Meet a creative: Gentleman Crafter
John Bloodworth is a 47-year-old Scottish crafter. He has studied Arts&Crafts and Spatial design, and he has been making and creating for over 35 years.
Our protagonist defines himself as a cross-genre crafter that enjoys the creative process of combining techniques and styles. You can discover John’s work through his YouTube channel, his website, and social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. If you’d like to get to know him a bit more, keep reading!
How did your crafting journey begin?
How far do you want me to go back?!
I could tell you about the time as a child where we had no television for a year, and so I looked to creativity as a source of entertainment. I could follow that up with my enjoyment of arts and crafts or my formal education.
In truth, though, my actual paid career in arts, crafts, and design work began around twenty years ago when I got a job working for a new retail television channel in the UK called Create and Craft TV.
How do you usually find inspiration?
So difficult to answer this one. I tend not to go looking for inspiration; I prefer to think that inspiration finds me. I can be on a train, in a field, or wandering around an art gallery or museum, and something will strike me.
Could you please describe your creative process?
In my earlier years, I tended to design and create what was “in.” Now, I prefer to spend an afternoon once a week with pen and paper working through a bunch of ideas and concepts that I have had during the week – and made scribbled notes about – and seeing which, if any, have merit as design assets. Some make it, and some don’t.
The “how” tends to come as second nature these days, but sometimes, especially when designing 3D papercrafts, I will write down a list of steps that I need to go through to create the 3D object and then convert it into a useable thing for the customer. This will inevitably require some practical steps of testing and experimentation.
What do you like about your crafting discipline/ job the most?
The chance to express myself and have creative freedom is one of the best things for me in my current role as a self-employed designer.
What design or creation do you feel proudest of, and why?
The projects that I have been most proud of are usually my “firsts.” Those raggedy not-so-perfect first attempts at a new skill or discipline.
The first “thing” you make in any given discipline marks a breakthrough in understanding, and while the finished project may look like a mess, the knowledge of the learning and labor that it took to get there fills my heart with glee.
Did you expect to make a living out of this? Or did you have something else in mind when you started?
After attending college, a long time ago, I did, in fact, not follow creativity as a career path and instead went into banking and insurance. It wasn’t until much later, after maintaining a personal enjoyment of arts and crafts, that I began to look for ways to get back into it as a way of supporting myself.
Looking back, what would have you done differently?
Nothing. I am a true believer that everything happens for a reason. This is how we learn about life. Here is one of my favorite sentiments to sum that up:
“I may not have traveled the path that I intended to follow, but I have arrived at where I am meant to be.”
What is the next thing you want to create or learn?
The next thing for me will be a BIG change, and I intend to hang up my digital designing and return to a more traditional way of working, hopefully with glass and precious metals. That won’t be for a while yet, so you will still see a lot more of me on Creative Fabrica in the coming years.
Can you give us three specific tips for somebody that wants to start using the cutting machine?
1. Learn the basics of your machine. Seriously, I know no-one wants to go back to school or spend hours reading instruction manuals, but this step is essential if you’re going to get the best from your cutting machine. If it helps, take it in bite-sized steps and try tip two below.
2. Build confidence through projects. If you try something out that is pre-determined, you have a way of measuring your progress.
3. Connect with other users. Most machine manufacturers now have their own social media pages. Still, also there are now a lot of local groups too popping up – either online or in-person – for specific machines. Being a part of one or more of those communities can help you get feedback on things you are working on and allow you to acquire knowledge or best-practice tips faster than having to hunt them all down for yourself.