I started life as a freelance cartoonist/illustrator and I was working for an educational publishing company named SLP when we became UK distributors for Ellison Educational Die-cutting products. Three years later Ellison asked us if we would like to distribute a new craft brand called Sizzix and the rest, as they say, is history!
Was it full time? Part time?
It was a full time post.
What type of job at first? Did you started as a creative straight away?
While training at Art College I worked evenings and weekends at a local hotel which I continued to do after I left college and went freelance, I ended up as the restaurant manager and tried to balance this with my freelance work. Later on I took up a full time post as a designer for the company mentioned above.
Pete at the Sizzix/Ellison Europe Studio
How do you describe your job nowadays?
I work office hours based mainly at Ellison Europe HQ. I prepare projects for UK and European magazines, content for our website and my blog. I also create projects for workshop classes when I visit some of our distributors and retailers many of whom have become great friends down the years.
What would you do differently?
Nothing really! I don’t like looking back although there are certain techniques/products I wish I had discovered earlier!
Is it hard to work full/part time in the craft industry? Can you name your major challenges you face?
Sometimes; inspiration is hard to come by and at times the deadlines are a killer. I always feel a sense of responsibility to show the Sizzix products in their best light while still pleasing the magazine/client, but above all, pleasing the person spending their hard earned money i.e. the customer. My own personal taste or preferences come bottom of the list!
Card featuring two of Pete Hughes Elegance dies
Out of everything you do and have done, what is your favourite?
I know it’s a bit of a cliché but…. The last thing is always the best.
Your proudest moment and achievement?
My greatest achievement is continuing to grow as a designer while remaining enthusiastic and curious. I don’t have a single ‘Proudest Moment’ but it is very nice to receive compliments from the people in the industry whom I admire and respect.
What do you think it's more important to have a job in this industry: creative talent, hard work or luck?
A combination of the three but hard work it is the most important! Specially to make a long career out of it.
What is your favourite project type and colour?
I love cards because I like to work quickly and make simple statements. Layouts are always fun to do and there are so many fabulous styles to choose from, I just wish I had time to do more. Favourite colours change like the weather but I do love working with minimal colour palettes and I am loving monochromes with various shades of grey.
Where you go for inspiration?
Everywhere! You will often find me in high street fashion shops with my camera phone in my hand. Pinterest is a great source of inspiration which can act as a creative springboard when you’re stuck for ideas. I love those ‘eureka’ moments when all the pieces fall into place and you discover a new technique.
What is next for you?
Somebody once asked me what my ambition was and I said simply to become a better designer, this is what I love to do and that makes me happy. I just want to continue to grow as a designer and explore new styles and techniques for as long as I can.
Pete's projects for Tim Holtz at the Sizzix booth at Paperworld 2015
And finally, Do you remember when we first met? Any good/bad impressions?
When the very first Sizzix machine landed on these shores It was my job to create some projects which would hopefully persuade people to invest in this brand new technological marvel!
I set about buying a few books and visiting craft fairs. I also subscribed to Crafts Beautiful magazine which was and continues to be a great source of inspiration. The projects that really appealed to me where designed by a young lady named Paula Pascual but it wasn’t till a few years later that we actually met, when you introduced yourself I didn’t catch your name at first for two reasons….. I’m quite deaf and you talk at 3000 words a minute! I thought that you looked familiar and it was only a little later that I put two and two together.
I am happy to say that you came to work with us and I was able to learn so much from you about techniques and new products. Like me, you are always striving to offer people something new from old familiar dies and you are always very generous in sharing your ideas with others.
I’m also happy to count you as one of my favourite people in the whole wide world (maybe it’s because we are Birthday Buddies?)
We are Craft Twins! Born on the same day, though different years!
I don't really know when we first met properly. Pete is one of those crafters that when I started going to shows in late 2002 early 2003, I could immediately identify as a huge talent and great personality. I learnt his name through the articles in magazines, as they always caught my eye as the most creative and colourful.
Since I started to work closely with Sizzix in 2011, Pete has become one of my closest friends in the industry (and I do have several) but his no nonsense approach, creative talents and great sense of humor have been such an inspiration and a constant delight!
And the link to your blog and any social media?
Social What?Pete does NOT do social media but you can find Pete´s weekly amazing projects here on the Sizzix blog. Also, check this other great interview on the Hobbycraft blog here.