This is a guest post by Mike Aspinall, founder of The Crafty Gentleman.
Hello, I’m Mike! I’m a craft blogger living in Nottingham. I’ve been running my blog, The Crafty Gentleman, for 8 years now (has it really been that long?!). Over this time, my blog has grown from a ‘just-for-fun’ hobby into a lucrative side-business, which has been featured in the likes of The Guardian, The Telegraph, Mollie Makes, and more.
My journey into the craft industry is a bit of an unusual one. It all started when I was a young child; I used to spend hours and hours making scrapbooks, cards, decorations and gifts (I was obsessed with crafting, and I still am today!). I then got my very first sewing machine when I was about 17, and it quite literally changed my life. I felt like I had a superpower, it was amazing! It opened up a whole new world of crafting to me, and inspired me to seek out even more ways to build my craft skills.
However, at the time, I only saw crafting as a hobby. I went on to study a Chemistry degree – but I very soon began to crave a creative outlet, to balance the academia of my studies. So, like any good millennial, I decided to start a blog!
It was purely for fun; a space to share mini tutorials and photos of things I’d made. However, it quickly began gaining an audience, and brands soon contacted me offering sponsorship deals. It was all very
organic and unplanned!
After a few years of blogging, I was invited to appear on a Channel 4 craft show with Kirstie Allsopp. This was one of the major turning points in my craft career, and the moment I realised it could be much more than just a hobby. Spurred on by this, I started to branch out into running workshops – which have since become one of my favourite things to do.
Over the years, I’ve taught workshops on a wide range of techniques. From sewing and leather-craft, to origami and weaving. But one of my absolute favourite crafts to teach is lino carving (I even once taught Debbie McGee how to lino print, and we made a set of Christmas cards together!).
I’ve been carving my own lino prints for over 5 years now, and I really enjoy it. With just a small lino block, a simple blade and some inks, it’s possible to create an endless variety of effects and designs. Repeat patterns, intricate details, large blocks of colour… the possibilities are literally endless. And the process of carving lino is incredibly calming and meditative, too. I think it strikes the right balance of slow, mindful crafting and pretty quick gratification, as you start to see your design come to life.
Due to COVID-19, I’ve been unable to teach as many workshops as I usually would this past year – so I’m really excited to be teaming up with knack to run this virtual session. It’s going to be a lot of fun!
Mike will be leading our March workshop, showing our members how to expertly carve a unique lino stamp to make prints.
See more and sign up to join the workshop here (deadline is 4th March however sign ups may close early as numbers are limited).