Creative Book Awards 2024 Shortlist Unveiled!
The crafty author, calligrapher and business owner behind Oh Hello Maker discusses her career, lockdown makes and why she crafts sustainably
A fresh start
Emily Dawe is doing what she loves. After a long and successful career working in magazines and as a freelance designer, she is now her own boss with the craft subscription box Oh Hello Maker. “I sat down and had a good think about what really drives me,” she says. “I love to teach people new skills; I love designing, writing, styling and photography. So I was able to pull all my skills together with the subscription box model. I should have done this years ago!” Despite the recent launch of Oh Hello Maker, Emily, who describes her designs as “colourful, stylish, modern and achievable with a good sprinkling of playfulness”, still collaborates with big brands and turns her expertise as a calligrapher into a popular online workshop and personalised calligraphy kits. “I get bored working on just one thing,” Emily offers. “I love the variety and freedom of being a freelance creative as each day is so different from the last.” All Emily’s crafty pursuits are showcased on her sunny, colour filled Instagram @editbyemily.
Versatility has been ingrained in Emily since her training as an illustrator. “We were encouraged to work in so many different mediums,” she explains. “One week I’d be doing stop-motion animation, the next screen printing and etching, then bookbinding and 3D modelling.” Emily still prefers ‘hard crafts’ however, so maybe don’t ask her to sew you something: “I would love to be able to make my own clothes, but I fear my perfectionism would take a hit when I can’t sew straight!”
What helps to set Emily’s business apart from other products on the market is that if you sign up for her boxes of crafty fun then you’ll receive one in eco-friendly packaging. It is something that Emily sees as extremely important. “I think everyone needs to be more conscientious when it comes to consuming, be it food, fashion or crafts,” she says. “I want to know that my packaging won’t end up as landfill and that I have done everything to be as eco as I possibly can.” There is also something to be gained from the giftable nature of Emily’s projects. “Hopefully they won’t end up in the back of the cupboard,” she says. Emily’s projects aren’t just good for the planet, but good for the soul in a post-pandemic world. “Craft as therapy is nothing new,” Emily acknowledges. “But being forced to stay at home shone a light on how being creative can have an incredible calming effect and help with mental health.” Seeing the good crafting can do, Emily wants her craft boxes (found at @ohhellomaker on Instagram) to be open to a wide range of abilities. “I always try to create beautiful projects, so that someone who isn’t necessarily a crafter says, ‘Ooooh I want to make that!’”
With Oh Hello Maker taking flight and so much else on the go, it is an exciting, if busy, time to be Emily Dawe. It would be easy to forget that she is also a published author after her 2018 festive guide Paper Christmas. “I am my own worst enemy,” she admits. “But it appears that spinning plates is just how I operate!” This is great to hear, but maybe less so if you’re Emily’s young daughter. “I have a craft corner in our dining room but I do find I spread out onto the table, floor, lounge and in my little girl’s bedroom – mostly because it has the best light in there,” Emily admits. “99% of my photography and video is shot up there!”
Subscribe to Emily’s delightful craft boxes at ohhellomaker.com
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