Interview with Queen of Glitter Momtaz Begum-Hossain

October 8, 2012 · 0 comments

in Interviews

Last week Momtaz Begum-Hossain, author of ‘101+ Things to Do with Glitter’ was the speaker for the Dalston Darlings Women’s Institute October meeting. With a personality as sparkly as her book the talk was fascinating and I wanted to share some of it with you. So here is my interview with Momtaz where we chatted about what inspires her, the details of her next book and her tips on where to go to take afternoon tea in London for only £8.50!

How did you start crafting? 

I always made things as a child, usually customising eggs boxes (!) and I bought my very first sewing machine with the wages from a Sunday job I had at Claire’s Accessories. I stopped making when I went to university, however in my third year my mum became unwell so I dropped out to look after her but found that being at home gave me the chance to get back into crafts. Within the year I had set up a handbag and accessories businesses based out of my bedroom. I then trained to be a journalist and worked on an adults crafts magazine, and from there started working as a freelance crafts designer and crafts teacher running workshops at museums, for away days and private parties.

Why do you think craft is having such a resurgence? 

Because it’s fun! It’s also extremely satisfying owning something you’ve made with your own hands. Currently it’s become more acceptable in society to be a maker and it’s allowed lots of people to get in touch with their creative side. 

What has been your biggest craft achievement? 

Being able to make a living from what I love. At the age of 24 I was editing a consumer crafts magazine which was my Dream Job. When the magazine closed down I thought I would never live the ‘dream’ again but now I’m getting paid to write, teach and consult about crafts. It’s a job description I’ve written myself and fitted into my lifestyle. I’m earning less than most people my age but that doesn’t bother me as I get greater job satisfaction!

And your biggest disaster? 

I’m prone to wonky stitches in my sewing, dropped stitches in my knitting, I’ve had ceramics explode in the kiln and made spelling mistakes in my cross-stitch but I still call myself a Crafts Expert; you don’t need to be perfect at something to understand and enjoy it.

Do you think anyone can craft, or do you need to be skilled?

Yes! There are no rules in crafting, there’s no right or wrong. I don’t like craft purists who think you can only make something by following a specific method and that the results should be faultless. If there’s any mistakes or bits you don’t like just cover it up – you don’t need to start again! My philosophy is “do what you can and like, with what you’ve got!” 

What inspires you? 

London is a huge inspiration and I’m drawn to its vibrancy and international influences and I love observing street style. Colour is a massive element of me and my work – you won’t catch me wearing or making anything black or white! I’m also massively inspired by Bollywood movies, I love the costumes, sets and big dance numbers and it inspired my first book ‘Bollywood Crafts’. 

What are your Top Tips for eating out in London? 

I live in Greenwich and The Fan Museum (the only museum about fans in the world) serves an afternoon tea on Sundays inside a gorgeous conservatory called The Orangery which has beautiful murals, it’s only £8.50 and entrance to the museum is included. 
On Royal Hill there’s a local café called Royal Teas which also does a great afternoon tea. The portions are generous, less than £7 per person and they serve some great teas including lavender. 
And there’s a fab ice cream parlour called Black Vanilla too where Italian ice cream is freshly made on site – come and visit!

What’s next after 101+ Things to Do with Glitter – do you have another book in the pipeline? 

The follow up is currently underway! I’m writing ‘101+ Things To Do With Ribbon’ which is a similar format to the glitter book. There are 4 sections and projects cover Homes & Interiors, Fashion & Accessories, Gifts & Food, Cards & Papercrafts.

‘101+ Things to Do with Glitter’ is out on October 23rd and you can pre-order a copy here
Momtaz also runs a monthly craft night, The Make Escape which is on the last Tuesday of the month at the Hackney Attic.

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