Joanne Hawker interview

Meet the maker behind #MarchMeetTheMaker, Joanne Hawker

Joanne Hawker created the #MarchMeetTheMaker initiative in 2016 as a channel to showcase her story and see the inspiration and stories of other creatives, makers and artists.
We caught up with Joanne as part of Women’s History Month to celebrate her story, the impact she’s made and the women who inspire her.

Joanne Hawker, how long have you been a maker and how do you spend most of your creative time?

I’ve been a maker as a side hustle and then full-time business for around 10 years now – but, really, I’ve been a maker my whole life! I spent much of my childhood making stickers, painting, drawing, sewing, and circling every craft kit in the Argos catalogue for Christmas. Making things just seemed to be my thing! When I’m not doing the admin jobs for my small business, I do my best to start designing for the next theme or range that I have in mind. Or even the next gifting occasion if there is one looming! The next one I’ll be getting stuck into is Father’s Day! I spend much of my creative time, writing lists and then trying to work out how to turn those words into pretty visuals for cards.

Your designs are so upbeat and positive, is this your natural disposition?

Funnily enough, I’m quite the opposite! I seem to be naturally pessimistic but I’m trying my best to work on that because it can be quite draining! If something goes wrong, or I get some news I don’t like, I try my best to wait a few hours before I do anything about it so that I can see it from an angle that isn’t so negative. I’ve also gone through phases of keeping a gratitude journal, well for me it’s more of a list because I’m a lists girl! And I find that can really help to try and turn your perspective on things too, and helps to not immediately jump to the most negative conclusion!

What was your catalyst to create #MarchMeetTheMaker? Did you see more artists get involved last year as the creative industry took such a hit?

I created #MarchMeetTheMaker in January 2016 after I was feeling really lost with Instagram and didn’t know what to post. I looked around for a challenge to do but couldn’t find one – so I decided to make my own, not really expecting anyone to join in other than a few friends and it snowballed from there! Covid hit mid-way through the challenge last year and it caused a lot of people to stop taking part which is understandable as it is/was such a life changing thing to deal with and try to get our heads around and eventually used to. Hopefully this year will see a rise in makers joining in, sharing their journey and use the challenge as something positive to focus on whilst we all try our best to navigate our way out of this pandemic!

You support makers with prompts and resources to promote their work and their brand. Is this something you wish you had, or did you have support there?

Instagram has always been a bit trial and error for me and I find the challenge just as useful to pull myself out of a posting rut as other makers do! I can’t say that I’ve ever been given support for content creation before, it’s just something that I’ve just got on with and gradually evolved over the years. So, if I can help others to pull themselves out a posting rut at the same time of sorting myself out too, then that’s a great bonus!

Who are the types of makers you see taking part in the campaign?

We’ve got someone from practically every niche taking part! There are ceramists, painters, illustrators, stitchers, knitters, people who crochet, people who work with glass, leather, textiles, jewellery and so much more! You name it and there is probably someone taking part who makes it! It’s such a diverse community which I really love! As well as all of these disciplines, there are people who do this full time, people who do it part time, people who are just starting on their handmade business journey and people who prefer to just their craft as a hobby or a bit of fun!

How do you think the creative community has changed over the last 12 months? Does anything feel different this March?

I personally haven’t noticed any big changes within the community itself. However, I feel that with what has been going on over the past year, people are eager to find positive distractions from the news, and restrictions across the country and world. Be that taking part in a challenge, taking part in a virtual market night or simply supporting each other and being cheerleaders for each other. There has definitely been a bigger push for the shop small movement!

This month we’ve been celebrating inspirational creative women (like you!) – who would you like to celebrate as an artist or ally in telling women’s stories?

Rosie Johnson Rosie is a fellow illustrator, designer and maker, who not only runs a brilliant small business but she also isn’t afraid to stand up for what’s right, make her voice heard and start the important conversations!

Holly Tucker – Founder of Not on the High Street and Holly & Co. Holly is a small business champion, cheerleader and supporter! Holly stands for everything small business and is passionate about shining the light on female founders!

You can check out all the contributions to #MarchMeetTheMaker by following the hashtag on Instagram and be sure to set your calendars to take part next year!