Meet the Makers: The Crafty Beggars
Tune in and get inspired – Crafty Beggars is coming to a television near you! Hosted by TV favourites, Julie Peasgood and Wendy Turner-Webster, each episode two couples hit the town with a meagre £20 budget and a box of basic craft essentials – in order to beg, buy and borrow the items they need to make ingenious crafty creations. Each couple is then pitted head-to-head to sell their makes at a pop-up stall the very next day! Watch as contestants battle it out to see whose handmade crafts make the most cash – and much like other TV shows in this genre, the results aren’t always predictable!
I caught up with the show’s two presenters, Julie and Wendy to ask them about the show, their own craft passions and biggest disasters!…
Introducing Crafty Beggars
Tell us a bit about your crafting passions.
Julie : I have always loved making collages and doing decoupage, and when I was a teenager I started decoupaging small boxes which I used to sell at craft fairs and markets. In recent times, I have become a fan of beading, and I also love making ‘sock teddies’ – transforming stray socks into small teddy bears!
Wendy : I love making my own cards – In fact I can’t even think of the last time I actually went into a shop and bought one off the shelf! I also make bracelets, mainly using bits of broken or odd jewellery – either my own or pieces I pick up in charity shops or car boot sales. I find it rather relaxing and not to mention satisfying as no two pieces are alike. I have recently become a fan of decoupage and had great fun giving a new lease of life to an old mirror frame which was gathering dust in the garage.
How long have you been crafting for?
Julie : I started making Christmas table decorations when I was about seven or eight, and my brother and I used to sell them to our neighbours to make some extra pocket money.
Wendy : I’ve always been artistic so have always taken delight in creating a piece of ‘art’ – even if that was a paper chain when I was four!
Sometimes ‘mistakes’ turn out to be a blessing, because remedying them can lead to doing things differently!
What’s the first thing you remember making?
Julie : When I was five years old I made a container for my dad to keep his pens in. It was a jar which I covered in plasticine, then I stuck shells I had gathered from the beach on it. He kept that jar for the rest of his life – in spite of nearly every shell falling off it!
Wendy : Coming from Stoke-on-Trent (The Potteries) I am particularly passionate about ceramics and would class the ‘pinch pot’ I made at school when I was eight as being the first proper thing I made. I remember it so well as it was the first piece of pottery I created.
What are you most proud of making?
Julie : An oblong box that I made on a South Seas cruise. I decorated it inside and out with lots of tiny treasures from all the amazing places we visited. So as well as being something I’m proud of, it also holds some very happy memories.
Wendy : It’s got to be a large ceramic fairytale castle OR a tall ceramic jug with a pattern etched into it. I can’t choose! Both of them are adorning the shelves at my mum and dad’s house.
Have you experienced any ‘making’ disasters?
Julie : I have experienced plenty of ‘making’ disasters! But the biggest lesson I have learnt is that sometimes ‘mistakes’ turn out to be a blessing, because remedying them can lead to doing things differently – and often better. And in any case, with some things it’s not always good to be too neat and precise.
Wendy : When working with clay the biggest disaster is something exploding in the kiln at the firing stage. The lesson is to make SURE that your clay has no air bubbles in it!
What gave you the idea for Crafty Beggars?
Julie : I have wanted to do a craft series for ages now, but had to come up with a format that had a competitive element as well as all the making and creating – the TV bosses need some ‘jeopardy’ in the mix as well as being informative for viewers. So, hopefully, as well as learning lots of new skills and gaining valuable insights into many different crafts, viewers will enjoy watching our two teams battling it out to see who can make and sell the most items!
Wendy : Crafty Beggars was Julie’s idea and I helped to develop it. I was thrilled she asked me to be involved. It’s a fun project which we are both passionate about. The concept of taking old, unwanted or everyday items and turning them into something wonderful is intriguing!
I’ve always been artistic so have always taken delight in creating a piece of ‘art’ – even if that was a paper chain when I was four!
How long have you and Julie known each other?
Julie : We have known each other for about 15 years – but we have forged a really strong working relationship over the last two years, which has brought us much closer. And we are very proud of Crafty Beggars. Wendy has developed the series along with me, and she has really fleshed it out and made it grow. We now have our own production company too – GoodTurn Productions – with several future projects in the pipeline!
Wendy : Julie and I once shared the same TV agent and we were both invited to a showbiz game of croquet. We got on so well, swinging our mallets, that we stayed in touch. That was 15 years ago.