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Anna Interview

In the Hot Seat – Gwen Fletcher

Lynda Chapman

Q1. How did you get into crafting?

"I have always loved to create things with my hands and as a child I remember my mum often telling us to get something to do and not be idle, or she would find us a job to do. Over the years I have tried my hand at many different crafts, but the one thing which really grabbed my attention was rubber stamping. I think I just loved being able to take a blank piece of card and turn it into something wonderful with just a few items of equipment – a stamp, a couple of inks and a sprinkling of imagination."

Q2. What else makes you happy?

"I am a Christian and my faith is very important to me and it has helped me through some tough and challenging times. It also helps to keep me grounded and to appreciate everything and everyone around me and not to take anything for granted. Every day is a gift and I believe we should make the most of every moment. I also love music and used to play the French Horn. I play the piano too and have tried my hand at guitar. I enjoy a broad range of musical genres from Classical to Heavy Rock and love to see live bands. I read avidly and again, have a broad spectrum of interests, including Historical Drama, Classical literature and Sci-fi Fantasy. I enjoy cooking and entertaining with friends and I really enjoy the odd glass (or three) of lovely red wine. I am also in the early stages of beginning a Gin collection – never knew there were so many to choose from, so that's all very interesting."

Q3. Did you always want to make a career out of crafting?

"In my professional life, I trained as a Dental Technician and worked for some time at the University of Manchester Dental Teaching Hospital. Part of my studies involved quite a bit of materials science and I found this really interesting. I think this is what made me become so fascinated with inks and how they behave. I wanted to know why they behaved in a certain way, what was in them to make them do that and therefore I could work out how to use them in ways other than the expected. Whilst working at the Dental Hospital and lecturing part time at Manchester Polytechnic, I met my husband, Martin and we have been married now for 26 years. I opened my shop in January of 2003, after having spent time at home with my two children, Jenny and Callum, both now in their 20s. I have loved having my own shop and have met some wonderful friends through this creative industry and my goodness, have I learnt a lot. We run regular workshops, covering everything from stamping, cardmaking and papercraft through to hand made books and home décor - and I love all of it."

Q4. What do you think the future holds for you?

"Recently, times have been challenging for the craft retail sector but I feel optimistic that we will turn a corner and come through even stronger than before. So many shops have come and gone, quite quickly and so to still be here after 13 years gives me hope for the future. I feel very blessed at my stage in life and career, to be embarking on this new and very exciting project with Rare Earth. I would love it to be the best it can be and will give anything I can to make that happen. So, here we go............. it's gonna be great!"