Saturday, 26 May 2012

A typical Crafty day.. Jo Austin

When I was first approached by Debbi to do a little write up of my Create and Craft life, I thought it a little strange… I mean.. who wants to know about my little escapades running up and down the country? So, I thought instead, I would share some of my day to day crafting life, and also tell you about my time at Create and Craft throughout a typical day.

So. Firstly. Who am i?

Well, I’m Jo, and I’m a freelance designer with Docrafts. I demonstrate their products in store (mainly on a weekend) and share a little of my knowledge and gain more knowledge from the lovely crafters that come to see me.

I have been with Docrafts now for quite a few years, and thoroughly enjoy the challenge that is usually handed to me every month or so, with projects for Creativity magazine, Creativity TV video filming, demonstrations and TV appearances.

So where to start. Well, I will start with my demo’s as these make up the majority of my work on a day to day basis. We usually get our kit a little earlier than it arrives in the stores, so we get to play with new products before they are available. This is because we are out in the stores demonstrating from the first day they are available. The majority of demos are usually held on a weekend, and can be in any Creativity store. We make up our projects using the kit sent and try to include as many techniques as we can. Our demo days are usually from 10am to 4pm.

Creativity magazine also comes out every two months to coincide with the launch of the new loop of products. So, therefore, every two months is also a busy time doing the projects and cards, write ups and steps to making each of the projects included.

Creativity TV is currently being filmed at the studios in Bath. This is a really fun filled day – just me, the camera guy and a couple of visitors throughout the day. Alun is a really lovely chap who makes the whole day pass really quickly. It is a lot of fun.

Create and Craft is something that I’ve been doing more regularly since February. I’ve done a few Pick of the Weeks, a Pick of the Day with Sheila, Four day deals and one off shows. I am currently doing the Pick of the Week – Best of British. Cute forever friends bears with London themed embellishments. The whole collection is really lovely.

A typical time for preparing for Create and Craft usually starts around two weeks before the show goes out. I will get a call asking if I can do the times requested and if I can, a kit is usually sent out to me to work with. The week before, a call is made from the Guest Liaison to confirm show times, demo’s etc, and on the day, you are requested to be there two hours earlier than the show.

So, for example, on Friday, the Pick of the Week launch is at 12pm, so I need to be there for around 10am, so I leave home around 7.45am.

When you arrive at the Ideal House, you sign in, collect your pass and go to the Green Room. (which incidentally is a cream and brown colourway). You can make a drink, eat biscuits and watch TV.. generally chill out until you get called through to the studio to set up your samples.
Once the samples are set up and the set is dressed, it will look really lovely, as this shot from Friday shows


It’s then just a wait until around 20 minutes before you go on air. In between arriving and airing, you will chat with the producer and director about products, demonstrations and in which order you are going to do things, then the presenter will sometimes come to see you too.

When it’s time to go on air, you are taken through to the studio by the Floor Manager for the show. This photo is me, Dave Bradford and Tony, the floor manager for the show I was doing on this day.


And here I am with Tilly.. another floor manager. So, therefore another Magic Hands! The thing I love about the folks down at Create and Craft is they are all so welcoming. They always remember you, and always make you feel welcome – one Big Happy Family!


The guys on the camera are also worthy of a mention, and here’s Joe.. who was on Camera Two.


A little collection of Floor managers for you – from the left…. Emma, Adie and Kirsty.


And what is the studio like? Well.. here’s a shot across the studio when another show was filming. Its really busy in there, but always a bit on the chilly side.


When filming, there are always three cameras pointing at you, and a couple of TV screens down on the floor.. Cameras are for wide angles, close ups and front shots, and each camera is set for something different.

The screens on the floor show us what you can see on your TV, and the other is for what is being shot a couple of seconds before you see it.

It’s all very interesting eh?

It is really lovely to receive your emails though when you are on air.. it makes you realise you actually are not alone in there talking to no one.. lol.. and it’s nice to get feedback of what you think of the product we’re showing. I do try to read all the emails, even if they’re not read out on air.

So, at the end of the show, everyone breathes a sigh of relief when the sound of ‘ok, mikes out, two minutes on the floor’.. and you can pack up your things, go out of the studios, sign out in reception and drive off home. The following days are filled with unpacking, sample making, repacking, sorting and straightening, before I set off on another adventure.

So.. that’s my working day… it’s all very busy, not at all glamorous, but thoroughly enjoyable.
This week, so far, I’ve launched the Pick of the Week on Friday, been back at Create and Craft on Saturday, demonstrating in store on Sunday followed by a long drive to Bath in the evening, video shoots for Creativity TV on the Monday, followed by a drive home. Back to Peterborough today (Tuesday) and home tonight.

Tomorrow and Thursday, I have lots of sample making and demonstrations to sort out as I have four shows on Friday. Then on Saturday, I’m driving to the hotel in Bournemouth as I’m working at the Trade Event at Docrafts Head Office for the week, followed on the Friday for the very first Creativity Club event.. exciting times..

And guess what I’m doing on the Bank Holiday? Nothing! I’m just going to get my garden straight, do some tidying and cleaning, and you never know, I may even make some cards!


  1. Wow, you're like a whirlwind ....thanks for taking the time to give us an insight into your very busy life x

  2. These pics are lovely.... thank you for sharing x

  3. Lovely interview makes for a good read, thank you Jo lovely to hear about you xx

  4. Im exhausted Jo just reading this are such a busy lady ..and a very clever one to ..your always a delight to see on tv and a great insperation to us all ...I hope you have a good week and a well deserved rest on the Bank Holiday w/e ...Sue x

  5. Debbi's mum.27 May 2012 at 11:42

    A fascinating read, many thanks Jo for letting us have a glimpse behind the scenes of Create and Crafts television studios, and into your busy schedule. When do you find the time to breath? Well done you on a fabulous piece.

  6. What a fab read. Jo, you live the life many of us are dreaming off :-) well done hun and thanks for sharing xx

  7. Thanks for sharing Jo, when I first started crafting 2&1/2 years ago my first mags & kits were all Docrafts & I still have the mag & ranges. I would love to do what you, it just sounds so amazing. To do something that you love for a job & get paid for it must be brill. Oooh & to get all the goodies before anyone else wow, what fun.
    Love watching your shows & demos you always think 'outside the box' with what you do. Very Talented. Thanks again Jo. Look forward to seeing you soon on C&C or Docrafts Tv;D. Crafty hugs x o x


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