Meet the Maker: Sizzix Designer Pete Hughes

Meet a Maker! Pete Hughes #sizzix #papercraft

Meet Pete, a creative designer at Sizzix who takes inspiration from everyday life for his innovative creations.

Pete has always enjoyed crafts; in fact his first memories are of sitting cross legged with a pile of paper in one hand and a pencil in the other. Not much has changed in the last 50 years although he has swapped the pencil for his trusty Sizzix Big Shot Machine!

After school Pete trained as an illustrator specialising in cartoons and caricatures. It was while working for an educational publishing company in the mid 90s he came into contact with die-cutting for the first time. When the Sizzix brand came along in 1999, he switched to designing projects full time for the distributor and eventually became a creative designer for Ellison Europe (Manufacturer of the Sizzix brand) when it formed over ten years ago.

Pete has a passion for all things card and paper and loves looking out for new trends and techniques to try out. He spends his days creating projects for blogs, magazines, demonstrations and workshops all over the UK and Europe.

When he’s not working Pete enjoys spending time with his wife and three children and if there is a scrap of time left over he indulges in his twin passions of karate and playing the guitar.

Meet a Maker! Pete Hughes

As a Creative Designer for Sizzix, we know that you love papercraft! Tell us a bit about your other crafting passions.

I love working with a broad range of materials to create home decor, altered art and appliqué projects. Sizzix Bigz dies allow me to cut anything from thin tissue paper through to mount board, leather, shrink plastic and much more. This certainly broadens my crafting horizons.

What is the best piece of crafting advice that you’ve ever been given?

Less is more!

How would you describe your papercraft style?

From modern mixed media to full on vintage and all points in between. It really depends on the range of dies I’m working with. I believe that the greatest asset a designer can have working in the craft industry is versatility.

Vintage and distressed styles are here to stay for the foreseeable future and mixed media collage styles are starting to filter down from scrapbooking, which I love!

What does a typical week look like for you?

It varies from one week to the next; I create projects for blogs, magazines in the UK and Europe and the Sizzix website. Sometimes I’m preparing for weekend workshops or demonstrations from Romford to Romania!

Where do you usually make your projects? Give us a tour!

I am very lucky to have a purpose built craft studio at the Sizzix offices with plenty of workshop and storage space. I do like to ‘spread out’ when I’m working and I love to work standing up!

Meet a Maker! Pete Hughes #sizzix #papercraft

What’s always in your craft stash?

All my Sizzix goodies of course, Distress Inks, good quality white and ivory card and a broad selection of decorative papers. I do love a good pair of tweezers too!

Where do you find your inspiration?

Inspiration can come from anywhere and at any time – trade shows, high street shops, magazines, my family and of course I do have my favourite blogs, not all of which are papercraft related.

Who is your favourite artist or maker?

I have been very lucky to work with some extremely talented and inspirational designers like Paula Pascual and Debi Potter who have kept me on my toes throughout the years. Tim Holtz who designs exclusive ranges for Sizzix is always stretching the creative boundaries so I like to keep an eye on his work. I also love the work of an American designer named Tammy Tutterow, clever lady!

What one tip would you give to someone just starting out in craft about Sizzix?

Build your collection starting with timeless designs and basic essentials and never be afraid to experiment with different materials when die-cutting or embossing.

Share your biggest crafting achievement.

My biggest achievement is my continued growth and development as a crafter / designer. This is largely thanks to the Sizzix brand for keeping me inspired with a constant stream of innovative products to play with.

What are your favourite papercraft trends for winter 2014?

Scandinavian style Christmas dies make me smile combined with simple colour pallets, twine, wooden buttons and kraft card.

I’m always on the look out for the next big thing!

Any hot tips for 2015?

Vintage and distressed styles are here to stay for the foreseeable future and mixed media collage styles are starting to filter down from scrapbooking, which I love!

We’re very much looking forward to you blogging for Hobbycraft! What kind of thing can our readers’ expect?

It is my hope that your readers will find a fresh, diverse approach to die-cutting and embossing with a pinch of innovation thrown in for good measure.

And for the future? What’s next for you?

I want to continue to explore and absorb as many techniques and styles as possible, I’m always on the look out for the next big thing!

Pete’s Tips for Getting Started

Die-cutting has boomed since Sizzix launched the first machine almost 15 years ago – it appeals to a broad spectrum of crafters from card makers to quilters across the globe! Below are a few general hints and tips on how to get the best from your die-cutting equipment…

  1. If you are new to die-cutting start by collecting dies and embossing folders with universal themes that you will return to time and again.
  2. Take advantage of some of the ingenious storage and space saving solutions available to help keep your dies in tip top condition and close to hand.
  3. Die-cut a sample from plain paper using all your dies and use a ring bound file to catalogue them in categories e.g. flowers, borders, Christmas etc.
  4. Don’t restrict yourself to paper and card. Sizzix Bigz dies will cut all textiles, leather, craft foam, balsa wood, mountboard and so much more.
  5.   Join a craft club to share ideas and dies especially if you are just starting out.
  6.  Take advantage of the many great blogs that are available online to learn and share new techniques and ideas. There are some fantastic ideas on the Sizzix blog!
  7.  Keep a scrapbook of your favourite design ideas and look through it every time you sit down to play, it’s a great way to kick start your creativity!

Join a craft club to share ideas and dies especially if you are just starting out.

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