Willow Crossley, author of The Art of Handmade Living and interiors accessories designer talks terracotta pots, bold colours and bringing nature into the home.
1. You’ve published your book, The Art of Handmade Living – do you believe anyone can create budget-savvy pieces?
Absolutely yes. Most of the things I create are simply adding little details to existing objects. Pompom trims to cushions, fabric to cover books. Nothing that I make really requires a big budget.
2. What’s your top tip for a new homeowner when decorating and styling their space?
Don’t be afraid to make bold, crazy decisions when it comes to paint and wallpapers. If you really don’t like the end result, you can paint over it again. The brightest, maddest colour decisions I’ve made at home are the ones that make me the happiest every time I see them.
3. Many people living in cities now seem to be yearning for a piece of the countryside in their homes, what simple touches can help them to do this?
I guess the obvious suggestion would be to fill your house with plants and flowers. We have them everywhere. They make me feel so happy. They don’t need to be big swanky bunches of florist bought flowers – I have old jugs filled with branches covered in lichen and mini fir cones, dried eucalyptus that I’ve extracted from a now past it bouquet. If you have a base of twigs and branches that is always there, you can then add flowers or additions as and when you want or can afford to.
4. What simple, quick craft projects would you recommend to those who don’t have much time but want to add a handmade touch to their home?
I don’t even know if you can call them craft but printers trays can be assembled/made by anyone. Just hunt for a lovely tray – ebay and vintage markets are a good place to look and then fill the little holes with special treasures. It doesn’t need to be an instant make – it can be something that takes years to finish. For something that actually involves making and instant gratification; Fridge magnets. All you need is glue and some small round magnets. You can glue pretty much anything onto them and there you have a magnet. Feather butterflies, wooden scrabble letters, buttons and small plastic soldiers are some of my favourite things to use.
5. How did you start homemade craft projects, have you always been drawn to create and make?
Yes, when I was small I wanted to be a fashion designer but my drawing abilities are pretty shocking. I remember making a couple of skirts and dresses at school and being so disappointed when they weren’t as brilliant as I’d imagined. I’ve always been very particular about what I do and don’t like. I now know though what I can and can’t realistically do – so anything involving full on sewing/patterns/machinery is pretty much out. So I started Willow Rose Boutique very simply with my fabric covered notebooks. It took a while to perfect which bits to cut for the templates but it’s nothing more than scissors and glue at the end of the day. I find it very hard to throw anything away just in case I could make something with it. I’ve got a huge cupboard at home full of my fabric, half of which is just tiny scraps. Realistically I know they’re too small, but you never know. Just in case….
6.Where do you draw your inspiration from?
At the moment a lot from Nature. Flowers, trees, plants, birds. I’m also quite obsessed with anything nautical. Anything to do with the sea – driftwood, stripes, beach huts. It makes me feel peaceful.
7. What’s next for Willow Crossley?
I’m working on my next book. It’s more to do with living and interiors than craft this time.
I’m also moving more into interiors and dressing as a job. Helping people decorate their homes - I’m obsessed with paint and fabric. It made me so sad when I’d finished decorating our house – I was quite tempted to start all over again!
The Art of Handmade Living by Willow Crossley is available on Amazon.