We recently reported about a new book about glitter, 101+ Things To Do With Glitter. Bollyspice.com attended the book launch, which took place in the Hackney Attic, London on Tuesday 25th September.
Not only did we get to catch up with the author behind the book, Momtaz Begum-Hossain, but we also got to check out the Glitter Exhibition, as well as taking part in the craft classes that are held once a month in the Hackney Attic.
Craft expert, journalist and author of the book, Momtaz Begum-Hossain, told us about what made her write about glitter, tips for budding writers and of course Bollywood.
What inspired you to write about Glitter?
I think one of the things was I wanted to show people that you could get more things out of one material. Glitter for a long time has been used on Christmas cards; it is used by children at school. I have always felt there were so many things you could do with it so I wanted to broaden people’s minds and show you that you can take one thing and do so much with it. Whether that is glitter, ribbon, a simple button, a simple sequin, or a bead, there is just endless possibilities in making and crafting and I am all about making stuff. I don’t like this idea of you having to spend loads of money and buying something new everything you make something. You have got one thing and lets think what you can do with this one thing. In this case buy one pot of glitter, hundred uses.
Would you say your love for Bollywood helped inspire the book?
Bollywood has always been a massive influence to my work. When I watch a film it is not just about the stars and the stories and the big directors it is very much about the look and feel. The choreography of the sequences, the architecture, the beautiful sets and the costumes, those stunning sparkles, sequins, glitter. I love taking those inspirations and putting them in my work, so my first book I did was Bollywood Crafts and that was literally a celebration of Bollywood films. So I looked through films from the 50, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and took inspiration and showed how you had the retro era of films, we had Caravan, Bobby and I showed some craft projects that were directly inspired by those films. I took it through to 2000 and had like sci-fi Bollywood projects and I was just looking at the Bollywood inspiration in a different way. Because I have always liked making stuff and I love Bollywood it was this chance to put things together. And glitter is the same, its like you know if you are going to do something, do something you are passionate about, I am passionate about glitter and crafting so lets put them together!
Which is your favourite era for films?
My favourite era…I think a lot of stuff in the 2000s I have enjoyed, they have kind of affected me more emotionally, something like Kal Ho Na Ho will just make me cry from start to end. I just cannot ignore the factor that it does. I really like watching the brilliant woman, that were in the 60s and 70s films, the really powerful woman who are just kind of fighting and doing this and the other, the beautiful 60s hair and amazing makeup, I love that genre and I enjoy watching it, but at the end of the day a Salman Khan blockbuster will always do it for me (laughs). I am not elitist, I do like the popular films, I will admit it, but I have watched the black and white ones, some dodgy 90s ones, a few 80s ones and you know there are Bollywood films I like and Bollywood films I don’t like. I don’t like everything, I don’t really like the popularist slapstick comedies, Akshay star comedies, I am not a fan of those, but the melodramas, the big stories, the big dance numbers, the masala films, that’s my kind of thing.
Back to 101+ Things To Do With Glitter, which was your favourite project to try out from your book?
There are a lot of projects but I really like this veggie burger beanbag that I have got. It is actually made of glittery fabrics. When I was a kid, in the 80s, you used to get these hamburger beanbags and I just wanted one so badly and I never got one so it was my opportunity, now I am older and I make stuff to make my own. It is actually a footstool but it is layered, the lettuce is a layer, the cheese is a layer, the tomato is a layer, you can kind of stack it or have it flat. It is just this ridiculous idea, its just crazy and I love it (laughs).
Which project is ideal for beginners to try out first?
There are lots of beginner’s projects. One of the ones are the wedding gloves, you know henna designs that you put on your hands I wanted to take that and put henna on gloves. I have literally taken the gloves, I have got some glue, I put the glue in an icing tube and glued a henna design on. I literally put some fine glitter on and now you have got this glittery henna look on your gloves. Some of them, the paper craft ones are really simple, this button, literally take a button and put glitter on it. You can take buttons off your clothes, glitter them and sew them back on. There is simple customising of things that exist and then there is making stuff from scratch. Within this 101 there is stuff for all abilities. There are different craft techniques as well, there is paper making, then there is sewing, decoupage, which is putting collage stuff together, as well as getting inspiration, getting ideas but learning a few skills as well.
What makes 101+ Things To Do With Glitter different from other books out there?
My background is in crafts and craft books, magazines and I have seen a lot of craft books, but I have never seen one that celebrates the material and I think that is what makes it special. It is very fun, very pink, very girly, there is no denying that this is a book for girls, and I think lets embrace that lets not try and be something for everyone. This is the ultimate pink, girl’s book, whatever your age you will love it (laughs).
Your first book was based on Bollywood craft and we love Bollywood. If you could make a Bollywood inspired glitter craft project of any star who would you choose and why?
For any star…..lets try and think what my favourite best dressed person is I guess. I really love Kareena Kapoor and I love Priyanka. I just think they are brilliant, obviously I love some of the Rani Mukherjee’s of the world and the older crew, but I think what they are doing for girls now, I just think they are wonderful, they are kind of my age as well. Kareena just turned 32 and I am turning 32 this year so I always feel a bit of an affinity with her and I would love to style her in something glittery for sure.
Not only are you an author but you also work as the digital editor of news and lifestyle at Asiana, how do you find time to do everything?
I think when you really know what you want to do, you just got to find out what you want to do and do it. I have always wanted to be a writer, full stop. But then what am I passionate about writing about, I am passionate about crafts, let me do that. But then to be honest it is a niche field, I am never going to make a living that way so my journalism led me to work in the Asian magazines and now I edit the website. But it is really nice to get a balance, so I do three days a week at the magazine, two days a week crafting. As well as craft books I run craft workshops, I sell some of my own work and I do some consulting. Anything else that is to do with crafts I have become advocate for it so I am involved with other craft organizations, I might go to Astoria group meetings and talk about how we can get more people into crafts and things like that. Just try and have those two, it’s really quite amazing to be able to do two things that you love.
Any tips to any budding writers out there?
The best thing to do is to just write. I think now it is so much easier to write than ever before. When I started writing obviously there was no Internet, which sounds ridiculous but Internet is very new. So I used to, when I was 12, I used to write for something called Teletext, which was this thing that you got on the telly, it was this free TV guide. Then I started writing zine’s, zine’s were self-published, photocopies, little magazines. But now you can just do a blog, you can sit down and set up a blog. I would say get a blog going, it is the best way to write regularly. You don’t need to worry about getting published in magazines or anything just yet, just start out with a blog, best way.
You have a fun sense of fashion, any considerations to write a fashion based book for your next release?
A quarter of the projects based in this book are fashion related. There are interior projects; there are food and gifts, paper crafts and fashion. I did enjoy the fashion a lot. I have always, for the last ten years, wanted to write a teenagers fashion book and I think that is probably on the horizon at some point because that is a big passion of mine. The fact young people can get away with anything, it is just so free, so I would love to do that.
We have to ask what do you think about Bollywood films at the moment?
I haven’t got that excited about films in the last few years. There has been the big ones I have enjoyed. The thing that upsets me the most about Bollywood is when it reinforces stereotypes and when Bollywood is racist to other races and it happens in probably every film going on, that bugs me. Stylistically and the way they are looking, there are some fabulous actors and performers, performances, some fabulous songs and dances. I am not a big fan of the remixes but I love when you get a really classic kind of like Shankar Ehsaan Loy tune that’s just like, yes that is an anthem. There’s things I look forward to, I am trying to think of what films I have enjoyed this year, to be honest I cant think at this minute. I am not worried about Bollywood being mainstream, I think it is fine the way it is. I love the fact you can watch it more, I love the fact it is at my local cinema, I can get to three cinemas and it is there. I love the fact people are starting to understand. It is a very exciting thing, I don’t think I will ever be bored of Bollywood, I think it is something I will always have in my life. I look forward to it, sometimes there are days when nothing else would make me happier than watching a Bollywood film. I actually don’t watch Western films at all! I am a very busy person and have to really choose my time and for the last few years, I meant I watched Batman this year because I love Batman and I am going to watch James Bond, I mean they are the only two Western films I am going to watch this year. In the last couple of years I watched a couple of animations, but I didn’t watch any human films, they just don’t appeal. I want to go to a Bollywood cinema, I often go to the one in Upton Park, get a somosa, get a chai, the whole experience. That to me is much more exciting than a coke and popcorn and a Hollywood film. To be honest I am quite sad like that, in terms of my friends, I don’t know anything about Western film, but Bollywood yes (laughs). Even though I am not typically Asian but I really do know my Bollywood (laughs).
What is next for Momtaz? Do you have any more books coming out?
I am working on a follow up to this, 101+ Things to do with Ribbon. That will hopefully come out in a year’s time.
101+ Things to do With Glitter is set to release on 23rd October 2012.
Photo credit: Swani.com