INSPIRED: Hannah Read-Baldrey & Christine Leech

Hannah and Christine

The friends who have turned their passion for all things Oz into something of a craft…

Friends Hannah Read-Baldrey and Christine Leech have collaborated for a second time.

Last year, the pair wrote Everything Alice – a gorgeous book blending craft and cookery ideas based on Alice In Wonderland – and now, they’ve applied the creative theme to one of their favourite films: The Wizard Of Oz.

Here, Hannah and Christine – who met whilst working at Hobbycraft magazine – explain what inspired Everything Oz, talk about their favourite crafts and offer their tips to people looking to break in to magazines.

Have you both always been creative?

Hannah: Always. I was born with a slight hearing problem (which I have completely grown out of) and I think that must have highlighted my imagination and developed my creativity early on. I remember as small child obsessively drawing and painting, making… Anything really. I think being creative really is something you have to be born with, although many people who don’t think they are at all creative often have some hidden talents in there somewhere!

Christine: Yeah, since I was teeny tiny. Growing up, we were always making things from cardboard boxes, old bits of material and odd bits of wood Dad had in his garage. The highlights of our crafting year was entering the local Flower and Produce show with our various handicrafts and seeing if we could win the 15p prize money!

You met whilst working at Hobbycraft magazine – what advice would you give to anyone looking to get into magazines?

Hannah: We both went to art school, and I studied Theatre design at Central St Martins, but other than that I don’t think there is a direct route. You have to be persistent and know what you want. Get some assisting work or work experience – the more you do the more employable you are!

Christine: It depends what part of the magazine you want to work for. There are lots of unpaid internships around at the moment – although you may get your travel and expenses paid – but you get so much experience that it’s worth it. Try contacting the Editorial Assistant of the magazine you are interested in and see if they have any placements available. Always find out the name of the person you need to contact: a little research goes a long way and people are more likely to respond to a personal email than a generic ‘Sir/Madam…’ one. Finally be prepared to make many many cups of tea and smile a lot!

What advice would you give to budding professional crafters?

Hannah: I work as a stylist and author, which is slightly different from a professional crafter, but I guess you always need a business head on as well as your creative one!

Christine: It’s getting the balance right between doing what you love and getting the right amount of money for the time you’ve spent doing it. I find I spend such a long time making things that if i priced it out per hour I would have to charge an astronomical amount to make it worth while!

What was the idea behind Everything Oz?

Hannah: Everything Oz – a Wizard of Oz-themed craft and cookery book.

Christine: We both loved the Wizard of Oz stories and illustrations of the original books and as Everything Alice (based on Alice in Wonderland) was so successful we wanted to do another story that though similar had a really different feel in its setting and atmosphere.

What’s your favourite make/bake in the book?

Hannah: There are so many – it’s brimming with wonderous ideas! – but I think for me I love the Rainbow Cake & the Toto Dog House. Toto is actually my sister-in-law’s dog, and he is a she called Maggie!

Christine: I love the Flying Monkey baby towel, it’s so cute (as is the model in the book!) and the Patchwork Picnic set is really useful.

You’ve also written Everything Alice. What other titles are there in the series, and what plans are there for future books?

Hannah: We hope to be writing another one at the end of the year, but can’t reveal its title just yet. It’s all dependant on how well this one does!

Read our review of Everything Oz: The Wizard Book Of Makes And Bakes here.

Everything Oz – The Wizard Book Of Makes & Bakes by Christine Leech and Hannah Read Baldrey –  (Quadrille, £14.99)


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