Meet the Maker - Cristina Valladares

Saturday, November 22, 2014
Are you a fan of crochet?  Of course you are! Who isn't?  We are delighted that crochet design Cristina Valladares will be joining us at this year's Made in Bristol Gift Fair at the Colston Hall.  We chatted with Cristina recently about her designs and her home in Spain...
Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work? 
My name is Cristina Valladares and I’m the person behind Tenguerengue Art Works. I started selling my amigurumis and other crochet things two years ago, when I moved here to the UK. Here there is a nice tradition with craft markets that we don’t have in Spain (my home country). I do all kind of stuff but what I enjoy the most is to do amigurumis such as burgers, cupcakes, hot dogs, fries… I love to do all kind of crocheted food. I’m also passionate about animals: foxes, hedgehogs, elephants are some of my favourites. 

How do you prepare yourself & your work in the months running up to the Gift Fair? 
I usually try to plan with months in advance, to think about which are the favourite objects of the people and the best-sellers in previous markets. It always takes long time to create the amigurumis so I need to start soon to have enough time to make all I want to make. I always have an ongoing ‘to-do’ list (or several) with designs, supplies etc. Previous days are always quite hectic. 
Do you have any tips to someone who is just starting out, on selling at Christmas markets? 
I’m still struggling with some things on craft markets. Every time I attend to a fair I learn a lot. I believe that consistency is a good tip to start. You have to believe in your work and go for it. I started doing different types of things (I still do) and as the time pass I’m focusing more in the things I really love. To work hard in your display is also very important. Your sells depend on your ability to attract buyers and this depend on your display. It worths the effort planning the design of your stall in advance. 
What special little touch do you offer your customers? 
I offer a gift wrapping service included in the price of my goods. I also do commissions so my clients could get exactly what they want. It’s lovely to work with somebody to create a gift for a loved one. 

What handmade item is high on your Christmas wish list? 
I always die for handmade note-books. 
What is your favourite part of Christmas? 
My favourite part of Christmas is, with no doubt, to meet my family in Spain. Since we are no longer in the same city is difficult to meet all of them at the same time so Christmas is the perfect time for that. I’m specially looking forward to see my little nephews Pedro and Blanca and to spend time with them. 
Which UK artist/maker’s Facebook or Twitter feed do you find most inspiring and why? 
It’s difficult to choose but I really love to follow the work of Sarah London or Lucy from Attic24 mainly because I find very inspiring the use of colour in their work. 

What is your favourite family Christmas tradition? 
Well, in Spain we usually wait for the Three Wise Men more than Father Christmas. It’s a little bit later, on the night of the 5th of January. That is our gifts night and I love it! 
Finally, if you could re-design a Christmas decoration, what would it be and why? 
More than a re-design, I would be keen to do a customised Christmas. I believe we tend to decorate the Christmas tree in the same way every year. Every year is different so we could try to add some new touches to show that. 

Thank you Cristina, so lovely to hear about your Christmas family traditions in Spain.  We can discover Cristina's crochet creations for yourself at the Made in Bristol Gift Fair on Saturday 29th November & Sunday 7th December, on the Middle Level of the Foyer.

Made in Bristol Gift Fair
Colston Hall

Saturday 29th November 2014
Sunday 7th December 2014
10am - 4pm

Saturday 13th December 2014
10am - 3pm

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