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In the Hot Seat – Jewellery Designer, Kleshna Handel

Kleshna Handel

Q1. Have you always been creative?

For as long as I can remember. As a child I even used to try and remake the birds' nests when I saw the old ones in the tree disintegrating so that they had somewhere to live. My mother used to despair of me as I was such a tomboy, covered in mud, with grazed knees, and always climbing trees.

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

I was learning about King Henry V111 at school and started making Tudor dresses of a kind, and little felt shoes for my dolly Anabelle who I adored; I even beaded them, how crazy is that?

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

A singer, but then my mother was a singer and looked like Rita Hayworth for those of your readers who remember her, so it wasn't a wonder I wanted to be her, good looks and a bell like mezzo soprano voice has to be a winning combination.

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

I kind of didn't, it just evolved. I was a jewellery designer exhibiting at the famed London Fashion Week, Pure and other key fashion and trade shows selling into the shops. I accosted Beads Direct at a show, wishing to sell off my previous collections’ remainder beads. We met and I suggested they would make an excellent candidate for Create & Craft. I introduced them, initially did shows with them, and the rest is history. I absolutely adore sharing my knowledge and expertise with others, and I know that Beads Direct always have the best and most up-to-date beads and findings in the business!

Q5. Do you have any other hobbies?

Too many! I paint in oils, sculpt research old and dying crafts to keep them alive and develop new or recycled tools. I love to invent new products or new ways of working old skills. Actually I never stop, but I love creating things; if you X-rayed me you would see needles ribbon and thread in my veins!

Q6. What craft item can you not live without?

My new Bangle Weaving Tool. I am so excited about its flexibility as you can weave bangles with anything; my strangest weaves to date are plastic supermarket bags and laddered tights! I am still exploring new things with it and pushing the envelope as they say.

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

This is serious stuff! I would take a good knife to cut things down and make a shelter. I would also whittle paintbrushes from twigs etc. A huge roll of Beadalon's Artistic Wire. They make a colour called 'Orchid' which is a beautiful violet purple. I would use it for a multitude of thing; from fishing hooks to wiring things together. Fiskars kitchen scissors as they work for ever, mine are 20 years old. I could gut fish and do my flowers and crafting with them. A box of primary coloured oil paints with turpentine. I would start doing some interesting painting on the inside of tree bark and on drift wood. A wind up radio, then I could listen to music whilst I work. I may even be quite happy to stay a while too!

Q8. What’s your biggest ambition in life?

To stay fit enough and live long enough to see my son get happily married, have children and to be able to play with them and help look after them when they need me to.

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

Undoubtedly, winning the award in the USA this year from the CHA, (Craft & Hobby Association) for the invention of my Bangle Bracelet Weaving Tool by Beadalon. I was blown away by such an accolade and had no idea that I had a chance of winning; our table was even at the back of the ballroom!

Q10. Any advice for beginners?

Believe and you will be able to do it. Have patience and try again. Take little steps into your chosen craft, because from small triumphs the more difficult things seem to fall into place.