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Today I would like to welcome Hannah Read-Baldry and Christine Leech, the authors of the cool new book Everything Alice: The Wonderland Book of Makes & Bakes.
This is a book jam packed full of wonderful craft ideas inspired by Lewis Carroll’s tale of Alice, and if you have ever imagined yourself in Wonderland these ideas can bring it to life, whether for a party event, gifts for Alice fans or just to fill your home with magic. There is something here for every crafter.
So without further ado, let’s head over and hear from Christine and Hannah.
1. As way of introduction, please can you each tell us a little about yourselves and your backgrounds in art & design.
Hannah: I am a freelance props & fashion stylist. I trained as a theatre designer at Central St Martins before embarking on a career in TV & Film which led me to photographic styling. I am known for my quirky handmade props and theatrical designs.
Christine: I’m an Art Director for a woman’s magazine and have been working on various magazines for about 15 years. I did a degree in Illustration and have always been crafty.
2. What drew you together to become co-authors of ‘Everything Alice’ and how long was the book in the making?
Hannah: I think our journey to this book started way before we both even met. I had come up with the idea of a Mad Hatter’s Teaparty book after my wedding in 2007, we had a loose Alice theme with stacked teapots & saucers as centerpieces & an amazing hand crafted cake by Rachel Mount, the toppers were me as Alice & my husband Brendan as the Mad Hatter!
Christine: I had got Hannah to make some Christmas craft projects for Hobbycraft Magazine where I was the art director at the time, we got talking on the shoot about our shared love of Wonderland (I had done a series of illustrations for my Final Degree show based on Alice Through The Looking Glass) and it all grew from there…
To create this book we asked friends and researched on the Internet what publishers required as a book proposal: we needed to create what is known as a blad, which is basically a small sample of the book. I designed the first version of the cover, which has been later cut up to form part of the cover you see on the final book. Then we made; Queen of Hearts Tarts (which sadly got cut from the final book), Wonderland Aprons, Alice’s letter cushion and time for tea jewelry.
Chris designed the layouts & we got about 15 copies made, most of which we still have, as loads of publishers just accept submissions via email these days. We had a look in the Writers’ Handbook to find suitable publishers & sent it out to our favorites. After a period of waiting we began to get yes/ no answers, and lucky for us a few offers, and even luckier, one was from our first choice of publisher, Quadrille. They stood out from day one, not just because of their lovely books, but because of the chapter Lobster Quadrille in the book! The whole process took almost 18 months.
3. Why was Alice and Wonderland your particular choice for your first book of ‘makes’?
Hannah: I think not only because we both love the story, but its themes & characters are so rich and iconic they lend themselves perfectly to a creative book.
4. Which of the characters in Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’ is your favourite and why?
Hannah: Alice, obviously, can you not see by my hair?! She has a playful feisty character, which I love, and reminds me of myself when I was a girl.
Christine: For some reason I always want to say the Red Queen, but she’s just a meany, psychologists would have a field day!
5. Do you each have particular areas of expertise that you bring to ‘Everything Alice’, for example baking or sewing, or did you split it fairly equally?
Hannah: I love the cookery projects and illustrated the book through my papercut designs; honestly I’m still finding small paper hearts in nooks and crannies! Christine is amazing at embroidery, as you can see from the Wonderland Mobile. I do think though we both have the great skill of being to put our hand to pretty much anything.
Christine: We did split it fairly equally, I think we each had projects that were our little babies so being able to see them through from start to finish was great. My job as an art director and designer enabled me to design the pages and it was lovely to have such creative control over the whole look and feel of the book.
6. Which of all the ‘makes’ in ‘Everything Alice’ was the favourite of each of you and what projects did you have most fun with?
Hannah: Maybe it’s the theatre designer in me, but definitely the Puppet Theatre. For me it evokes all those feelings of magic & wonderment I remember as a child. Considering its only made out of a few old sheets & curtains it reminds us of how much we can do with a little bit of imagination.
Christine: I loved making the Wonderland Mobile, it was the first project I did for the book and when it turned out so well I knew the rest of the book would be amazing.
7. You both obviously have a passion for craft and design, what crafts do you love doing in your spare time?
Hannah: Craft & making is pretty much my full time occupation, I work a lot for Hobbycraft, designing for their online ideas library & presenting. So I’m a bit of the opposite, in my spare time I love to bake & watch movies and see bands.
Christine: I’m like Hannah, my job is pretty much my hobby also, I do like a bit of dressmaking in my spare time, but I always seem to only get as far as buying the fabric! I’m hopefully moving house soon so decorating that will take up any spare time I have.
8. Do you have any plans to work together going forward and are there any sneak peaks you can give us of your next projects, either collaboratively or individually?
Hannah: This is definitely not the last project you will see us producing, yes there are lots of exciting discussions at the moment, one of which you will have to wait until next summer to see!
Christine: Yeah, we have a busy year ahead of us…
9. Do you have a website, or are either of you active on Twitter or Facebook, where our readers can learn more?
10. Lastly, a fun Alice themed question, if you were to fall down the rabbit hole, where would you most love to land and why?
Hannah: Definitely a croquet game at the Queens gardens, although I would try to avoid her at all costs in fear of her shouting “off with her head!”