Meet PDT member Kieron Franklyn

Almost three months ago we launched our search for 12 super-crafters to become a part of our PDT (Project Design Team) and were overwhelmed with the number of entries we received. We were instantly drawn to Kieron’s application; it seems there’s no craft he’s not mastered! 

Here we get to know Kieron a little better, as we find out what inspired him to apply to be a PDT member and – most importantly – what we can expect from his makes…

By day you’re a manager for a finance organisation — what inspired you to start crafting? Is it something that you’ve done from a young age?

My nan was a seamstress and had her own shop, Florence’s Drapers, from around 1930. I spent most afternoons with my grandparents after school, watching her create. My great grandad and aunt were hairdressers too, so creativity is definitely in the genes.

"My first proper papercrafting project was over 20 years ago, it was a Christmas card which I thought was fantastic"

What was the very first project you ever made?

I was always keen on drawing through school into college. My first proper papercrafting project was over 20 years ago, it was a Christmas card which I thought was fantastic. It had two reindeer on a blank background, one with a red nose, and that was it! To me that was a fabulous card. How things have progressed over the last 20 years, thankfully.

 Kieron's pop-up chicken card from the May issue (70) of Creativity magazine

You dabble in lots of different crafts (papercraft, baking and needle felting to name but a few!). Who taught you what you know?

I've picked up papercraft over the last 20 years. Originally my inspiration came from the magazines and cards I saw in shops. My Mum worked for Hallmark, so we had a steady supply of greetings cards at home, especially Betsey Clark which I have fond memories of. With the launch of the internet and craft TV channels the world opened up.  

My friend Luke introduced me to cupcakes and I haven’t looked back since. I receive orders from friends and through work, but mostly I enjoy baking them for our charity fundraising events. 

Needle felting came about by chance. I asked one of the teams I managed at work to try something they had never done before and make something to share with everyone. I tried needle felting and loved it! It takes some practice (and I've lots to learn), but it’s a craft – like cardmaking – where the hours fly by. Although, needle felting does bring its challenges too… Never take your eyes off the needle!

Kieron's super-cute needle felt creations

What is it about crafting that you enjoy?

Mainly to see the look on people’s faces after making something completely unique and bespoke for them. I would spend hours (sometimes days) thinking and planning a project. It has to be just right – I am a very fussy person when it comes to the details.  Since suffering with anxiety over the last seven-or-so years, I feel it helps to concentrate the mind and alieviate the worry by focusing energy on something creative. Personally, I find crafting a perfect and very helpful way to occupy myself, to help with the gloomy days. For this, I am so glad I have found crafting.

"Never in a million years did I think I would be chosen to join the 2016 Project Design Team and I'm thrilled to be part of such a superb bunch of incredibly talented guys"

What top tips would you give to someone wanting to get started in cardmaking?

Now that there is a vast array of products and so many different areas of crafting, look to see if there is something specific you’d like to start with. It’s mind-boggling, as you will want to try everything and buy everything. It can be overwhelming at times – I have to rein myself in and not get carried away! For example, ask yourself if you like the look of ink stamping or die cutting and start there. Go steady initially; you can build up from there. 

Kieron's beautiful Geomtric Mocha card

What inspired you to apply to become a PDT member?

Being an avid docrafts customer for so many years, I saw the advert and I thought “why not?”. I enjoy a challenge and wanted to do just that little bit more with my crafting. Never in a million years did I think I would be chosen to join the 2016 Project Design Team, and I'm thrilled to be part of such a superb bunch of incredibly talented guys. I feel honoured to be placed alongside these crafters – there's so much inspiration to be had seeing everyone’s unique creations. It's showing me that no matter how much experience you have with crafting, you don’t have to look far for guidance and genuine support from your fellow team members.  

Do you sell your crafty makes?

I do, to those who wish to commission something special for a friend or loved one – say a  wedding or birthday card. The vast majority of my projects have been made for someone looking for something a little different. 

Perfectly presented Country Life card

What does your craft space look like? 

You really want to know!? Any honest crafter will tell you that we enjoy a slightly organised mess. I promise myself that I'll tidy as I go, but I’m lucky if I have the time to do that after each crafting session. I am fortunate enough to have some super furniture, two desks and lots of storage units designed specifically for crafters. 

What’s your ultimate craft playlist?

To be honest, I tend to have the radio on or I'll look for inspiration in the craft channels from time-to-time. Otherwise, I prefer the peace and quiet. Minimal distractions seem to be the best for me.

Tell us five interesting facts about yourself.

  • I’m closer to 50 than 21.
  • I attended the Trinity College of London and passed my music exams at the age of nine.
  • I have been working for the same company now for 26 years… Seems like a lifetime.
  • I have a large autograph collection, some going back to the 20s. It's not something I spend a great deal of money on now, as any spare pennies go towards increasing my crafty stash.
  • I am a hoarder with over 120 ties in my wardrobe and hundreds of cufflinks that I dare not count. “You have to be smart and well-presented at all times” my grandad used to say. You never know who you will meet in life. Let’s not count the tie pins…

What can we expect from your PDT projects?

Although being part of the PDT is early days for me, I have found new inspiration from fellow designers and the new docrafts products available. I am trying to see things in different ways, and am experimenting with new techniques all the time. You can certainly expect pop-up boxes and something that has a great deal of impact. No matter what paper pack you have or what theme you want to achieve, a pop-up box gives a lot of options to be a little more creative. 

Make sure to check out the May issue (70) of Creativity magazine for the full tutorial on how to make Kieron's fabulous Country Life pop-up card.

To keep up-to-date with Kieron's latest craft projects, make sure to follow the docrafts gallery page as well as Kieron's very own! Be sure to also keep an eye out in the latest issue of Creativity magazine, available from all good craft stores and supermarkets. Alternatively, buy a copy online or subscribe and get it delivered straight to your door! 

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