Thursday, 26 April 2012

When I met Anthea...

So a couple of months ago I interviewed 'perfect housewife' Anthea Turner for a feature in Craft Business magazine. Being a bit of a celeb fanatic it was quite exciting, but I played it cool and it wasn't long before i was air kissing like a pro; it won't be long until I'm giving Brad Pitt a grilling for Vogue. 

Create and Craft's Big Turner-Round

On the brink of her new role as the ambassador of Create and Craft TV, Anthea Turner will play a big part in helping the channel to get Britain crafting. Zoe Monk found out more

How did the opportunity with Create and Craft TV come about?
Ever since I can remember I've always loved making things, long before I was crafting in front of a camera on Blue Peter. When Create and Craft TV approached me and asked me to be ambassador for the channel, I was excited to be given such a great platform to spread the word of crafting to Britain.

I'm constantly crafting with my children and encouraging them to make. I think that there is a real lack of children's crafting programmes on primetime TV and it's a shame because so many children love making things. When I got married, I was all of a sudden faced with three stepchildren and immediately took to baking and creating as a way to bond over the craft box; even now my youngest daughter still asks me what we are going to be making next.

I'm still very much a crafter myself, and although I've never been too talented with a pair of knitting needles, I know my way around a sewing machine to mend things and embroider. Just last Christmas I was busy making gifts for my family and friends, creating chutneys in jars with nice handmade labels and gin-infused oils.
With your crafty television background, what are you most looking forward to about your new role?
It's important to remember that there is already a well-established fan base for Ideal World and Create and Craft TV, with lots of people working with them to bring in new products and keep things fresh and exciting. I'm not there to teach crafts and to be a regular feature on screen – my role is to encourage new markets to get involved and reach new audiences. I'm not taking over from favourite Dawn Bibby, that's not my area of expertise; I want to use my contacts and connections to spread the word of crafting. I'm also really looking forward to picking up some new skills for myself and meeting the fans.

I will be at the channel when I need to be and will continuously help expand the market. I've been working in Canada for the last two years, where the craft trends there are absolutely massive and the product ranges are vast. There are craft shops everywhere, with scrapbooking being the most popular activity closely followed card-making.

As more people realise their love of crafting, what do you think are the benefits of people being creative?
I think that people with time on their hands get a huge amount of personal satisfaction from crafting. If you can make gifts for people, it makes it so personal and something money can't buy; it's priceless. Personally, I think projects like photo albums for special occasions are a great way to preserve memories and create a keepsake you just can't beat.

There are so many benefits of crafting and part of my new job is to raise the profile of the channel and get more people involved. With craft clubs popping up all over the country, meeting up with friends to make is a great bonding experience and the social aspect is a big pull for beginners. Craft is brilliant for people to do on their own as well. 

Create and Craft TV is renowned for showcasing a range of different creative products and skills, but which crafts do you enjoy doing yourself?
I like cooking and baking cakes, especially when it's as a gift for someone. I'm also really into creating individual labels for the food I make. People can really be seduced by the packaging of a product without even knowing what's inside. Making something for a gift is not just about the individual item, it includes the box it's given in and the smaller details which are added to make it personal.

The rise of the make-do-and-mend culture has been phenomenal, so what are your thoughts on the craft industry at the moment?
I think that with the current economic climate, the craft market has seen a surge of people wanting to get involved. The internet has definitely helped as well, allowing the tools of the trade to be accessible to everyone and inspiring people at the click of a button. It has given people in all areas the chance to buy all sorts of crafty products, no matter how far they are from a local store. I also think that the increase in easier projects has certainly helped.

Anthea Turner is brand ambassador for Create and Craft TV.
Create and Craft TV is available on Sky 671, Freeview 36 and Freesat 813, and online at
Join in the craft chat on Facebook - Create and Craft TV, and Twitter - @CreateCraftTV

Anthea's TV Timeline
1988-1991 – Anthea kicked off her television career by presenting BBC music show Top of the Pops for three years
1992 – She then began her stint as a presenter for Blue Peter, where she went on to build the famous Thunderbirds Tracy Island model
1994 – The ITV morning programme GMTV snapped up the presenter to front the show
2006 – Anthea made her television comeback on BBC Three in Anthea Turner: Perfect Housewife
2010 – A new show for Food Network Canada saw Anthea take the starring presenting role

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