Crystal Art Blog

Interview with Anne Stokes

Posted by Jital Rao on

Interview with Anne Stokes
We thought it would be a nice idea to find out a little bit more about Anne Stokes, and ask some questions that we know you are all interested in finding out. Read on to hear about what inspires Anne and how it all started...

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My Pandemic Saviour

Posted by Jital Rao on

My Pandemic Saviour

I first discovered Crystal Art during the Pandemic when the shops and restaurants were all closed and social distancing was being enforced.  It was actually my boyfriend who bought me my first Crystal Art kit - a Birthday present in lockdown.  The design was titled Leopard and featured a stunning wild leopard with piercing blue eyes so lifelike it seemed as though poised and ready to jump out of the picture to growl at you.

As I slowly unwrapped the package I was filled with a sense of excitement tinged with some trepidation.  I glanced at all those tiny glistening and twinkling sparking, shiny beads.  I wondered if I would ever complete such an intricate design and how many hours it might take.

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Blueberry, West Somerset

Posted by Jital Rao on

Blueberry, West Somerset

Hi, we're Martin & Angela, a husband-and-wife team who are lucky enough to own Blueberry, a small independent gift shop in Minehead, West Somerset. We're always looking for new gift ideas and we became a Crystal Art stockist after their sparkly artwork caught magpie Angela's eye at a trade show. We find that it's a great way to create something beautiful, the process itself contributing to sense of mindfulness - a therapeutic effect that many of our customers also comment upon. 

We stock a variety of projects, from sticker motifs and greetings cards to the large canvases, so that all of our customers can enjoy the art, no matter their craft experience.

Below is a little bit more information about us that we thought you might like to read.

How long has Blueberry been in business for?

We celebrate our fifth birthday in June! It only feels like yesterday we opened our doors :)

 

What do you enjoy most about running Blueberry?

It might sound a bit corny, but we do actually love to make people's day. It makes us happy when we've helped our customers find the perfect gift for themselves or their loved ones.

During normal times, do you take part in at any local fairs or exhibitions?

We try to get out to the local markets in Watchet and Minehead where we can - Crystal Art has been our best seller there, to the point where we have been exclusively trading it at the markets. We found a lot of our regular Crystal Art customers through these markets.

Do you find people keep coming back for more Crystal Art?

We do get a lot of repeat customers, often looking for bigger, more challenging projects! In our experience, it's always good to have a 30x30/40x50 canvas on the go so that people can try it - the kids seem more willing to have a go than the Mums & Dads! Being mounted on a wooden frame is definitely a plus & we've even converted a few who are experienced Diamond Art-ers with the convenience of not having to find a framer!

Do you have any sizes are designs that are particularly popular in your shop?

We find that the cards, 30x30 and 40x50s are our best sellers, especially the Anne Stokes designs 

What sort of town is Minehead and are there any other nearby towns customers would come from?

We're a little seaside town, most famous for having one of the last remaining Butlin's in the country as well as the longest steam heritage railway in England, so we get a lot of visitors from all over the country :)

The image below of the Stags at the Waterfall, was actually taken on Minehead beach, with Minehead's most prominent feature, North Hill. The Stags were a particularly good sellers for us because we're right on the doorstep of the Exmoor National Park which is famous for stag/deer :) 

For more information about us please visit our website - click here. We also post out and delivery to the local area, so if you are in Minehead or surrounding areas, please do get in touch – we’d love to hear from you. You can also find us on Facebook - Click here 

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I just love being creative!

Posted by Jital Rao on

I just love being creative!

How did you get to work with Craft Buddy and how you got involved in Crystal Art?

So, I met Dino and Gary about 9 years ago as I was part of the craft industry and my mum and her friend were working with them. We have been friends ever since and I have been working with them helping out at workshops, designing kits and sourcing new products for about 7/8 years. Most recently and since they have come to Create & Craft, I have loved guest presenting for them, designing using their products and helping to educate our customers with videos and promotions. Mum also still works with them and helps get them super organized every now and again in the warehouse. My mum is the wonder woman of having a clear up!!

What do you love about Crystal Art and what is your favourite?

I find Crystal Art so relaxing. The process is therapeutic and calming and seeing the effects come together is great fun. I think I most enjoyed doing the Skull Notebook as it had many different styles of crystals and the see the design come together was just beautiful. Also, my favourite is my custom Crystal Art I got made of my beautiful dog :o)

 

How did you get to present on CNC?

Ha ha…it was actually a complete accident and I had to cover a show for my sister, who at the time was doing Christmas decorations. That was now nearly 10 years ago! I have demonstrated for various companies through the years and also became a brand ambassador for C&C too! It’s been great fun…but I still get just as nervous for every show :o)


What’s it like in the studios?

Having been there for so long now, I know so many of the wonderful crew, staff and guests. It is great fun, always very busy but we have a real laugh behind the scenes. They have one large studio for craft, in which there are 5 ‘sets’. So, one or more show is being set up, one is live, and one being packed down. It’s a real hive of activity…and you have to be really quiet whilst doing it all too. Sometimes, when you’re as clumsy as me, that’s hard!!  The green room is just down the corridor (no, it’s not actually green) and that is where you wait once you have set up before we go to air or in-between shows.

What do you do while you are waiting to go on air?

We don’t often have much down time before we go live. You need to be at the studios two hours before a show and normally ‘set up’ and dressing the counters takes up this whole time! Sometimes there can be really long periods between shows, its normally a great time to catch up on some extra work, relax in the green room with the other guests. Sometimes your show products can change if you have multiple hours, so you need to re set the show or amend demos and such like.

What is your favourite part of going on CNC?

It’s a great atmosphere and I love catching up with everyone. The live shows are always fun, fast paced and it is quite a buzz. It’s such a nice change for me as I work from home, so it’s a very sociable aspect of my work. Worth the early mornings and the late nights!

What is your favourite crafting activity?

Whichever one I am currently working on :o) I turn my hand to lots of crafts…jack of all trades, master of none…isn’t that the saying?! I have been beading and jewellery making for several years, so I am always doing that, but I also love making things for my home, I have upholstered a chair, created canvases, up cycled furniture and all sorts of things like that. I like to challenge myself to learn something new every now and again, so I venture into all sorts, with varied levels of success! I’ve sewn bags and picnic blankets, knitted a blanket for my nephew when he was born, I have made my sisters and friends wedding invitations and for baby showers, the odd scrap book pages and most recently tried cross stitch. I absolutely love making wreaths with the Forever Flowerz ranges, that’s become a bit of a ‘go to’ and I really enjoy it because it’s so different to anything else. But yes, my favorite craft….is what ever I find myself working on at the time…I just like being creative.

 

Follow Sarah on Facebook and see some of her amazing creations, sneak peeks and some beautiful inspirations! 

    

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My ideal job was waiting for me

Posted by Jital Rao on

My ideal job was waiting for me

I have been very crafty from a young age, always looking at ways to make literally anything from bits and pieces around the house. Ever since I can remember, I have always been fascinated by the world of henna art (temporary body art created using intricate designs drawn using natural plant extracts). Being from an Indian background, I used to love to go to weddings, just so I could get some henna on my hands and always wished I was able to do it myself.

I started drawing patterns on everything and anything whenever I had a pen in my hands, even now, if I am on the phone or procrastinating, I doodle.

I always love to try my hand at new things; from jewellery making, paper crafting, to designing my own candles and other homeware good.

How did you find a job at Craft Buddy?

I believe this was fate! 

Towards the end of last year, I had many conversations with friends and colleague about what your ideal job would be (at the time, I was in the corporate world for number of years and it just wasn’t for me). I always said it would involve something to do with crafting or making things – if you love something and are passionate about it, it will show in your work.

Whilst I was looking for a new job, I came across the Craft Buddy advert and just knew it was a sign, and knew I had to get this job.

I had actually tried my hand at Diamond Painting (as I knew then) previously and had ordered a custom kit via a sponsored ad (from an international vendor) I saw on Instagram. When it came, I was hugely disappointed to say the least as it was of very poor quality, folded with many creases and half of my son’s head was in a different shade. And it had square drills which I personally just couldn’t get on with, so it just sat in the cupboard (even now).

When I researched more about Craft Buddy, it became more and more clear that this job was for me. Going for my interview, the people were so friendly and welcoming, I felt I was in the right place and I could see myself working here.

It was one of the longest interviews I have ever had, but that just showed me how Gary and Dino are very thorough in everything they do, to ensure they get the correct results they are looking for.

What do you enjoy about Crystal Art?

As I mentioned above, I did try this once before but seeing how it should actually look (having researched other brands too), I can honestly say from personal experience, Craft Buddy Crystal Art Kits are by far the best ones around. They have so many different kits to choose from, they come pre-mounted on frames, so no horrible creases and you are ready to display as soon as you are done!

My son loves Crystal Art too; it helps him relax and keeps him busy and away from the screen, which is difficult at the best of times. He loves the stickers the most and sticks them on his bed frame. I think he was happier than I was when I got the job :)

What Crystal Art Kit did you do first?

My all-time favourite animal is a Tiger! So of course, it had to be a tiger one. I got the tiger card and both my son, and I completed this together.

I am currently working on the 30x30 White Tiger, which I am loving so much. It’s my down time after all the chores and childcare, so whenever I get the chance, it’s the first thing I want to do.

What do you do at Craft Buddy?

I am the Marketing Manager at Craft Buddy and started in mid-February this year, so not that long ago. I am responsible for generating content for our social media channels, including Facebook, Instagram and Youtube; and I am currently setting up our Pinterest account. I assist our E-commerce manager with our websites, and I create our weekly e-mails, amongst other duties. 

We honestly have the best team of designers and influencers at Craft Buddy! A special mention needs to go to Naomi, Sharon and Sarah who have been incredibly helpful and welcoming since I have started. I work with them in organising the Facebook Lives for you all, ask them to create some samples that I might need to use to advertise certain products but generally, just love to have a bit of a chit-chat; which is great as we come up with ideas on what people would like to see. 

Sharon, our in-house Facebook queen, is fantastic at liaising with our Facebook Group members and helping them with any queries they may have, or what they would like to see, and then we work together to make it happen. 

I can't wait to have a crafting session with the ladies once this lockdown is over as I am so keen to learn something new - we might even have to have a personal FaceTime workshop of our own :)

I am proud to have joined such a passionate and enthusiastic team,  I look forward to seeing Craft Buddy grow from strength to strength and excited to see what the future entails.

 

 

 

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