Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Looking forward to 2104.

I'm not a great New Year person. I don't like looking backwards so I thought I would use this post to think about looking forward to 2014. I only officially started my business in late August and I am thrilled with how far I have come since then. I went through a difficult period which led me to take a life changing decision and now five months in I can honestly say that I am so much happier.

Fridge Magnet (on Etsy)
 In 2014 I want to:

  • Continue with designing and getting my work out there!  I love designing and my work has changed so much. I really enjoyed the Advent Challenge (see previous post) and had some terrific feedback. I am working on some new designs which seems to be taking my work further and am preparing for a blog hop in the next couple of weeks (watch this space!)
New Design Work on my Moyo Directory
  • Get an agent to take this work even further! I am going to actively start trying to fine someone who gets my design viewpoint.
  • Keep making things for my Etsy and Folksy shops and try out more craft fairs! generating more and more sales.
  • Seek out my own opportunities to sell in more outlets. I currently sell through a contemporary art gallery (The Minories, Colchester) and towards the end of the year have had good success with new ideas for jewellery and other items. I would now like to develop some other things to take to more outlets.
  • Embrace change! In 2014 we are moving to Hampshire which will bring lots of challenges and, I hope, opportunities. I want to be confident in seeking out new ideas and not be afraid of the unknown.

I think that is quite enough for now but I am sure that I will add more as the year progresses. The exciting thing about design is that it is an ever-changing landscape!

I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for looking at my blog. My first post was on the 1st August and since then I have had nearly 2000 views! Wow, I never thought that would be possible.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Advent Challenge 2013

This year I decided to take part in an Advent Challenge producing a design a day all the way up until Christmas. It was the idea of fellow designer Faye Brown who came up with the themes for each day of Advent. I had such fun with this challenge as it was something I had never done before and it took me out of my comfort zone on occasions. I would never have dreamed a few months ago it was something I was even capable of! Anyway here are my 25 designs all together for the first time!

There is also a Pinterest page that shows all the designs from the participating artists together. I am thrilled to have my work up there alongside. Would love some feedback!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Craft Fair Refelections.

Last Saturday I took part in my very first craft fair. I decided to start quite small and signed up to do the one at The Minories (a contemporary gallery) in Colchester, Essex. It is a bit of a way to go from where I live but I have links with the gallery as I did my MA there and sell works in their gift shop. My first worry was what to take? I spent a long time making and designing a range of items that I hoped would appeal to buyers. I also kept my items manageable so that it would be easier to pack and unpack. The Minories is in a lovely old building and my space was upstairs by the windows with lots of natural light. I set about arranging and the first thought I had was that my items were too diverse which didn't give me such a strong "look".

I tried to create different points of interest and height (in a former life I was a visual merchandiser!) and put out price points. The first hour was a little slow but as coffee time came around (there is a lovely cafe there) more people arrived. I had lots of positive comments, especially about my scarves and I sold two of these! I wish that I had made more but I simple didn't have the funds.

There were lots of other stalls and I was able to get some terrific ideas for the next fair that I do. I have thought about how to display my items more effectively, better labeling and promotional materials.  One thing that I did notice that lots of people look but don't buy! However it was great to engage with people, meet other designers/ crafts people and put my work "out there". It was a good day and in the end I made enough money to cover my stall twice (and a bit more).

Friday, 6 December 2013

Christmas Card Swap

I was really excited to take part in my very first Christmas card swap this year and received some gorgeous typographical cards that I had to share with you. These are by Faye Brown  a very talented designer and are sold through her Etsy store. I'm in awe of anyone that can do typography in this way.  I really want to keep these and frame them rather than give them away! She also teaches typography through a Skillshare course.

I am currently busy preparing for my very first craft fair! I will post about my experiences soon.

Friday, 29 November 2013

My very first craft fair!

Next Saturday, 7th December, I am going to take part in my very first craft fair! I have been quite cautious with craft fairs as I wanted to pick the right one to try. This craft fair is in Colchester, Essex at The Minories, a contemporary gallery that showcases Art, Craft and Design. I already sell items in the gallery shop and it's the place I did my MA, so I feel very comfortable about it. 
My main worry is getting the right mix of merchandise to take and I have spent time thinking of some some different ideas. I don't want to take too much and I don't want to take too little. Creative dilemmas are tricky sometimes! In the end I have decided to take quite a range of things. Items that are all ready to go (like my cards and mirrors) and some new items that I have been making. I have created an infinity scarf from my "Fantastic Funghi" material which I am really pleased with.
I have also made some decorations in different ways. Firstly some wooden ones which I decided to paint.
Then some cut out shapes from felt which I decorated with blanket stitch and some embellishments.
Then I got really creative and used my needle felting machine to create these owls. I was really pleased with these and I love their googly eyes. I haven't used my needle felting machine for ages and I had such fun!
Lastly I decided to make some pin cushions from my left over samples of fabric.
I am feeling more prepared now but need to think about pricing, labels, bags and display! Do you think I've made enough? Wish me luck!

Friday, 15 November 2013

Reality Bites

So it's been a little while since I posted but I have been very busy. The title of this post is "Reality Bites" because that it how it is at the moment- I had to earn some money! I left my teaching career in August and threw myself into the world of surface pattern and since then I feel as though I have achieved loads. The simple truth is though, however much I love what I am doing it is not paying me much money at the moment. The very little I do make I reinvest to buy more things to make and design. Therefore I had to look towards my recent experience and sign up to an agency to get some work. This week I have been in a primary school. This is not my usual teaching setting as I am a secondary school teacher. It's been hard and I'm itching to get back to designing every day. The good thing is that the days are quite short so there is time later in the day to flex my creative side. The other thing I have had to juggle is the fact that I have started Module 3 of the ABSPD course "Monetising your Designs" (quite timely I think!) but I already feel that I am behind. You can't win in this game...

I have also been trying to add more items to my online shops and took the plunge by getting some items professionally printed. First are some Christmas cards I have put in my Folksy shop

 Next I decided to create some handbag mirrors with my designs. I am really pleased with these and I decided to try selling these on a newly created online shop Giggling Hedgehogs. In their own words,
"Giggling Hedgehogs is an online marketplace that brings buyers and sellers of unique products and services together. It’s where you go to buy gorgeous things that are a little different, quirky and most certainly beautiful." Here is the link to my brand new store where you can buy my little mirrors for £3.50 each.
Giggling Hedgehogs

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Trying Out Typography

Recently I have been having a go at some typographic designs spurred on by some competition briefs that I have entered. The first one was the Tigerprint Christmas type submission. Although I didn't make the shortlist I really liked what I did. I used a combination of collage and hand drawn letters and then scanned them into Photoshop to add colour.

The next brief I had a go at was the Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design mini challenge for alumni. I am just about to do Module 3 which I am so excited about. Since taking Module 1 and 2 I have come so far. It's such a fantastic course and so supportive. I never believed I would be able to have a second chance at this career after leaving it behind in the mid 90s, so I designed from the heart. I wanted to create something short but meaningful. Here's what I came up with...
What do you think?