrote and illustrated – about bicy-fliers with the page covered in images of people whizzing round the sky on bicycles. I always made my own cards as far back as I can remember and many of my own Christmas presents even to this day.

Q2. What is the first thing you can recall making as a child and who was it for?

The first present I remember was a decorated notice which hung with ribbons punched through each corner – it said something along the lines of “Don’t smoke it is bad” – we had been having health lessons at school I assume and I presented it to my stepdad, who to give him his due, hung it by his bed and gradually gave up.

Q3. What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’?

I really wanted to be a lawyer, and follow in the footsteps of Rumpole of the Bailey or Perry Mason (and my Dad) – but after a year at law college I found it was really rather dull and being creative was much more fun! So I moved over to floristry with book-keeping in the evenings.

Q4. Why/when did you decide you could make a living out of crafting?

My ex husband and I were flat broke with a 6 week old baby – working is something I feel you just buckle down and do. So I started making pressed flower pictures from our garden and by believing in myself and my work I managed to build a large international business out of it – but yes with a huge amount of hard work.

Q5. Do you have any other hobbies?

Definitely writing – I love the time I spend writing my novels. I have written many non-fiction books over the years but recently I have turned to detective fiction and absolutely love the reactions from the readers!

Q6. What craft item can you not live without?

My first love would be my long pointed tweezers – nothing intricate can be made by me without them – fabulous piece of kit! Another must have for me would be double sided tape, and glue gel and a good eraser – ohh I was only allowed one!

Q7. If you were stranded on a desert island and could only take 5 items, what would they be – and why?

Right – well for sure those long pointed tweezers, then glue gel (useful if my beach hut needed mending too!) and double sided tape. Probably a hot glue gun so I could decorate my hut with dried flowers and shells and finally a lifetime supply of 8” x 8” cards and envelopes... can I sneak some scissors in there too?

Q8. What’s your biggest ambition in life?

My biggest ambition is to stay well and healthy to enjoy life with my husband and daughters, not forgetting my little granddaughter and to smile as often as possible.

Q9. What’s been the highlight of your crafting life so far?

It has to be supplying the Highgrove Gift Shop and knowing that both Prince Charles and Camilla loved and chose my pressed flower pictures for their shelves – demonstrating in Harrods was pretty amazing too – oh and surely I have to include appearing on Create and Craft!

Q10. Any advice for beginners?

I would say be calm and don’t expect too much. Try, try and try again, nothing comes without practice and the longer you go on trying the easier it will get.